Finding New Members

The need to grow membership keeps me up at night. Where should clubs focus their attention to find new members?

A bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke with music in his head. He switched on the recorder and laid down the riff that everyone now knows to be the lead-in for “(Ain’t Got No) Satisfaction.” And, then, promptly fell back asleep. “When I woke up in the morning, the tape had run out,” Richards recalled. “I put it back on, and there’s this, maybe, 30 seconds of ‘Satisfaction’ . . . and then suddenly the guitar goes ‘CLANG,’ and then there’s like 45 minutes of snoring”.

It’s the need for better and more actionable market knowledge costing many club managers sleep. In fact, recent research from Global Golf Advisors (GGA) finds that [only] 6.5 percent of 4,400 private clubs in North America are full with a waiting list of members hoping to join. Or, nine-in-ten clubs are searching for members. But, where? And how?

Michael Gregory at GGA offers important points of focus:

  1. Win the Kids – Understand where the best school districts are if you want members for a family-oriented club. Clubs are especially important to families during their child-rearing years.
  2. Win the Moms – Offering a wide assortment of programs and activities engages women who cast the veto-vote in most to-buy-or-not-to-buy membership decisions. Moms search for clubs that meet most of the family’s needs.
  3. Do Your Homework – Market information concerning housing, demographic and psychographic trends is readily available in most markets, so do the research to understand the push and pull factors that matter most locally

The market factors that are key to generating more members are surging consumer confidence, favourable employment statistics, increasing household income and advanced educational attainment. Private club members tend to be found on the positive side of these indicators.

Sometimes inspiration appears in the middle of the night. For most club managers the results that keep your club at the top of the charts requires consistent pursuit of market knowledge and future member insights.

GGA’s Henry DeLozier penned this article for Club Director Magazine, Published by the National Club Association.