The surge of membership sales over the past 24 months is no secret. But for those who think it’s time to sit back and relax, it’s time to think again, says Melissa Hansen, Director of Membership and Marketing at The Club at Olde Cypress in Naples, Fla. The real work has only begun.
By Melissa Hansen, Director of Membership and Marketing, The Club at Olde Cypress
It’s the elephant in the room at nearly every private club these days.
Your club is sold out.
You have a waitlist.
Your members pass by and make comments such as, “what are you going to do now?”
“Have you just sold yourself out of a job?”
The surge of membership sales over the past 24 months is no secret. But for those who think it’s time to sit back and relax (or worse – lay off your membership director), it’s time to think again. The real work has only begun.
Below are three areas that need to be taken into consideration at every private club:
Personalize the Member Experience
Going the extra mile is nothing new in the private club arena but creating a personalized member experience takes creativity and thoughtfulness from your team.
The first tip is to follow your members back on your club’s social media platforms so you can get an inside peek into their everyday lives.
Let’s take for example Eric and Jennifer Smith.
You found out via Instagram they are expecting their first child, so you send a congratulatory card to the parents-to-be signed by your staff members.
A little research reveals that Eric Smith has his next tee time booked a week from today.
Upon his arrival, your golf shop staff surprises him with a logoed onesie from the club to celebrate this milestone with his favorite foursome.
Total cost to the club: $13
You have now created a personalized experience the Smiths will never forget.
Foster New Relationships
It’s your responsibility as a membership director to be a connector and expert relationship builder.
How many times have you heard recently from your members, “there are so many new faces!”?
At Olde Cypress, we recently created a group called “The YP’s of OC,” short for the young professionals of Olde Cypress. With an influx of new families between the ages of 30 – 45, it was crucial to create programming so these families could connect.
We’ve hosted special YP happy hours that are ideal for networking. And via our new 5 @ 5 program, adults come out for five holes of golf at 5 p.m. on a Friday and drop their kids at our Kids Kare program for entertainment while they socialize.
Jessica Payne of San Jose Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. hosts a golf mixer called, “Members in Waiting vs. Members Who Waited.” This mixer introduces her waitlist members to her new members that recently joined so they can engage with those who are waiting and share the excitement of those that are experiencing the club for the first time.
Bridging the gap between existing and new members is crucial.
Victoria Shea at Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles hosts member mixers segmented by the letters of the alphabet. For example, all members with last names starting with A, B and C are invited to attend on night one. This is an incredible way to allow new and current members to connect in a fun space.
Be a Data Keeper
Data trends are crucial, especially in an ever-changing environment like the private club industry. Oftentimes we assume we know the reasons members join or leave our club. Yet when we survey them and receive the actual data; well, you know what they say about assuming. It’s mission critical to consistently measure, track and report on member satisfaction to identify opportunities for expansion and address issues.
An enhanced member experience will lead to satisfaction rates that soar. It will boost revenue in all areas of the club as well as improve member loyalty and retention. Clubs that are quick to resolve issues, reward loyalty, stay in touch, and most importantly, thank their members, will strengthen the positive perception that is at the root of the overall member experience.
As the communicators, marketers, and the cheerleaders – it’s time to shift our roles and lean toward enhancing the overall member experience for the entire club.