“Thanks to everyone for your support and friendship over the years, and I hope that our paths cross again at some point down the road—I will be the one in shorts, flip-flops and a golf shirt.” -Dan Ramella
Innovation is the key to your club’s success.
This is as true today as it was when I wrote it in my inaugural column for Club & Resort Business back in 2005. It’s worth repeating, so I am leading with it again in this, my final column.
The foundation of C&RB’s editorial philosophy, so capably carried out by Joe Barks and his team, was—and still is—to present practical, proven ideas that clubs across the country have successfully implemented to achieve three objectives: build and sustain growth; spend and invest wisely; and enhance member/guest satisfaction. And we have delivered those ideas, month in and month out.
The model works, as C&RB long ago became the most widely distributed and most preferred read of all publications serving the business information needs of club and resort management teams. We appreciate the affinity and loyalty that readers and suppliers have awarded our portfolio of print, event, and digital media offerings.
The club market was in transition when we launched C&RB in 2005, though it may not have been so readily apparent at the time. It soon would be, as the perfect storm of market saturation, changing demographics, two-income families, tax-code revisions, and a looming recession would combine to rock the industry.
It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least. But now it’s time for me to stop buying ink by the barrel, retire my pen, and move on to days filled with fishing, golfing, traveling, spending more time with family, and enjoying the camaraderie and benefits of my own club memberships. Retirement is looking awfully good.
As for the club industry, my belief has always been that members do not join a club by accident—they aspire to it, and join when they can afford to. Club membership is not for everyone, as Groucho Marx once infamously said about his own membership philosophy. As such, there is a finite, yet steady, market for people who want to be a part of a club’s community, activities, and culture. And for most, the ongoing cost of membership is not an issue, provided the price/value relationship is in balance. Because of this, the club market will remain upscale, affluent, and enduring. Count on it.
This is the long-term view. In the short term, the industry will continue to suffer through the painful adjustment of matching supply with demand. After almost 10 years of contraction we still have too many clubs in the market. No one knows what the “right number” is, but it is something less than what we have today.
Keep innovating to make your club the one that prospective members aspire to join. They will.
What a delight is has been for the past 15 years to meet so many first-class people working in and selling to the club industry. Many friends and lasting relationships have been formed along the way. Rest assured that C&RB is in good hands as Bill Donohue and I pass the baton to new ownership.
Thanks to everyone for your support and friendship over the years, and I hope that our paths cross again at some point down the road—I will be the one in shorts, flip-flops, and a golf shirt.