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As the old saying goes, spring is a time for new beginnings. Whether your private club is diving into the busy season or taking a breather while the snow birds are away, spring is the ideal moment to begin considering the areas where your club is succeeding – and where it’s not. After all, renewal and improvement can’t happen without acknowledging what you could be doing better!
Any time is a good time to plan for the constant shifts in the private club industry – but spring is particularly special because it is a period of transition. What you should be doing to take your private club to the next level during this vital time depends largely on your location and the natural rhythms of your target market.
It is time to start taking notes! You may be too preoccupied with day-to-day operations to start acting on improvements now, but meeting your membership’s expectations should always be on your mind. Take a few minutes out of your weekly or monthly management meetings to review your facility needs just as you would review your monthly financials. Gathering this critical information while it is fresh on your mind will make it significantly easier to consider planning and budgets in the following years.
This is also a great time to take note of which facilities need updating. Your facilities are utilized the most during the spring and summer and therefore experience the most wear and tear during this time. Pay close attention to which facilities and systems are serving their purpose and which have seen better days. When it comes to facilities, there is one surefire sign that change is needed: If it is starting to negatively affect the member experience. In fact, if you are noticing the impact now, then the problem should have been addressed last season. While it’s always best to take a preventative approach to problems, it’s also never too late to improve the member experience!
The bustling spring season is also the ideal time for showcasing your club to prospective members. Ensure that you’re implementing quality social programs, delivering impeccable service, and keeping your facilities well-maintained. This fatal combination will transform your current members into “raving fans” that will want to show the club off to all their friends – and hopefully encourage them to join as well.
With the on-season well under way, it is much more difficult to slow down and take a look at the big picture. Now that the snow birds have gone home and you have a moment to breathe, it is the time to rejuvenate!
Take a moment to pause and reflect on the past few months. Consider what worked well, as well as the issues that you, your team, and your membership ran into with programs, services, or facilities. Also take inventory of any suggestions or desires that members expressed throughout the season. Now is the time to prioritize the club’s needs and wants. Think about what facilities need improvement, renovation, or redecoration to better meet the changing needs of your current and future membership. Contemplate how you can improve operational efficiencies to supply your members with a better experience – then begin setting your plans in motion. When you’re finally finished with the busy season, it’s far too easy to stave off improvements until “tomorrow.”
Didn’t consider your needs during the winter months? No problem. There’s no better time than the present to plan for your club. Use this down time to gather your thoughts and set tangible goals for the next season and even the season after that. Whether it’s taking the initiative to create a strategic plan or simply making a list of goals in a spare notebook – anything is better than nothing!
While the prime time for showcasing your club to potential members is when the season is in full swing, it is important not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Do not lean solely on one or two big programs held during the busy season. Utilize charity events, smaller social programs, and the knowledge of your staff to rope in new members year ‘round. You should also tap into the excitement of brand new members who are more likely to approach the recruitment process with enthusiasm and introduce their social networks to club life.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Northern club plunging into the busy season, a Southern club recovering after the winter rush, or a Western club with year ‘round activity. It’s about recognizing where you currently stand – with your members, with the community, with your club’s financing – and using these circumstances to your advantage in the future. Be proactive and execute initiatives with intention.
If you proactively plan for the challenges to come, you’ll already be placing your club ahead of competitors and, more importantly, giving your members what they need to have an outstanding experience.