Creating experiences for the members is paramount to running a successful private club, said Mark Freemott, Senior Vice President of Operations at KemperSports. Members’ demands and expectations for private clubs are changing, and it is up to the club to evolve to meet their needs if it hopes to survive.
At KemperSports, we have found the below items important when helping to drive member satisfaction while giving us a step ahead in future member recruitment:
- Focus on the Social Events, Food and Beverage – Current day private club members want adventure and variety. Keep the social events that have done well in the past, but always be thinking about how to reinvent tradition and come up with new ideas and experiences. For example, private clubs can add value and variety with new, exciting menu items like heart healthy and casual dining options, which tend to perform very well. And clubs must be okay with taking risks to try new ideas, such as hosting casual wine tastings where members can meet and mingle with other members that may not be in their current social group.
- Encourage Communication, Investment and Engagement – If private clubs want to continue to survive, they must focus on improving their communication to their members and staff, investing more capital and engaging with members. Mobile apps, digital signage and social media are all important communication tools that clubs should be utilizing. In regards to investment, members expect new amenities, refreshed dining rooms, fresh interiors and constant signs of progress at their club. If clubs hope to survive, they must invest the proper capital to make these improvements. Engagement is also important as newer members expect the ‘oversight’ and leadership to be active and engaged. Therefore, department leaders including general managers and superintendents must be visible.
- Insight Feedback – It’s important for leadership at private clubs to continually survey member satisfaction to ensure they are getting their expected experience. I also believe it’s important to gauge insight from front level staff. These are the trusted staffers who are in front of members on a daily basis. A seamless and comfortable line of communication is key in all facets of the club.