Member retention always plays second fiddle to new membership sales. But it shouldn’t. It is just as important.
Of course, new membership sales are the lifeblood of a club. However, even at the most successful and popular golf and country clubs annual attrition is at least 3%. And it is sometimes as high as 10%.
So how do you keep attrition as low as possible? There are three highly effective ways to do this.
1. A BIG WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Develop an onboarding and orientation process that connects them to the club from day one. This is usually an official welcoming meeting with the Director of Membership who explains everything they need to know about their new club. And everything there is to do and how to do it.
Part of this process is implementing a 30, 60 and 90 day concentrated effort of follow up from the club’s department heads to create meaningful engagement in the club. This could include a golf lesson from the head professional, coffee with the General Manager, a newcomers breakfast, emails from the staff, etc.
2. ENGAGE THEM
Offer a multitude of year round activities and experiences that add value to their membership. The club should be their first choice for fun and options of how to spend their time and money.
In addition to great amenities at our clubs, Bobby Jones Links has a 300 plus list of proven events, activities, tournaments, etc., to offer our members. The programs must be diverse. Many are clubs within the club. Equally important, introduce them to other members and families with similar interests for them to join in all these offerings.
3. IDENTIFY AT RISK MEMBERS
The Membership Director should review weekly the usage patterns of the members. Who is using the club? More importantly, who is not?
For those whose participation is poor and infrequent, red flag them. Assign a department head who would be best to connect with them who in turn invites the at risk member to the club and enjoy it with them. Quite often we ask for fellow members to assist us in this endeavor. The goal is reengagement and reconnection to the club and their fellow members.
These are pretty high level and all have a much deeper process and implementation, yet they are the key to combating attrition.
This business of member retention is pretty simple, actually. Help them get them onboarded and connected, offer great programs, and if somehow they do go quiet, re-engage them.
The principals of Bobby Jones Links own the company - we are not driven by investor expectations and pressures. Our balance sheet is strong.
As a result, we don’t leverage our operational leadership across too many clubs. And unlike many companies in our business, we don’t require long term management agreements with large breakup fees. If you like what we do, you’ll keep us. For more than two decades our clients have renewed our management services more than any other company.