I feel privileged to talk with GMs across the nation each day. It’s encouraging to hear that many clubs are experiencing record number of new members and the percentage of clubs with waiting lists has increased from 17% pre-Covid to 62% today. Likewise, rounds of golf are higher than in the past decade.
The pandemic bestowed an incredible gift on the golf industry/private club world. Where many businesses struggled to keep the doors open, most private clubs flourished. Covid reignited the need for belonging, social interactions and camaraderie in a “safe haven” environment. The passion for golf, for socialization, belongingness. It provided a shot in the arm with membership levels not seen for decades and corresponding financial health.
As good as it feels to finally have momentum on your side the challenge becomes keeping that momentum alive knowing the next challenge could be right around the corner. Many northern clubs are experiencing that next set of challenges with a confluence of issues:
- Amplified amenity usage – tee time availability, dining reservations being hard to come by, court times at a premium, and pool/spa/wellness centers being booked to capacity.
- Deficiencies in service delivery: ability to hire new staff, train inexperienced staff, or the fatigue of over-worked existing staff
- Heightened member expectations – pent-up demand for socialization, first-time private club members enthusiasm, tenured members feeling the pinch “things are not the same”
One club I spoke with last week has been forced to close one of its dining venues due to the inability to provide service due to staff shortages. Other clubs are exploring ways to reduce the number of members to appease members upset with tee time/court time availability.
The key question is, what will it take to keep the “wind at your back”? The ClubInsights team believes the key will be:
- Staff – retaining your staff through fostering an empowered team environment:
- Empowering staff to deliver member experiences and realizing the gratification of serving members and resolving their concerns & issues
- Providing your staff the knowledge and information systems so they can be efficient and effective
- Focusing their precious time on the clubs’ highest yielding improvement opportunities
- Members – make it personal – reinforce they made the right choice
- Establish a two-way dialog and actively listen to ALL members
- Create a shared destiny environment – make them part of the future
- Provide them a lifeline/safety net if they have concerns or issues with the confidence of knowing there voice matters
- Make it easy for members to recognize staff
- Club/Leadership Team – instill a continuous improvement culture – the best is yet to come mentality
- Data is stronger than opinions (having data wins)
- Focus on key opportunities that produce the biggest impact on the members’ experience overall
Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets to maintain the momentum, but, through diligent two-way communications there are ways to maintain positive momentum. Successful clubs are using the tools, systems, and best practices that address current and potential issues. Maybe it’s time to open your eyes to new technology, new ways of communicating and new ways of identifying issues before they become problems. Delivering on the member experience will be the hallmark for future success.
Are you ready?
If you would like to hear more please contact me.
Peter McCarty 517-420-5457 [email protected]