Is the thirst for experiences set to explode?
In recent discussions with numerous Club GMs & COOs regarding what lies ahead, member retention is at or near the top of everyone’s list as we emerge from the COVID crisis. While likely nothing in our lifetime compares to the personal, business, and social impact of COVID, historically, the aftermath of major events results in significant change AND opportunity. Will the aftermath of COVID extenuate the thirst for experiences? Are you ready for the new normal?
Last week’s post was the first of a three-part series expounding on the recently released blueprint for membership retention through the Power of E3 (Engagement, Experience and Emotions). It focused on the first of the three E’s – Engagement, as defined in the private club environment by the degree and depth of interactions a member and/or spouse/significant other has with the club. Engagement was discussed in detail and the role Programming Effectiveness, Onboarding New Members, and the Club’s Amenities & Master Plan play in driving club loyalty and ultimately retaining members.
This week’s spotlight is on the second power of E3 – Experience. For the purposes of private clubs, Experience can be defined as the holistic perception of every interaction and touchpoint a member, spouse/significant other has with the club.
As we have all come to understand, we are currently living in what is called the Experience Era. What specifically does that mean? How did we get here? It may help to take walk back from the early-20th century forward and key eras preceding the Experience Era.
- The Production Era – best characterized by the famous quote of Henry Ford- “you can have any color you like as long as it’s black”. Organizations primarily followed an engineering philosophy of form and function. Similarly, for private clubs, this was an era best characterized by splendor, exclusivity, and pomp and circumstance.
- Next came the Sales & Marketing Era on the heels of the Production era where messaging, advertising, and the “art of the pitch” became the dominant market force. For the golf world, it was a time where golf was exploding with TV coverage showcasing Arnie’s Army, the Golden Bear, and the glamours of golf. The private club world experienced unprecedented growth with “a build it and they will come mentality”.
- And today, we are living in what economists classify as the Experience Era. Where consumerism (customer-centricity) has taken center stage. It has fundamentally inverted how organizations design, produce, market, and retain customers. Suddenly organizations find themselves developing systems and processes to listen to their customers, understanding their expectations, respond quickly to issues and concerns, and proactively personalizing experiences. The internet has propelled the Experience Era with consumers now being able to share their experiences more easily and creating an expectation among all of us of not only being heard but trusting our voice matters.
Experience Era pioneers in similar sectors like Ritz Carleton and Lexus have blazed a path through learning and embracing three foundational concepts…. Satisfaction, Support, and Alignment
- Satisfaction – the bedrock of Experience Era success is understanding the key drivers of satisfaction, ongoing performance assessment, and fact-based continuous improvement. How are you monitoring member satisfaction? Are you utilizing data to chart continuous improvement opportunities across amenities?
- Support – As mentioned, everyone now has the expectation of being heard and believing their voice matters. Research has proven that when a member conveys an issue or concern, and it is handled in a timely and appropriate manner their individual satisfaction levels are higher than those not having an issue or concern. How are you listening to all your members, spouses/significant others? How are you ensuring your staff has real-time feedback enabling them to take positive action before issues become the talk of the foursome, boardroom, and/or social media?
- Alignment – most organizations are an amalgamation of various factions often each with their own set of priorities and perspectives. Success in the Experience Era requires data and information to ensure all factions are aligned and engaged in service delivery. How are you ensuring the board, staff, committees, and members are on the same page with the same priorities? Are you harnessing the enormous potential of a shared destiny mindset?
As we emerge from COVID the thirst for experiences will assuredly increase exponentially and nowhere more than the private club environment. The clubs who will enjoy sustained success will be the ones that fully embrace the Experience Era.
Stay tuned next week for Part three of the Power of E3 as we focus on the role Emotions 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