An understanding of the nature of your current membership and what you would like it to be helps define which industry trends you should be a champion of.
“Know the buyer better” was the name of a major research project conducted by the publishing company I began my career with 35 years ago. The study’s intent was to provide suppliers with demographic and psychographic information about what influenced and motivated purchase decisions for industrial and commercial products. If nothing else, the concept and results were thought-provoking.
The message to suppliers was pretty clear: The more knowledge you had about your customers and prospects, the better your ability to sell and serve them. You’d be surprised how little attention a lot of companies pay to this concept—especially if they sell through dealers and distributors.
Since changes and trends in the club business are driven by demographics, an understanding of the nature of your current membership and what you would like it to be helps define which industry trends you should be a champion of. Consider the following demographic profiles—they are not universal truths, but are pretty close:
Members Under 40
• The smallest portion of your membership—but the ones most clubs crave
• Professional/Salaried/Dual-Income—little net worth, at the age of acquisition, buying homes, cars, education, “toys,” etc.
• Have young children and the entire family is tech-savvy
• Little use for formal dining; moderate use of the golf course; active use of all athletics (pool, tennis, fitness, etc.)
• Your sweet spot: Professional/Sr. Corp. Exec./Owner at peak of career and earning power, with savings and net worth
• Older, grown children
• Change accepted more carefully, but member assessments generally not a problem, if the idea is right
• Heaviest golfers; some formal dining; heavy use of bar and grill
• Fitness becoming more important
Members over 60
• Retired or near end of career, and have savings but view themselves as having fixed incomes
• Resistant to change; like things as they are unless the change is compelling
• Golf moderately to heavy; use card room extensively
• Most use of formal dining, but prefer casual
• Less use of athletic facilities, but will use fitness facilities (some extensively)
Your profile(s) may differ; however, it’s a good idea to prepare your own version and account for the demographics in your club—and don’t hesitate to share the information with your staff and Board of Directors. The ensuing discussion will be compelling.
Not only will you know your “Buyer” better, you will be able to identify which services and trends to pursue for satisfying your members’ passion for camaraderie, competition and relaxation in a familiar, comfortable setting.