Both Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville, Md. and its members found the club’s inaugural “Member Week,” launched last summer, to be a solid promotion, as the club offered three-course, prix fixe dinner menus that each highlighted a different part of the club’s operation.
“Every year, Baltimore hosts a ‘Restaurant Week’ where participating restaurants provide fixed-price, specially selected three-course dinner menus, with some also offering a three-course lunch,” explains Mitchell Platt, the club’s General Manager. “We thought, why not try that here? It seems that, for our members, eating at fine dining establishments for a fraction of the cost is especially appealing. And the success of Baltimore’s Restaurant Week confirmed that a good deal can bring in business.”
THE GOAL:Using the popular “Restaurant Week” concept, Woodholme CC created a “Member Week” of dining specials to drive more F&B traffic to its clubhouse.THE PLAN: In the last week of August, during one of the club’s biggest tournaments, Woodholme’s chef and other staff members created a week’s worth of dining promotions, culminating on Labor Day with a poolside barbecue.
THE PAYOFF: F&B participation went up about 15% for the week, with over 500 members attending the Labor Day barbecue, a 10% bump over last year. Greater and broader use of other parts of the club, including golf, swimming and tennis, was also stimulated.
Hoping its Member Week would drive comparable traffic, the Woodholme team designed a series of menus (which can be viewed at clubandresortbusiness.com) that featured everything from burgers and barbecue to lobster and swordfish. Prices ranged from $15.95 for a burger—grilled to order with 17 different topping options, soup and salad bar, waffle chips, potato chips and coleslaw—to $75 for a 2 1/2- to 3-lb. lobster served with a choice of soup or salad, shoestring fries, creamed spinach, corn on the cob and a choice of dessert. There were kid-friendly menus, too, costing about $10 on average.
“Our biggest challenge was getting the word out to the membership,” says Platt. The club’s entire staff got involved with the marketing of Member Week through a variety of vehicles, he reports. “We sent e-mails, we included a brochure in our newsletter, we put signs up around the clubhouse, and we had staff mention it to members in passing, on the course or during lessons,” Platt says. “We even had the reception staff call especially active members to personally invite them to participate.”
Platt now hails the seven-day Member Week as a “terrific success,” citing a 15% jump in F&B participation. “It exceeded expectations across the board,” he says. “The idea was to try something new, and that seems to be what happened.” The event also enticed members to make greater and broader use of the club, he adds, by stimulating more participation in golf, tennis and swimming.
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