There are many market forces impacting the club industry and the only certainty on the road ahead is change. There are numerous forces both collectively and individually driving change. A perfect storm of sorts with:
- Shifting Demographics & Values – aging members, more time conscious, health conscious, tech savvy.
- Excess Capacity – too many courses and options available, leading to intense competition and predatory marketing practices.
- Declining Universe of Golfers – potentially the most alarming ingredient is the universe of golfers especially avid golfers is shrinking.
While this storm may in fact be daunting and ominous for the private club world, very similar market forces are occurring in other sectors such as retail, hospitality and automotive based on intense competition, over-capacity and changing customer values.
What are current market leaders in this new empowerment era doing?
Companies like Amazon, Zappos, One and Only Resorts and Tesla are forging into a new era of connectedness where information and technology are enabling them to cultivate relationships with their customers. Today these companies are focused on listening and knowing their customers, quickly responding to issues if they occur and leveraging technology to form a personalized bond to create ambassadors for life.
So why is connectedness so important?
Social media and real-time everything is conditioning all of us, we now have an expectation of:
- Fix my problem, now! with today’s technology and need for instant gratification, there is an expectation of fix it immediately and in a manner that is most convenient to me.
- Being heard – whether through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or through review sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp, or through surveys and tools to gather our individual perspective. We all have an expectation of not only providing our voice but knowing it matters.
- Anticipate my needs – is rapidly gaining traction and acceptance with customers. Organizations like Amazon and Zappos have made action a science and are pushing the envelope on meeting and exceeding customer expectations by using information to recommend products. For many this felt intrusive and a blatant marketing ploy to increase sales. Although, anticipating my needs has emerged as a key tool to delight customers and create “stickiness”.
- Personalize my experience – with the “me” generation coming of age, there is an opportunity through information and technology to create unique experiences. The One and Only Resorts are using survey information along with database management to create a very personalized experience for each guest.
The bar is being set and the stakes are high. Successful organizations know If you fail to do these things, you’ll read about yourself on social media and/or be the latest grapevine buzz.
Reality is, there has been a shift in power to the consumer……. And in your world, that’s the Empowered Member. Think of your own club and how these market forces are impacting you? How are you connecting with your members across staff and amenities to understand their needs and expectations? What can you do to anticipate their needs and personalize the experience? Are you identifying issues and concerns and closing the loop? Finally, do you have a strategy in place and the information systems to succeed in the new reality.
The clubs who knows listen, anticipate and personalize will reap the benefits of an army of club ambassadors. If you would like to learn more about the many strategically based services and systems deployed by our ClubInsights professional staff, please click here and learn more. If you would prefer to contact me directly, my number is 419-215-6992.