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Here, we take on a few of the questions we hear when visiting clubs around the country.
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Q: Our club has a rich history, but we don’t showcase it very well. Is this an interest to younger and prospective members? How can we show and tell our story in interesting ways?
A: It is absolutely of interest!
The history of your club and its environs is likely part of its identity — not to be lost. Even as clubs evolve and adapt to new trends, we should be respectful of the legacies that brought them there and that make them special. Bring the history together by framing and displaying photographs and memorabilia. Showcase trophies. Ask members to contribute. It makes for great conversation pieces and can be hugely enticing to potential new members who want to share in that history.
Q: How often should we be updating our dining spaces to keep them fresh and enticing? And what are the most important and most cost-efficient things we can address to keep members coming back?
A: Dining spaces are immensely important as revenue sources for clubs — and are typically in direct competition with a plethora of dining choices outside the club. Rule of thumb: update your dining spaces at least every four to seven years, says Chambers’ Chairman and Interior Designer Bob Hickman. “If nothing else, you want to show the membership you’re being attentive to their needs,” he says. “It doesn’t always have to be a redo, but you should keep your dining spaces up to date. The minute it starts to look shabby, your members will start to look elsewhere.” Bob recommends touching up wood chairs, maintaining carpets so they don’t show traffic patterns, and refreshing linens, china and centerpieces.
Freshening also means shifting with shifts in usage. Introduce the ability to partition off sections with indoor landscaping, moveable walls, even different lighting levels for families versus adults spaces.
“The serious redo comes at about 7-8 years,” says Bob. By this point, dining spaces will be too worn to “touch up,” and you may need to even look at space reallocation based on evolving member preferences.