If you’re a billet coordinator, you’re probably pretty busy asking unsuspecting locals to be part of your junior hockey team’s billet program. But have you stopped to ask about your billet program itself?
We asked various teams how they tackle billet host recruiting. And a surprising number report on-going improvements to their program and how it’s run. Some of the top tips you might consider throughout the season:
We have a monthly email check-in with the billet hosts. I ask if they have any feedback about how the players are doing and if the family needs any support. The requests I get are easy to handle at that point. Ironically, I hear a lot fewer complaints about billeting problems during the season since starting these check-ins. — S.W.
I approach a different host family during a game each season. Just a five-minute chat in the stands makes the program more approachable and they’re more likely to billet again. People want to feel recognized and appreciated, even in the smallest ways. — S.S.
We ask new billet hosts for honest feedback about the onboarding program — if we gave them the right info to get going with their player. I also send anonymous surveys twice a season. — J.B.
Our team hosts a pre-game coffee and donuts for billet families about once a month during the season. Some of them are dropping off players for warm-ups anyway, so they just stay at the rink. Since doing this, people have formed a kind of a “billet section” where they sit together in the stands. Our billet families really feel a sense of community. — S.C.
We use SurveyMonkey to take a pulse check on billet families every other month, including the off season. It helps hosts continue to feel connected to the team and we get an idea ahead of time how many hosts will be likely to billet a player again next year. — M.N.
Billet Better has used tips like these to create a Recruiting Package for teams and billet coordinators. You’ll find best practices compiled into one toolkit, along with a calendar of to-do’s to build your billet community.