High-end private clubs have a habit of playing it safe, but Soho House & Co has embraced digital marketing with the enthusiasm of a startup — helped along by forward thinking leadership from investors like Ron Burkle and Founder Nick Jones. Its digital footprint includes over 60 sites, incorporating a weekly club newsletter through its members only app and expertly curated content from staff from across the brand’s 18+ properties.
The driving force behind its digital strategy is Kris Shaw, Digital Director at Soho House & Co. Shaw had been the in-house social media manager for brands like the BBC and MTV before moving to Soho House in 2009, right in the middle of the worst of the economic recession. Shaw and his colleagues quickly moved to completely rebuild the brand’s digital presence. “When I joined Soho House in 2009 it was a clean slate, SohoHouse.com was a just a landing page with 6 logos and the business had just received significant investment, it was a great time to start to move the brand forward digitally.”
We were able to chat with the driving force behind it’s digital strategy, Kris Shaw, Digital Director at Soho House for a quick Q&A.
PCM: Would you talk a bit about your content strategy?
Our content strategy has always been to super-serve our members. Once the customer is within our member’s portal they get access to a wealth of events, videos, podcasts and great articles. Much like our physical clubs everything interesting happens behind closed doors.
PCM: How has SohoHouse.com performed for you?
SohoHouse.com is the driving force of the business digitally- but there is still a long way we could go to really maximise the return on the amount of traffic we get to the site.
Our Digital strategy has followed the many openings of Soho House & Co over the years, which means that we have a lot of our traffic siloed into different brand websites. We are looking at ways to improve the user journeys across our 60 different sites and apps to make it a much simpler experience for our customers.
PCM: When you began rethinking Soho Houses digital strategy in 2009 your digital plans probably seemed quite ambitious. How did you get buy-in across the company?
It was a collaborative effort. There was significant buy in from our senior team who all appreciated our need to launch a new members experience online. We had to take the whole company on the journey, which involved a lot of presentations explaining the vision of what we wanted to do and the change it would mean to our customers and internal processes.
PCM: What have you learned about digital in past 5 years since taking over as Digital Director?
The most significant challenge that I’ve seen for the hospitality industry over the last few years is around integrating into the multitude of third party software services that we use. It’s very difficult to present this as one unified experience to the customer.
There are very few brands that can exist without some kind of internal development team these days. Five years ago, mid size brands could still exist with their entire digital portfolio managed by an external agency, now that seems increasingly inefficient.
Contact Private Club Marketing to assist your club with its digital footprint and to increase online engagement with our creative services team. From email newsletters, to curated content and social media growth, our team of proven professional can assist your club with professional online marketing services. To learn more and to discuss your club’s needs, contact us at [email protected] or call us at (949) 743-5793.