Success Story: Strategic Capital Improvements and Staff Support for Large Community in La Quinta
“FirstService Residential is unique in that it leverages the resources and strengths of its many properties by developing a system of best practices that can be applied to similar associations. These best practices, a strong network of support services and the continual education and training of their general managers and on-site associates have allowed Trilogy La Quinta to thrive.”
- Gary Turner, Board Member, Trilogy La Quinta
Residents living in large communities are often drawn to the amenities and overall service experience. This is particularly true in active adult communities, which are typically made up of 55+ individuals looking for significant involvement and activity in their community; it’s truly a lifestyle experience. Residents of active adult communities often seek out a rich amenity experience, complete with a variety of recreational activities and top-of-the line facilities. And more often than not, they also want a higher level of engagement with the HOA management company and on-site staff. When an individual decides to be a part of an all-inclusive active adult community, or large community in general, they want a full, engaging service experience.
Trilogy La Quinta is a 1,238-unit, active adult community located in La Quinta, California, adjacent to the legendary PGA West golf course and many luxury homes. The resort-style community features an on-site spa and two large clubhouses, along with a library, indoor pool and tennis, bocce and pickleball courts. FirstService Residential took over management of the community in April 2014. The community features a large staff, with 27 full-time FirstService Residential associates, 30 landscape staff and approximately 25 independent contractors for many of the spa and fitness roles.
Because of the high caliber of the neighboring communities and landmark PGA West golf course nearby, Trilogy needed to invest wisely in capital improvements in order to stay competitive in an amenities-focused marketplace. The challenge was knowing how to invest in the amenities that proved most beneficial to the community and would enhance resident life in the long term. Because of many different visions for the community, choosing those capital improvements was not an easy task. Perhaps just as significant to the resident experience, was unifying and building up the on-site staff and service levels. Trilogy needed a hands-on staff that would be available, dependable and consistent in delivering the lifestyle experience that residents expect.
The board worked in conjunction with FirstService Residential general manager Eric Angle and on-site associates to improve the already impressive facilities and enhance the value of their community. To focus on the right elements, Angle worked with FirstService Residential’s vast network of on-site managers in similar communities to determine what would work best. He said, “We provided the board with guidance for capital improvements based on local and national trends and based on what had worked and failed in other communities. The feedback I received from other FirstService Residential general managers was instrumental in helping us go back to the board with the information and guidance they needed. We did the legwork and research on our side, so that the board could make the decisions without any heavy lifting.” With guidance and support from the board, FirstService Residential:
- Researched and completed four major construction projects in four years, including a full-scale renovation of the sports complex and addition of bocce and pickleball courts
- Purchased and renovated 60 acres of nearby 18-hole golf course with an investment of $2.5 million, designated by a majority vote
“The feedback I received from other FirstService Residential general managers was instrumental in helping us go back to the board with the information and guidance they needed.”
- Eric Angle, General Manager, Trilogy La Quinta
In addition to prioritizing capital improvements, FirstService Residential focused on unifying and building on-site staff and staff to homeowner relationships within the community:
- Created an on-site employee counsel with a representative from each department to meet once a month and provide a platform to discuss community issues and problem solve
- Supported employee growth with ongoing training via proprietary FirstClass e-learning platform and by holding daily employee meetings with FirstCall initiative
General manager established weekly Talking Points initiative in clubhouse that provides a forum for residents to get answers to questions about important topics (e.g., landscaping, community rules, etc.)
“FirstService Residential has the vast resources and knowledgeable individuals to help meet the needs of associations like ours.”
- Gary Turner, Board Member, Trilogy La Quinta
Ultimately, strategic capital improvements and ongoing staff and resident initiatives have helped accelerate Trilogy’s continued success in a highly competitive market. As a result, the community has seen some excellent results:
- Renovation of the sports complex and installation of bocce ball and pickle ball courts added to a comprehensive amenity list, helping bolster the community’s reputation among the competitive resort community. The renovation also boosted community involvement; residents established bocce and pickle ball clubs immediately, with initial registrations of 120 members per club
- Regular employee outings and the addition of on-site employee counsel have contributed to a focus on best practices, which has subsequently raised the bar on customer service
- Utilizing proprietary in-house tools offered by FirstService Residential like FirstClass online training courses and daily FirstCall employee meetings has helped contribute to a strong staff morale and better resident service, which has led to better employee-resident relations
- Talking Points initiative has been received positively throughout the community and residents and board members have praised the forum for the transparency and communication with management it provides