HB 321: Membership Marketing for Club Managers

What is the average number of members in a golf club?
What is the average number of members in a country club?
What is the average number of members in a city/athletic club?
What is the ultimate goal of a private club?
to have a membership waiting list to be long.
Problems for clubs without full time membership:
-lower revenue mandates decreased operating expenses
-fewer services and amenities offered to members
-fewer initiation fees, transfer fees, and debentures sold
-fewer renovations and capital projects undertaken
-deferred routine maintenance on club facilities
-projects done cost more per remaining member
-low employee morale due to cutbacks, lower wages
-member dissatisfaction due to decline in services, amenities, quality of service, and appearance of the club
-higher attrition rate of members due to dissatisfaction
-new clubs growing toward a full membership will typically be subsidized by investors
-existing clubs suffering a decline will frequently enter a vicious cycle of cost cutting, reduced services, dissatisfaction and member resignations
Factors that contribute to a declining club membership include:
-economic downturns
-more and better competitors
-aging club membership
-differing preferences of younger generations
Barriers to membership marketing in clubs
-the club has an exclusive image to maintain
-marketing sends a “club is in trouble” message
-the clubs reputation will diminish
-the clubs members worry about overcrowding
-long term members might get upset
-members fear that they won’t get individual or good service with more members
-club managers are unfamiliar with marketing strategies because in the past, most clubs had a waiting list.
The four p’s of membership marketing:
The fours p’s are just as important as it is in….
general marketing strategy
The steps in developing a membership marketing plan:
-conduct an internal analysis
-conduct an external analysis
-position the club
-develop an action plan
-evaluate the plan
The membership process from nominee to new member and it generally requires:
-a sponsor
-a seconder
-letters of recommendation
-an application
-a credit report
-a posting period
-membership committee approval
-board of directors approval
What is the best source of a new member?
the nomination of a qualified individual by a current club member. From there more aggressive strategies must be used.
What are the strategies to attract new members?
-new sponsorship policies
-installment payments for initiation fees
-decreased initial fees or dues
-equity or refundable initial fees
-more membership categories
-significant other policies
-new member marketing materials
-family friendly facilities, programs, policies, services
Other techniques to generate membership prospects:
-solicit referrals from existing members
-new member orientations
-membership committees
-prospect lists
-member guest tourneys, social events
Sources for prospective members:
-seek out lists of individuals who have a profile similar to current club members or who possess characteristics that would make them good additions to the membership
-membership lists of other private clubs (many members belong to multiple clubs)
-membership lists from professional associations or chambers of commerce
-tenant lists of businesses in office buildings near the club
-lists of individuals who have purchased homes over certain monetary value close to the club
-lists of parents with children in select private schools or colleges
-lists of majors contributions or donors to select charities or art exhibits, museums.
-lists of CEO’s of major companies reported in newspapers, business magazines.
The club membership director is responsible for:
-increase the number of club members
-assist members in the member referral process
-process member nomination paperwork as well as letters of recommendation
-send brochures, letters, and other club marketing materials to candidates.
-give tours of the club to guests and prospective members
-follow up on nominees and membership inquiries to increase likelihood of joining
-generate membership candidates from among guests attending club events
-match candidates with members willing to sponsor them because of common association
-implement strategies to control member attrition
Controlling attrition
a member retained costs less than a new member recruited
Track non users
call those members who have not used the club in two months
conduct resignation interviews
probe deeply for true reasons of each defection
Implement a new member mentoring program
volunteer members help new members get involved/included in the club and activities
Increase reciprocal club privileges worldwide
a low cost, but high value perk, becoming more important as the global economy shrinks our world
Club websites have become an indispensable club marketing tool because they can:
-describe and show club amenities
-provide banquet and catering information
-explain the membership nomination process
-showcase club events as they occur
Members only web benefits: a primary goal is to provide current members with all of the info and forms they need to recruit friends, family members and business acquaintance to club membership
-info about the nomination process
-easily downloadable nomination forms
-letter of reference forms or samples
-details of membership categories and fee structures
-this type of info would typically be available on the private, members only section of the website
Database technology enhances target marking:
-track membership candidates
-sponsors requesting nomination forms
-members who have sponsored candidates
-tenants in nearby business properties
-target mailings by residential area
-target mailings or emails by interest areas
-target communications to members based on usage or spending patterns generating loyalty and rentention
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