What lies ahead as we slowly emerge from COVID restrictions and a new normal unfolds at your club? Does it represent opportunity or potential peril?
In discussions with numerous Club GMs & COOs over the past several weeks regarding what lies ahead, member retention is at or near the top of almost everyone’s list. Retention has long been an elusive and difficult to define area for even the best marketers. It is a relatively easy thing to spot when it is present (brand ambassadors, strong bonds, active engagement by the member, spouse/significant other, high levels of satisfaction) and fairly easy to Monday morning quarterback when those fateful words are delivered “we just don’t use the club like we used to.” Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a playbook or guide for retention as we all traverse the unchartered waters that we are entering? Based on my 30+ year career working in the experience, loyalty, and retention space across several industries, ClubInsights’ 15 years of researching member satisfaction and culture, and collaborating with Dr. Richard Spreng (Chair MSMR – Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business), ClubInsights has established a first of its kind blueprint for members retention entitled the Power of E3: Engagement, Experience and Emotion.
Part one of a three-part series will focus on enhancing membership Engagement levels. While the term Engagement has several definitions and interpretations, I think everyone can agree, it can be defined as the degree and depth of interactions a member and/or spouse/significant other has with the club.
The first reaction in the post-COVID era by many club leadership teams to increase member retention levels will be the addition of new amenities and/or renovating/remodeling existing amenities in the hopes of “build it and they will stay.” While renovating and/or adding amenities may be the right path, instead, perhaps start from a perspective of examining the broader engagement landscape. Have you considered:
- Programming effectiveness – ClubInsights’ data indicates an extremely high correlation between satisfaction with club programming and events and member retention. As COVID restrictions are lifted, what will member/new member expectations be regarding events, social gatherings, etc.? Are your events life-style matched with those expectations and membership composition? Will elevated golf participation rates continue? Are the same members attending every event?
- Onboarding – data shows that 25% of all member attrition occurs within the first 24 months of membership. Are you assimilating new members into the club in a professional and purposeful manner consistent with your club’s culture and brand? Are some of your new members first time private club members? If so, are their expectations consistent with other members? Will they stay post-COVID?
- Amenities – Most clubs have some limitations relative to space, funding, congruency of amenities, etc. Should your Master Plan be revisited? Has the competitive landscape changed? Are there new opportunities, threats, weaknesses? What is the relationship between amenity, experience, and retention?
While likely nothing in our lifetime compares to the personal, business, and social impact of COVID, historically, the aftermath of significant events results in significant business and consumer change AND opportunity. Will the aftermath of the COVID be a sustained renaissance of the private club industry or just a blip? The future is yours to mold.
Stay tuned next week for Part two of the Power of E3 as we focus on the role Experience plays in member loyalty and retention.
If you are interested in discussing deploying the Power of E3 at your club to enhance retention, please visit our website at www.clubinsights.com or contact Peter McCarty 517-420-5457, Rick Coyne 214-679-8496 or Gary Eversole 419-215-6992