As generations and members change, clubs have to shift with them or risk being left behind.

For the first time, that requires new ways of thinking about everything, from member recruitment to member expectations at the club. Here are some points to consider to help to develop a member base that will be around for generations.

Member Experience at the Club

While the standards for great service and member experiences are familiar. the bar of expectations for how well you deliver has been raised significantly. Fueled by data and new technology, today’s members are used to being individually catered to everywhere they go by even large corporations.  Clubs will have to step up their game to stand out. Fortunately, much of the same technology used by national businesses are available for clubs.

Data captured throughout the club, or even before they join through a CRM system accelerates the depth of knowledge about members, creating a consistent experience throughout the club grounds. This can expedite onboarding of new hires and enable them to act and feel like tenured team members. It can also help you determine what types of programming to include going forward. "We're working to develop a variety of clubs within a club," says Emily Ojerholm, Membership Director at Longue Vue Club. Within the last two years, they've hired a Director of Fun to engage with members and create active programming all year round like fly fishing, wine, and gardening; "things that mom and dad can participate in together and with their families," she says, because that’s what their member base is clamoring for.

Also, don’t overlook the everyday things at the club, like how members pay for example. Increasingly we use different payment methods in the outside world, from credit card to newer digital formats. A mobile ordering solution can enable associates to place orders wherever they are, allowing for more time to interact with and attend to members’ needs. As these methods become more common, they’ll come to be expected. Not having them will be noticed and be seen as an inconvenience to members.


Digital Member Experience @theClub

“The next generation of private club users are very different from our parents and have different expectations – not only in how they want to engage with the club but in how we communicate with them,” says Matt Wilson, Director at Billy Casper Signature. That translates into different channels. Or more accurately, an additional number of channels, often depending on the type and place of communication. At home, the website could serve as a central hub, delivering newsletters, videos, and other longer form content.

Social media has a definite place in broadening the story to members and beyond. Videos especially, of varying lengths, are key to engaging new and existing audiences. Facebook and Instagram are both major players serving slightly different audiences that can’t be ignored when looking to develop your base.

But as people are continuously on the go, they are also used to and expect to get critical information wherever they are and in time to use it. For example, the experience of a club visit doesn’t have to wait until they arrive on the property, it could actually start in the driveway before the member leaves for a reservation with a friendly text about their arrival. Or it could be on the course triggered by a beacon at the turn. Those individual 1-to-1 channels create personalized engagement that builds lasting relationships.


Member Recruitment and Retention

“What would we want if we were in the market? What we're trying to attract is exactly what we look for outside of work as well, that’s where we start,” says Greg Gilg, General Manager at the Field Club of Omaha. That’s a great start to attracting peers. Again, a CRM system can ensure that prospects get followed up with and nurtured through the process. But just as important is retaining members once they have joined. That’s where predictive analytics and a system like Clubessential MAP, the club industry’s first predictive analytics solution, can make a huge difference. MAP provides quick insight into member engagement based on predetermined scoring criteria and identifies members at risk. With that information, you can initiate a tailored re-engagement strategy and keep that member for decades to come.


Tying it all Together

The one consistent factor through all of the challenges is that technology can be a differentiating enabler – when you listen and ask the right questions. Having a single platform ensures that you create a picture that’s as comprehensive as possible for your club management and your members. With insight into member actions, desires and their impact on your club, you can build a strong member base that can serve your club for years to come.

Where Does Your Club Stand?

Have you ever wondered how your club compares to other clubs in their efforts to increase member engagement and prepare for the future? That’s exactly what the Private Club Maturity Model will help you assess. Free to download, it enables you to benchmark your current state and build a roadmap forward.



Conversations with Club Leaders

Hear what the next generation of club leaders have to say in their own words about tackling three of the biggest challenges clubs face today.