Know Your NPS to Build Brand Loyalty & Member Referrals

In our work with clients across the globe, our research reveals that member referrals are the most important means of generating a steady stream of new prospects, which is probably not surprising.  After all, the cost is nominal and you can be assured that members are going to invite prospects with a shared passion for the lifestyle provided by your club.

The most effective method to gain member referrals is to ask for them. But before you do, it is critical to understand your NPS – or Net Promoter Score – to determine the response you will receive.

NPS is an extremely valuable market research metric that is widely used across industries and can be leveraged to measure customer perceptions of a brand and estimate future growth, as evidenced by the potential for repurchase or referral to other consumers.

NPS Is Not the Same as Member Satisfaction

Member NPS is not the same as your members’ overall satisfaction with their club experience.  NPS asks about the likelihood of recommending or referring the club to others while overall satisfaction asks about contentment with their experience.

In short, NPS is future-looking and overall satisfaction is backward-facing.

NPS Is Simple to Implement

NPS, originally a proprietary instrument used by Bain & Company, is now used by two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 companies as a basic measurement of customer sentiment.

The popularity and broad use of NPS is often attributed to its simplicity and transparency of use.  It is a survey question which asks, “How likely are you to recommend [brand, product, service, company, or organization] to a friend or associate?” The question is designed to provide responses which are easy to interpret and track over time in trend analysis.

NPS generates valuable customer insights and is typically used and interpreted as an indicator of customer loyalty.  This information is invaluable for business and community leaders who are responsible for measuring and managing revenue retention, customer retention, new business growth, or overall consumer satisfaction.

Despite the ubiquity of NPS among leading companies in major industries, the adoption and consistent application of this metric within the club industry remains limited.

A recent GGA Partners research survey of more than 500 club leaders (A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends & Challenges) found that just 14% of clubs track member NPS in their surveys.  Among clubs that employ this metric, the average NPS is +64.  Additional feedback from the survey found that one-third of clubs reported an increase in their NPS during the pandemic, a positive statistic for future member growth.

Calculating Your NPS

The NPS question is asked on a scale ranging from 0 to 10, with 0 representing “Not at all likely” and 10 representing “Extremely likely”.  Based on the number selected, respondents are subdivided into one of three categories: those with ratings of 9 or 10 are classified as “Promoters”, those with ratings of 7 or 8 are marked as “Passives”, and those with ratings of 6 or less are categorized as “Detractors”.

The actual “score” is calculated by subtracting the portion of detractors from the portion of promoters without factoring in the portion of passives.  True NPS is always shown as an integer and not a percentage and, with the net score falling within a scale ranging from -100 to +100, it is possible to have a negative NPS.

Keys To Developing & Tracking Your NPS

1. Keep the NPS question consistent – Avoid altering the question (“How likely are you to recommend [your club] to a friend or associate?”) or the answer range (from 0 = “Not at all likely” to 10 = “Extremely likely”) as it will impact the validity and reliability of the data.

2. Ask for NPS alongside a handful of supporting questions – NPS is most valuable when supported by other overarching questions which generate datapoints on overall satisfaction, perceived value-for-money, and demographic questions (to stratify responses and dive deep into feedback by membership subsets).

3. Keep it brief – A survey with these three questions (NPS, overall satisfaction, value-for-money) and four or five demographic questions should take about 3-4 minutes for respondents to complete. Shorter is better for these types of surveys.

4. Measure NPS routinely – At a minimum, your NPS metrics should be tracked and updated annually to identify changes in the sentiments of your members. Whether they are rising or falling, understanding the factors impacting changes in your trend line will provide valuable insight into areas where the club is excelling as well as areas that need improvement.

If your club aims to be truly attentive to overall satisfaction, member loyalty, member and customer retention, or using member referrals to support membership growth, leaders of the club should be monitoring NPS as a matter of routine.  If this acronym isn’t surfacing in boardroom discussions, it should be.

While no one can predict the future, a clear understanding of your NPS will provide a data-driven indication of members’ loyalty to your club’s brand and the success you will have when asking your members for referrals.

Speaking the New Language of Brands

GGA Partners Releases New Whitepaper on Private Club Branding as Part of Thought Leadership Series

‘Speaking the New Language of Brands’ Now Available for Download

TORONTO, Ontario – International consulting firm GGA Partners has released Speaking the New Language of Brands, the second in its new series of thought leadership whitepapers.  This authoritative guide redefines a traditional brand value equation and illustrates how adding emotion and experience to a private club’s brand story will increase its value with members.

Speaking the New Language of Brands highlights ways iconic “mega-brands” mold, define, and advance their organizational identity toward the goal of influencing consumer purchasing decisions.  The paper evaluates a traditional outlook on the brand value equation and asserts a redefinition which paves the way to enhanced value perceptions among private club members.

“Traditionally, the key to building value in the eyes of the consumer has been demonstrated in a simple equation, where perceived value is equal to performance divided by price,” explained Henry DeLozier, one of several authors of the piece. “We believe there is a far more effective – and cost efficient – way to increase the value members place in your club and in your brand. It’s by introducing emotion and experience into the equation.”

In addition, the whitepaper argues that a successful branding program is based on the idea of “singularity” and should be designed with differentiation as the primary goal.  “Harkening to the days of the Old West, a branding program should differentiate your cow from all of the other cattle on the range,” said DeLozier.  In other words, creating in the mind of a member or prospective member the belief that there is no other club on the market quite like your club.

Building a brand is easier said than done.  For club managers not familiar with the brand development process, the whitepaper explains six essential steps for clubs to follow when constructing their brand and draws on examples from inside and outside the private club business.

