High-end clubs ‘afraid’ of digital and social

High-end clubs are “afraid” of digital and social marketing because opening up information about their club to a much wider audience flies in the face of the exclusive nature of private clubs, according to Zack Bates, CEO at Private Club Marketing.

Marketing is still a “nascent” discipline in the affluent private club industry, which explains why many clubs are “afraid” of the “massive beast” of digital marketing.

“I believe many clubs and their boards are afraid of adopting new media too quickly. That’s because it means accessibility of information that you previously reserved for a select few people. It was very valuable for club to have those inside stories but now it is now available for everyone that wants to look at it.

“Social media means the democratisation of information. Do you really want to do that if you’re at the top of the private club ranks? That’s a question that fundamentally a lot of clubs may not have answered for themselves.”

The luxury market, beyond private country clubs, for products such as high end watches, the issue of adopting digital and social media is even more challenging, and warns marketers in these categories against using digital marketing for the sake of it.

“I wouldn’t immediately say ‘go digital, go social’. I’d be very careful to think through why you’re doing it and what purpose it serves before you go and do it,” he says.

Are Millennials the Silver Lining?

If there is a bright side to the enduring economic recession that, for now, seems to be receding, it is the degree to which club owners and operators have learned the importance of paying attention to the evolving preferences of Members and guests. The pressures of the recession reinforced that no demographic can be ignored, and that old, misconceptions must be cast aside in the harsh light of new realities.

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Internal Club Branding

We spend weeks, sometimes months, developing our “marketing strategies.” Examining and monitoring our members and incoming prospects. Who are the new members we’ve brought in over the last 12 months and where are they coming from? How are they enjoying the club? What is their usage? Are they bringing in the guests that could potentially become new members themselves? These internal reports are invaluable to the growth of our prospect list and retention of our membership.

However, there is an area that is almost always forgotten in the planning phase of our new year strategy or the restructuring of the previous year’s concept: training staff to understand and reflect our message and brand.

The truth is, branding starts from the inside out. Do your employees believe in your product and the services that you offer? Are they standing 100% behind you in the mission of your brand? Are they living your brand? It is important that your employees are informed and involved in the new initiatives and strategies that take place within your club.

I recently attended a presentation for sales and marketing professionals where the participants were asked to raise their hands if they thought their business would not be around in the next 15 years. Nearly half the room raised their hands! Fifty percent of those business’ brand managers didn’t believe their own message. Now you can imagine that this can only trickle down through the staff culture. If your staff is unable or unwilling to support your marketing efforts, it can have detrimental results. How do you begin an internal branding campaign within your company?

  • Step 1: Synchronize Your Brand Personality, Values and Corporate Culture
    Your marketing team should be working closely with your Human Resources team to ensure that the common values of your company internally and externally are in sync. At your upcoming staff meetings, play quiz games about the history of your club, upcoming events and who the new members are.
  • Step 2: Get Your Employees Behind Your Brand
    Align your criteria for recruiting and rewarding employees with the criteria of the brand value. Look for the right skills and aptitudes that will represent your brand promise effectively. Sometimes the best incentives are recognition. When I was a member relations director at ClubCorp we had a recognition program called “STAR Card.” The Members were encouraged to recognize the staff with these cards when they went above and beyond. Rewards were given to those employees based on a point system for each card they received.
  • Step 3: Reinforce and Repeatedly Explain Brand Values and Behaviors
    Use your internal communication to reinforce and explain the values and behaviors that reflect your brand promise. Your employee newsletter should be similar to your member newsletter, recognize those who are excelling, new hires, new members, promote upcoming events and then quiz random employees about the content in their newsletters. Continuously do this until it becomes second nature.

If you thought the process of involving your staff was not important, take into account that your employees meet, greet, and assist your members in many different ways. They are the face of your brand. Engage your staff right from the start and encourage individual input. Use your staff as a focus group – after all who knows your clientele better than they do? By doing this, you will not only get support from your staff but you will be given insight and ideas that you otherwise may not have considered.

Private Club Social Media Policy

Just thinking about writing a social media policy makes us cringe. It's one of those tasks that membership and club managers know should be a priority but will find any excuse to avoid. And yet for all the procrastinating, it's not that difficult a task. To help, here are a few things to consider when writing your policy.

Why do you need a social media policy?

Given the explosive popularity of social networking, it's likely your employees are already actively engaging. Considering the public nature of social media and the rapid-fire speed at which information can spread, without proper guidelines in place your Club is exposed to risks. These risks range from employees “social NOTworking” on company time to an employee posting offensive content that causes serious damage to your Club's reputation.

By providing clear guidelines on what's appropriate and what's not appropriate, a social media policy will help mitigate risks and contain fallout in the event of a breach of conduct or a full-on crisis.

Equally important, a social media policy will help mobilize some of your greatest advocates: your employees and members. Everyone at your club has a role in shaping your reputation, and the more voices sharing relevant content about your golf course, tennis facilities, dining room, spa, fitness center, events, etc. the greater your reach. The policy should encourage staff to support your social media activities rather than discourage them for fear of breaking rules.

Request Our Sample Social Media Policy

 

Related Articles:

Social Media Policies…
Why Employers Must Consider Implementing Them
by Andrew W. Singer, Esq. and Jason B. Klimpl, Esq.

 

Chartwell Golf and Country Club revamps Member Newsletter


Chartwell Golf and Country Club and Private Club Marketing recently released the redesigned members newsletter, the Chartwell Chatter. The new edition includes a streamlined and modern look, featured member photos from events and is shared online with its membership.

“This has been on my wish list for years.  I know it had been discussed several times at the Past President's Dinners also.  The format and presentation was easy to read and follow.”

chartwell club newsletter designThe new Chatter gained an amazing 128% increase in membership views. From an average 125 online visitors per issue to 285 of the new Chatter in just 2 weeks of being released.

Click Here to learn more about custom newsletter design and coordination by Private Club Marketing.

Swim Team and Lessons

Nothing makes marketing your upcoming event easier than ordering from Private Club Marketing. Save time and money by not spending hours looking for the right image(s) to convey your next event. Use the Request Form below to tell us your:

  • Event Title
  • Event Date & Time
  • Price
  • Marketing Verbiage
  • RSVP

We'll input the verbiage into the marketing for you and email you a proof to approve within a day or so. If there are changes, just let us know and we'll update and send back.

Each template marketing piece will be sized for…

  • 24″ x 36″ Poster
  • 8.5″ x 11″ Flier
  • 600px Web Flier – perfect for emailing and posting on your website

Need it Printed? Please let us know how many Poster and Fliers you will need (we do allow you to print in-house or through a preferred printer of your Club's choice.) | Print pricing |