5 Trends in City Clubs


July 29, 2021

People crave connections with other people. It’s how we learn, progress, and live a more fulfilling life –  all things where city and university clubs excel. But it takes extreme dedication to details in both the member experience and operations to run a club successfully.

You have to be continuously looking forward and building to what members will want in the future while still catering to their current desires, many of which are part of long-standing traditions and history. It’s a continuous balancing act for many clubs. All that said, here are five trends that we predict will impact city and university clubs in the upcoming months.

1. Growth – New Generations are Joining

While there was a period of time where membership in clubs dropped, with the revitalization of many downtown areas members returned. Importantly, the younger generations led many in the move to these areas. Now advancing in their careers and income, they’re looking for authentic third places where they can belong and spend their time. That time spent could be a mix of work and leisure as the remote economy continues to climb. Consider options and events to highlight both. The good news is that by joining clubs now, they have significant time ahead to contribute to and enjoy the club.

2. Personalization – Get to Know Your Members

Like mentioned before, people join clubs to be connected. They want to be known and be part of the group. That includes and starts with you and staff members as you welcome new members to the club. It becomes even more prevalent for veteran members that expect everyone there to know them. But it doesn’t end with face-to-face interactions. Look for opportunities to connect with members away from the club and how you can bring new staff up to speed with member preferences.

3. Frictionless Experiences – Meet and Exceed Expectations

Traditions are great and have their place. But expectations have changed in many areas. It all ties back to digital, but some of the biggest shifts in expectations are check-ins, payments, and to-go orders. Members want to reserve and access amenities on their schedule, not yours and that of your staff. How will you accommodate their desire given staff challenges and other possible restrictions? New generations expect payments to be digital at a minimum and contactless preferably, full stop. They also expect and appreciate being able to view menus and complete to-go orders in a smooth seamless online experience.

4. Casual and Formal – Relax Expectations without Dropping Standards

Sometimes going to the club means stepping out in your finest. Connections and networking were the reason many clubs came into existence. But for a lot of members and clubs, those are not the main reasons they visit the club. As many clubs become remote work centers, fitness studios, or just third place relaxation zones for members ordinary days are going to be more common. The expected dress is going to reflect the intentions of members coming to the club at that time. Determine how you will welcome and be considerate of all guests.

5. Integrated Technology – Meeting the Help Wanted Crisis

It’s no secret that all service industries are facing extreme staffing challenges. We expect forward-thinking clubs to adapt to these conditions through a variety of technologies that enable them to do more with less throughout the club. While this will soon correct itself through supply and demand, it won’t matter to advanced clubs. Their new processes will enable them to exceed member expectations at every touchpoint. Simultaneously, they’ll gather more information and data points that enable them to stay a step ahead of their members’ next ask.

It’s a great time to be involved with clubs. To see how the top city and university clubs are evolving, check out the Essential Suite for City Clubs and customer examples.