In addition to branding, GGA Partners recently published a new strategic planning whitepaper and has confirmed that others in the series focused on governance and innovation will be published through the third quarter of 2020.

Click here to download the whitepaper


About GGA Partners

GGA Partners™ is an international consulting firm and trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful golf courses, private clubs, resorts, and residential communities.  We are dedicated to helping owners, asset managers, club and community leaders, investors and real estate developers tackle challenges, achieve objectives, and maximize asset performance.

Established in 1992 as the KPMG Golf Industry Practice, our global team of experienced professionals leverage in-depth business intelligence and proprietary global data to deliver impactful strategic solutions and lasting success. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Bennett DeLozier
GGA Partners

What’s Important to Know About Recruiting Millennials to Join the Club?

Occam’s Razor is the work of a Franciscan friar and theologian, William of Ockham, who reasoned that itis better to keep things simple when attempting to understand complicated ideas.  This is good advice for club directors and managers when trying to plan ahead.

The confusion begins in answering, “What do they want?” As club leaders’ eyes have turned from generation X to the millennial generation, a good source for answers can be found from Kris Hart, the co-founder and CEO of Nextgen Golf, whose motto is “Live Life.  Play Golf.”

Hart emphasizes two basic needs that clubs meet for millennials: flexibility and community.

“Millennials are often on the move and need flexibility for when they can play.  More importantly, having flexible membership costs and initiation fees are an important factor for millennials when joining a club,” says Hart.  “Some may not stay in one city for a long time, paying up-front costs are less attractive.”

According to Hart, millennials need to be part of something.  “Clubs that have younger members and a good community around the club are attractive.  Millennials rely heavily on recommendations from family and friends and want to hang out with people like them.”

Now the largest market segment in America, the millennial generation has high expectations, in general.  “Millennials expect to be treated the same as a full adult member and do not want to be restricted or looked down upon as a young adult member.” Hart advises.

And first impressions are important! According to Hart, “Technology expectations are continuing to increase.  The club’s digital presence and online reputation has become much more meaningful given millennials can go right to google and research everything about a club in a matter of seconds.”

Health and wellness are imperative for this generation.  Clubs that have gyms, fitness classes and embrace the health and wellness movement will be better prepared for this generation.

Millennials are getting married and having kids later in life than previous generations.  As Millennials continue to age, family-focused clubs are increasingly more important, Hart stresses.

Keep it simple if your club wants to attract millennial members.

This piece was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for the National Club Association’s Club Director quarterly magazine.  

Will Millennials Save Golf?

A few years ago, Time magazine published an exhaustive look at millennials titled “The Me, Me, Me Generation.”  The story took some shots at a generation characterized as “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents,” but concluded that the world’s 80 million 18- to 34-year-olds will “save us all.”

Global Golf Advisors has done extensive research into what makes millennials tick – especially from a golf perspective – aimed at answering this question: “Will they also save golf?”

Their numbers portend their potential.  Millennials are responsible for the majority of purchases of everything from groceries to automobiles.  They’re also beginning to settle down, with careers, homes and kids of their own.  As they do, their global spending power is estimated in excess of $600 billion a year.

There are about 6.4 million millennial golfers, according to the National Golf Foundation.  That’s more than any golf cohort, other than 6.8 million Gen Xers, whose birth years are generally considered 1965 to 1984.  By contrast, there are 5.4 million baby boomers, once thought to be golf’s saviors, but now on the back nine of their golfing careers.  Here’s what else we know about millennials:

  • They are the first generation of tech natives. They practically teethed on their PCs, tablets and smartphones.  They love their phones, but hate talking on them.
  • They crave new experiences, even more than material goods.
  • They need to feel like what they’re doing is important.
  • They aren’t as willing as former generations to sacrifice their personal life to advance their careers.
  • They’re heavily influenced by product reviews, Q&A’s and photos posted by other consumers.

But what will it take to turn their potential into our reality?  Global Golf Advisors teamed up with Nextgengolf to survey millennial golfers across the U.S. Here’s what we learned:

The No. 1 reason millennials play golf is to hang out with friends.  That’s closely followed by enjoying being outdoors and athletic competition.  Interesting, business-related reasons, such as growing their network, were last on their list.  They just want to have fun.

The millennials in the survey who play at daily fee courses are frugal.  Slightly more than 80 percent want to spend $50 or less on a round of golf.  Sixty percent typically spend between $25 and $50.

Three-quarters of millennials will consider joining a private club in the future.  Twelve percent are already a private club member.  Nearly half of participating millennials plan on joining a private club within the next three to 10 years.

Factors influencing their decision to join a club also show the importance of the social side of the club experience.  The most important factor that influences a membership decision is a recommendation.  Eighty-three percent of survey respondents said encouragement from a friend, colleague or family member might cause them to join a club.  These are folks who are accustomed to reading reviews and acting on the recommendation of others.  The second most influential factor was a positive experience while attending a tournament or special event at the club.

For most, though, golf is not enough of a draw to join a club.  You must remember: millennials are social animals.  Many are involved in as many as 10 recreational activities.  That’s why a workout center, for example, is a valuable investment for clubs and golf facilities that want to increase their appeal to millennials.

Millennials like options and flexibility, and that characteristic was borne out in the portion of the survey focusing on entrance fees and dues.  Forty-one percent of millennials would prefer to pay more annually than pay an entrance fee to join a private club.  Approximately half said they would prefer an annual fee of $3,000 or less to belong to a club.

The challenge for clubs?  To create an environment that not only appeals to the new wave, but also one where members of all generations can co-exist.

This piece was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry Magazine.