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Florida: Not Exactly Fifty Shades of Gray

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Private Club Marketing's editorial and research is conducted in conjunction with its advisory and development team.

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If you think Florida is the land of more than fifty shades of gray, think again!

A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times reports St. Petersburg as the #1 draw for millennials in Florida with Tampa nipping at its heels as the #3 most attractive market for ages 20-34. It appears that millennials (your basic under 40 crowd) are invading Florida.

Since 2010, St. Petersburg's millennial population has increased 6 percent. Tampa, due partly to the University of South Florida, boasted a 7 percent increase in millennials; that demographic now accounts for 24 percent of its residents.

Curious as to how these statistics have had an effect on private clubs, Private Club Marketing checked in with a few clubs in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area. Here are our findings:

The East Lake Woodlands Country Club has experienced a 9% increase in all membership categories in this demographic since 2012. The most significant increase occurred in 2014 with 20 new members joining their Young Executive Golf Membership category. Meredith Doran, Membership Director, a millennial herself states that “Our Club here in the Tampa Bay area has definitely seen a growth in this area”.

The Hunter’s Green Country Club has been offering a Young Executive Golf Membership category for those under the age of 42 since 2007. In 2013, 20 new memberships were sold in this category and even more in 2014 with 33 new additions. Membership Director, Ann Pereira, believes that this number will continue to increase and they will see moderate growth this year as well. In addition, Hunter’s Green has jumped in with both feet when it comes to family-friendly with a full-time Youth Director to handle all children’s programming including after-care (picking up kids at local schools), Kids Club (supervised care), playroom, year-round camps, movie nights, parents night out, etc. To add even more value for their younger members, they have recently launched a Young Executive Committee in which the Chair is represented on the Board of the Club. This group will concentrate on planning social events like Family Karaoke, Family Bingo, cocktail parties, etc.

Brian Meador, Membership Director at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club echoes this with some outstanding figures. In 2013, 119 new members were added to the Club with 57% of them in their Young Executive Golf Membership category. They experienced an even bigger increase in 2014. 128 new members were added during this year with a whopping 70% under the age of 42. Brian attributes this increase to the fact that many young families are moving into the area that has a reputation for having some of the best schools in the state and also the incredible value of their Young Executive Golf Membership. He believes that “It is the best time in history to join a country club due to the increase in Young Executive categories at many clubs across the U.S.”

It’s not all about golf with this younger demographic. The St. Petersburg Yacht Club has an Intermediate Membership Category for the millennial ages 21-34 with a tiered monthly dues structure that brings them to full dues paying status at age 35. While there has not been significant growth in this membership category, those that have joined are active club members. An entertainment committee comprised of millennials was formed specifically to plan social events to attract younger members to the Club.

With these stats, there is no grey area about the optimistic future for private clubs in the St. Peterburg / Tampa Bay area.



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