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Ideas for Improving Occupancy at New Guild
by Michael Bluejay, 4-15-02

[In Spring 2002 New Guild faced an occupancy crisis, with a projected occupancy of only 16% for the following Fall. The board brainstormed ways we could try to improve occupancy at the Guild. I created this table to try to focus our ideas.]

Fellow board members: I suggest we consider each of these ideas separately at the meeting and determine which ones we want to move forward on. Note that we can take action only on those items to be done by staff and by the board; we can't compel the Guilders to take action -- that's up to them.

By Staff
By Guilders
By Board


Add info about NG to website

Website already contains description of NG, but it's not that extensive. Guilders will either communicate additions for staff to add to website, or staff will provide a way for Guilders to maintain their own web page.

Staff asks why members chose their house and didn't choose NG

Staff will make a separate survey form. Also, board will consider adding survey questions to contract.

Targeted advertising (international, direct mail)

Staff will propose a plan and budget to board.

House-sponsored advertising

Guilders will propose plan and budget to staff. If staff thinks it's reasonable to pay for this from the existing advertising budget, then that's what we'll do. If not, Guilders will present plan to the board for funding.

Closing the Sale

Staff pushes NG

Staff will emphasize advantages of New Guild to prospective members, including Guild's historical nature and other advantages cited by Guilders during recent discussions.

Establish time for house tours

I think we discussed a three-hour period revolving around dinner. Guilders will communicate preferred hours to staff, and will post them on their bulletin board.

Guilders contact applicants

Guilders will get email and/or postal addresses of applicants and invite them to stay at the Guild.

Appearance / Attractiveness

Move office entrance / location

Staff will implement side entrance (not porch entrance) to office. Staff will present feasibility report of moving office to board. If board chooses to move the office out of NG, board and NG will be expected to help move the equipment and files to the new location.

Reduce rent

I'll suggest $40/mo. off Fall rent for NG. This will cost us $4900 vs. full rent at 95% occupancy. However, full rent at 90% occupancy will cost us $5500 vs. full rent at 95% occupancy.

Convert doubles to singles

Guilders will present recommendations to staff. Staff will advise board on potential lost rent by upgrading room sizes. Board will decide whether to resize rooms. NOTE: Resizing an occupied double to a single costs us $2300 in rent for LT. Our budget requires 95% occupancy for ALL of ICC, including NG, and including doubles EVERYWHERE. NG at 95% means only 1.6 vacancies, not even ONE DOUBLE.

Clean NG

Paint over graffiti

Fix scary aspects (e.g., dangling light fixtures)

Landscape front yard

Staff will research costs of professional landscaping and present to board.

Summer renovations

Board will decide whether to close part or all of NG this summer for whatever renovations we can afford.

Major renovation

Board will create and consider plan for financing major renovation of NG, with a specific year that renovation should happen. Guilders will offer input into what needs to be enhanced / fixed. Once funded, staff will plan renovation.

No smoking in commons

The willingness of large numbers of people to live in a smoking house is questionable, since only 24% of Americans smoke, and probably even fewer want smoke inside their homes. But the board cannot currently make NG a non-smoking house. Guilders, however, could choose to do so themselves.


Fix showers

Billy says that all showers have excellent water pressure. Repair of the cross-connection to keep the temperature from fluctuating will happen soon.

Reduce rent

see above

Summer renovations

see above

Move office entrance / location

see above


Study the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, make decisions about remedies (possibly including tough choices), considering what's best for all of ICC while balancing concerns of Guilders

Not being considered because not preferred by Guilders

Incentives for experienced members

Add cottage to Seneca

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