By: Allen Jakubauskas, Senior Vice President, WTS International
Today’s private club members are looking for far more than golf and a nice meal out of their membership. People are being very selective about how they want to spend their time and money. When choosing the right club to join, they are looking much more closely at non-golf amenities and leisure programming. Offering your membership a well conceived and creative lifestyle program will infuse a social connection and commitment to the club that will pay dividends in retention and driving new membership sales.
While golf is still the driver, lifestyle has become the differentiator. In today’s private club market, it is critical to offer creative and relevant fitness, spa and recreational programming to your membership base. Just carving out some square footage and tossing in the same old fitness equipment simply does not generate the necessary excitement to garner membership sales. Today’s competitors are offering sophisticated facilities with unique spaces that embrace the latest and greatest in the spa, fitness and recreation industries. If you are missing the mark in this area, you are falling behind the pack!
Today, fitness and wellness offerings venture well beyond a few random classes and some private training. Programming in this area has become highly planned and orchestrated to meet the needs and desires of members. It no longer matters whether you are a family, a working professional or an older adult; there is something to offer for all. Families are being enticed by youth-targeted and parent/child offerings, working professionals by outdoor and competitive training and older adults by wellness, flexibility and pain relief modalities.
Spa and personal care services have become an expectation of many club members. Offering quality spa services, skin care treatments and appropriate product options in a club environment embraces the essence of “membership” and allows the service providers to offer a much more unique and customized program to members with lasting and impactful results. Local day spas and world class resort spas simply cannot compete with the level of connection and engagement clubs can have with members when it comes to highly personal services.
Outdoor recreation opportunities have also become more sophisticated and popular, whether it is local day hikes, team training for the local “Tough Mudder” race, or biking, hiking and boating excursions that incorporate fun, healthy and social experiences for members. Membership is about connecting with others. Engineering events and engagements for this to happen is our job and creating magical moments and relationships is the driving force. This can only be accomplished by exposing members to new activities and socializing opportunities with other members through creative programming.
The key is to understand your membership and their programming desires, outline a relevant programming calendar with ongoing daily/weekly services, and then creatively get in front of and engage your membership base. Engagement will come through having the right people delivering well planned programs and services in a consistent and enjoyable manner. Soon your membership will be reinvigorated and your club will be redefined in the marketplace.