Gathering with like-minded people to enjoy a common interest is at the root of so many things we do. Whether it’s going to a stadium to cheer on your favorite team, seeing a concert to listen to a popular musician, or going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant … in the moment, we all belong.
My family and I just returned from a trip overseas. Our oldest child is spending a semester studying in Seville, Spain, so we took the opportunity to visit Lisbon, Portugal; Seville and Madrid, Spain.
Our trip happened to coincide with the kickoff of the World Cup. Soccer—or football, as it is known to the rest of the world—is filled with passionate fans who live and die with their teams. The sense of belonging is palpable. As we headed to dinner one night, Spain scored its first goal of the global tournament and the square erupted—from construction workers on the top of a roof to couples walking hand-in-hand. In that moment, they were all on the same team.
Prior to leaving on our vacation, my wife and I rejoined a private club to which we once belonged. We left for another club, but never forgot the friends and connections we made while there. Without digging too deeply into the human psyche, I think we missed that sense of belonging.
Gathering with like-minded people to enjoy a common interest is at the root of so many things we do. Whether it’s going to a stadium to cheer on your favorite team, attending a concert to listen to a popular musician, or going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant … in the moment, we all belong.
Now we’re back at a club that was a major part of our lives a decade ago. A lot remains the same, but a great deal has changed, as well. There have been renovations and enhancements, and members have come and gone. We’re looking forward to getting back into a routine and meeting new families, but we’ll miss some of those who were actively involved years ago.
That brings me to a number of questions. What do you do at your club to make new members feel a part of the “family” right away? Is there a “formal” introduction via a newsletter? Do you host new-member socials to acquaint those who have also recently joined?
In our October issue, Chris Baird, Director of Sales & Marketing at Cutalong at Lake Anna in Mineral, Va., wrote about being in the very beginning stages of the development. The club has fostered relationships with local vendors to host member socials and outings. One of the most successful ways they were able to grow membership was to partner with a social group that conducts a cornhole tournament at one of the local breweries.
While Cutalong anticipates having its first building for social events coming online in 2023, staff enjoys hosting events at other venues. Another highlighted event was a viewing party for The Masters Tournament at a nearby orchard. Members were encouraged to bring their friends out, mingle, enjoy hors d’ouerves and submit a golf pick ’em pool to win prizes.
Belonging isn’t exclusive to members, of course. Your employees are critically important to your operations. What, if anything, do you do to make them feel more welcome and appreciated? Offering a competitive wage and benefits is nice, but any business can do that. Clubs that retain and attract high-quality employees often go above and beyond what’s expected.
Do you host events for employees? Provide special perks?
If you have time in the coming days and weeks, please shoot me an e-mail to explain some of your most successful initiatives for new members and employees. We’d love to share with our audience.