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Sustaining a lively events calendar can be challenging – on a practical level, operational level and commercial level. However, even though they may not always pay their way, they are fundamentally important to conveying what your club is, and what it represents. GGA’s Linda Dillenbeck explains why.
Beyond access to an enjoyable round of golf, people join golf and country clubs to socialize with each other and participate in unique experiences. To many, the social aspect of country club life is even more important than the golf, particularly when only one member of the household is an avid player. Whether it is a member/guest golf event, wine tasting dinner, holiday celebration or speaker series, events will build relationships and friendships within the membership that will increase the sense of community throughout the club.
Equally important is the fact that well-planned and thoughtful events will provide the Club the opportunity to enhance its reputation and standing among members. One of the best things that can happen after an event is to have participants telling their friends about the incredible experience, which creates a desire to be part of that experience.
Anyone who has planned an event understands that success doesn’t happen by accident. Rather it requires a combination of creativity, organizational skills, cooperation and, most importantly, a keen attention to detail.
Present Your Brand in a Creative and Consistent Manner
The type of events to include on your club’s social calendar should reflect “who you are” as a Club, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun and have a creative theme that sets your event apart from the myriad of options available to private club members.
Creativity does not have to mean expensive. As a private club member I recently spoke with told me, “My favorite event is the Show Up and Shut Up Halloween tournament.
“Everyone comes dressed in costume and on two holes you hit your drive wearing a pumpkin on your head. It’s so different from so many other events in which I play and provides an entire day of fun and entertainment for my guests.”
While a Show Up and Shut Up event might not be in keeping with your brand image, that should not discourage your creativity in developing themes and memorable touches more in keeping with your brand. This might be a badge of honor tee gift (think beyond shirts, hats and golf equipment), a surprise egg with a special present in the annual Easter celebration or a wine not available to the general public presented by the winemaker during a special dinner. Your goal should be to think different, because when you do, your brand and club will become known for its must-attend events.
The Devil is in the Detail
Small details can have a big impact. They can be the difference between a good event and a great event, between memorable and forgettable, or the difference between clearly communicating who you are and being vague and predictable.
Are all names spelled properly on place cards? Are the pins set in spots that will allow for a quick pace of play? Is there an adequate quantity of the proper wine glasses for the tasting? Can your team identify all members by name? Is there adequate signage to direct guests to the proper place within the club? All of these questions and more should be asked and answered before event day.
Events Create Content
Another benefit of a robust event schedule is that is provides fresh content for your club newsletter, social channels and website. To capture the content, a staff member should be assigned the task of taking photos, not only of the members and guests, but of the special details. For example, the place setting for a wine dinner, the line-up of carts or the baskets of treats to be given out during a Halloween event. Pictures are a very effective way to tell your event story so create a wish list of the images you want and need, and take plenty.
To encourage participants active on social media to post about their experience create a hashtag of your event name and include it on invitations, golf carts and tables. This will help to expand your story across all social platforms.
When appropriate, it is beneficial to consider inviting a prominent member of the media to participate in your event. For example, the food writer might be invited to a wine tasting dinner or the business editor could be invited to a speaker series session featuring a noteworthy presenter.
Successful events don’t happen by accident. They require a lot of hard work. But when done properly, events will provide members and their guests with experiences they can’t get anywhere else. When that happens, your brand becomes the talk of the town – and that will deliver prospects to your door.
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