To keep your private club in the green, you need to focus on retaining members—and that means management needs to have an in-depth understanding of member satisfaction across the board.
As any club manager knows, member dues account for the vast majority of annual revenue. In fact, club industry data shows that dues revenue makes up roughly 80% of the money clubs use to support operations regardless of size or geographic location.
Additionally, private clubs are well aware of the numbers when it comes to member turnover. On average, attrition rates for golf and country clubs hover around 6% to 8%, while city and yacht clubs can be as high as 12% to 14%.
That being said, it’s important to invest in creating valuable member experiences. The best way to start measuring how satisfied your members are today is by going straight to the source.
Club management should find every opportunity to gather, record, and report on the member experience. Quality private club management software gives users a simple, effective way to deploy and record member satisfaction assessments digitally. Using SMS, email, or on-site mobile applications, you can develop a simple (or advanced) satisfaction survey to assess your members’ club experience.
Utilize a comprehensive club management system to design and deploy member surveys digitally. This will allow you to maintain more comprehensive member data to better identify areas of strength and opportunity. Additionally, you’ll be able to easily pull aggregate data to explain largescale trends in member satisfaction to the board.
Interested in finding out how satisfied—or dissatisfied—your members are with their club experience? In your next assessment, consider using some of the following questions to determine how your members feel about the different areas of your private club:
If you’ve been effectively maintaining membership records using your club management platform, you should have this information already, but this is a simple way to frame the member’s responses for the rest of the assessment. For example, a 10-year member may have a very different experience from a first-year member.
These basic background questions can also help you collect important aggregate data at the close of the survey. For example, being able to find average membership lifespans can help you determine the best way to retain members going forward.
- When did you become a member of our organization?
- How did you hear about our private club?
- Are you planning on renewing your membership next year?
- How likely are you to recommend our club to someone you know?
- What club amenities do you use most frequently?
- On average, how many days a week do you visit the club?
Private golf clubs need more than an exceptional golf course—they need to create exceptional golf experiences. Beyond the course itself, members need to feel satisfied with the facilities, the clubhouse, and the service.
From the moment they pull up to the pro shop, your members should feel catered to with personalized, prompt service. Your staff should use specific tools and tactics to create an efficient, effective experience both on and off the course for every member and guest.
In addition to determining the quality of your member experience, these assessments can help prioritize problems areas on each particular course. As you know, golf course maintenance is no small feat with the average 18-hole course measuring more than 70 football fields. Gaining member perspectives on the quality of the course can help you determine where to focus the most attention and how to delegate man-hours.
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your golf experience overall?
- How often do you golf at our club?
- Less than once a month
- 1–3 times a month
- 1–2 times a week
- 3–5 times a week
- 5+ times a week
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your pro shop experience overall?
- On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with our mobile point-of-sale system?
- On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with the variety and quality of products in the pro shop?
- Were your clubs ready for you on arrival?
- Did a staff member direct you to the practice ring or driving range prior to your tee time?
- Was the practice ring well-maintained?
- Was the driving range prepared properly?
- Was your cart in good condition (if applicable)?
- Did you start your round precisely on your scheduled tee time?
- Did you experience a satisfactory pace of play on the course?
- Did any particular holes stand out as under-maintained? (Please list and explain.)
- Were cleaning stations appropriately distributed throughout the course and well-maintained?
- Was a beverage cart attendant available as needed? Did they arrive in a timely manner?
- Were the bunkers raked and well-maintained?
- Were the greens trimmed and well-maintained?
- Was the fairway mowed and well-maintained?
- Was the rough mowed and well-maintained?
- Was the rate of play maintained at a good pace?
- On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied were you with the cleanliness of the locker rooms?
- On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied were you with the complimentary toiletries in the locker rooms?
- Did the showers provide an adequate amount and degree of hot water?
- Did the showers provide adequate water pressure?
- Was the locker room properly stocked with towels, toiletries, and other shower supplies?
- Did you feel your personal items were secured to your satisfaction?
FOOD & BEVERAGE EXPERIENCE
Club dining operations continue to be the most popular member amenity at private clubs, and unlike traditional restaurants, members require a higher level of care from your team. Members expect a quality dining experience with exceptionally personalized service—far more than the average dining experience in an off-site restaurant.
Club management needs to consider how they can maximize engagement and support in every single F&B outlet: the formal dining room, the casual dining room, the clubhouse, the grill, and the halfway house on the course. This is no small feat, especially considering the unique challenges private club F&B outlets face compared to traditional restaurants.
Unlike other dining establishments, private clubs face the following disadvantages: investment in your members’ favorite long-term staff, serving a limited customer base, and budgeting for a range of member amenities beyond F&B.
Regardless, private clubs can overcome those obstacles by delivering top-quality service. The best way to determine whether or not your staff is succeeding in doing so is by going straight to the source and asking your members directly either immediately after dining or in your regularly scheduled member assessment.
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your dining experience overall?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the variety and quality of the regular menu?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the variety and schedule of dining specials?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the variety and schedule of drink specials?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the ambiance of the dining area?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate the cleanliness of the dining area?
- How often do you dine at the clubhouse? (Note: This question can apply to each F&B outlet.)
- Upon arrival, did staff greet you personally and appropriately?
- Were staff dressed properly in uniform attire?
- Were you shown to your table in a timely manner?
- Do you have a preferred seating area, and if so, were you seated there?
- Was your order taking in a timely, efficient manner?
- Were you offered any wine pairing recommendations based on your order?
- Was your meal brought out in a timely manner?
- If you included special instructions when placing your order, were they met?
- If you could improve any aspect of your dining experience, what would it be?
Member events are an important element of the private club experience—and from a budgetary perspective, they’re an important area to focus on when evaluating member experience. The more subsidized members-only events you host, the greater the dues subsidy. If you want to retain members, it’s important to show that you’re allocating funds for an enjoyable, worthwhile experience.
Additionally, if your private club offers on-site banquets and events to non-members, you can use an automated follow-up survey to assess their experience. This can be an invaluable opportunity to identify potential members and encourage them to join your club.
- How often do you attend on-site club events?
- When was the last special event you attended at the club?
- Did you bring any non-member guests to the last event you attended? If so, how many?
- What types of events would you like to see more of?
- What types of events would you like to see less of?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your experience overall?
- Was this the first event you’ve attended at [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE]?
- How did you hear about [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE]?
- Do you know any members of [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE]? If so, please provide their first and last name.
- Would you consider [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE] as a potential venue for future events?
- Are you interested in potentially becoming a member of [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE]?
Today’s private club members expect more than an exceptional on-site experience—they also want an exceptional online experience. Delivering a seamless online experience will create better offline experiences for members, allowing you to increase member engagement and interaction.
When you’re conducting a member assessment, be sure to include questions around their online experience with your private club. Not only will you gauge how effective your online engagement tactics are for existing members, but will also help you determine whether your online presence is appealing to potential future members.
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your online experience overall?
- On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with our online reservation booking system?
- How often do you visit your private member portal?
- What content do you find the most valuable in the member portal?
- Do you regularly read [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE] content online?
- What content do you find the most valuable in the member portal?
- Do you feel we send you too many emails? Too few emails?
- Do you follow [INSERT CLUB NAME HERE] on social media?
Member-facing technology is one of the most impactful private club trends in the industry today. Members want more ways to stay connected to their clubs online and on-site, and integrated private club solutions are an increasingly popular option for clubs focusing on member retention.
Interested in creating better online and offline experiences for both members and management? Learn more about our all-in-one club management platform. We developed our full suite of applications to help management give members exceptional club experiences.