The image of the well-heeled gent golfing with his buddies is no longer what you see at the majority of private clubs. The most successful clubs have made adjustments to accommodate the challenges presented in recent years, such as new household compositions and preferences leaning more toward casual experiences. The unfortunate reality is that clubs that stick to the old way of attracting members, such as soliciting corporate sponsorship, aren't doing as well as those that think outside the box. Address issues that may be preventing your club from increasing membership.
Brainstorm Target Members
The first step to addressing membership issues is brainstorming who would join your club that hasn't done so already. Certain criteria will probably remain the same, such as minimum household income. If people meet your criteria but aren't joining your club, why is that? It may be necessary to conduct a focus group to find out, say by inviting potential members out to your club and following up with those who don't commit to joining.
Give the Best Value to Existing Members
It's difficult to increase membership if you're losing the existing members of your club. It's essential to discover what's important to them. It could be that they value fine dining, or maybe they like high-end facilities for golfing. Once you know what those values are, Boardroom Mag suggests you "go after it aggressively." That means you should focus your efforts on providing those services and facilities. This information also lets you know what aspects of your club you can change to attract new members.
Make Capital Improvements
All members of private clubs have some values the same – they want a club that's in good repair. Depending on your target and current memberships, expanding your facilities may make sense. It may be time to add that new café or expand the course. However, the less sexy, but equally important, issue of maintenance needs attendance, too. Perhaps your best capital improvement comes in making over the current dining facilities or adding wheelchair accessibility to more areas.
Offer Special Membership Arrangements
It's a fine line between not alienating current members but attracting new ones – and you must tread it carefully. Once you know what your current members value, and who your target market is, it's time to consider making special membership arrangements. This can take many forms. For example, adding childcare facilities is a good way to attract young families. Perhaps it makes more sense for you to add tiers of membership, with more restricted plans being more financially accessible. It all depends on the unique demands of your target demographic.
For more information, contact a private club consultant in your area.