- Posted by The CorkGuru
Differentiate. Retain. Grow.
These three missions work together to provide a sound foundation for any successful country club. In today’s market it is important not only to continue to build value within your core areas but also to differentiate your club. Meeting and exceeding expectations allows you to retain current members. A membership that is engaged will spend more of their discretionary time and money at your club and will become net promoters. The resulting atmosphere will be energized and will create a successful gateway to grow your membership.
In networking with country club managers and board presidents, we have found that, among many important topics, the conversation in their boardrooms consistently turns to two primary themes:
- “The core features of our club are exceptional but net growth of the membership community is staying the same. Attrition due to professional transfers and an aging population offsets new members”. Without net membership growth, capital enhancements are being postponed or, in the worse cases, assessments are being levied.
- “The social environment of our club is both energetic and engaging, but our current club members have a wide variety of options for their discretionary time and money”. People are working longer hours there are more places than ever to network. Fierce competition for membership leisure time results in lost member opportunities and, therefore, lowers revenue.
The Odds Are in Your Favor
The population demographics are more favorable now than ever for building a stronger membership. Statics show that most people join a club between the ages of 36 and 50 and in the United States there are more people in this age category than there has ever been. This is a generation of potential club members that have many options for their discretionary time and money but they are ready to invest in a membership that delivers value.
Savvy club managers understand that customer service is an important component for creating a culture of membership loyalty but these key questions remain:
How do we increase value over the club’s core assets?
How to we stimulate usage of the club’s facilities?
How do we attract new members and continue to exceed the expectations of our current members?
Our Answer: drive your wine program toward the excellence already found in the core areas of your club! There is no shortage of people who are drinking wine; in fact, it may be surprising to learn that 1 in 4 people in the United States is considered a “core” wine drinker meaning that they drink wine on a fairly consistent basis. This group of “core” wine drinkers is a thirsty bunch; last year alone they consumed a staggering 162 million cases of wine sold off-premise.
Build a wine program to cater to this established collection of wine lovers and you will improve your club’s bottom line!
Develop a Wine Society
A wine society is a cost effective way to create a sense of community inside of your club. It is an easy way for bringing like-minded people together to share a passion. Create a wine society and you will not only encourage increased club usage but you will pave the way for new friendships within the club.
As members discover they have a mutual interest in wine, more relationships will form among the members. As relationships form, members will not only be inclined to spend more leisure time at the club but they will also be more likely to maintain an active membership at the club. Members, in turn, will also become active recruiters of potential new members who share a love for wine.
Create a Wine Society Locker Service
Does your country club have extra bin storage available in your wine cellar? Or, is there an unused space in the facility that could be converted to a wine cellar? If so, establish a private locker service for your wine society members.
Wine lockers allow your members to store a private collection of wine at your club. This is a great differentiator for your club, as members will have access to personal wines they may want to share with other members, potential members or guests.
To complement your wine lockers, create a superior level of service that not only allows the member to store their wines on-site but also provides the member with a customized, private menu of wines available in their private locker. Your staff can do some simple research on each of the client’s locker wines and provide details such as winemaker’s notes, label images and professional ratings.
Create Focused Wine Events
Wine events are fun and can target audiences ranging from the most seasoned connoisseur to members who are looking to broaden their experience. If you can cater to a wide variety of audiences, you will draw your regular customers into the club more often and you will give the rest of the membership a new reason to visit the club.
Wine Flights A tasting flight includes a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, and is offered for the purpose of sampling and comparison. This is a great way to encourage a member with limited wine experience to explore different wines.
Vertical and Horizontal Wine Tastings A vertical tasting offers a selection of vintages of the same varietal from the same vineyard. A horizontal tasting offers wines from the same vintage but from different winery keeping the varietal or wine region constant. This event will draw the novice and the connoisseur alike.
If your club has a wine cellar, why not leverage the space and hold a tasting in the cellar? It can provide a casual and relaxed venue that invites membership interaction.
Wine Dinners Wine dinners are another great way to encourage your members to explore new wines. Wine dinners can be vintner or retailer hosted and can be entertaining as well as educational. Professionals familiar with the featured wine can provide interesting stories about the vineyard, varietal and or vintage. Themed wine dinners, such as “a taste of Tuscany” or “dinner in Paris” will encourage members to visit the club for a fun evening of fine dining paired with wines that may broaden their scope of experience.
Invest in an iPad-based Wine Menu Software Solution
It could be a great differentiator that will save you time and money associated with printing menus and compiling inventory reports. The fact is, you can leverage this technology and use it to your advantage. The iPad is intuitive, sleek and it provides a visual experience with label art displays and engaging menus that are easy to filter and navigate. A wine menu software system is always up to date, hiding information about wines that are sold out.
A great wine menu software solution will also provide you with the ability to display private locker inventory. Imagine bringing an iPad-based menu to your wine locker client. The menu will show only that client’s wines in an intuitive format and will display quantities, wine labels and wine descriptions along with the standard vintage and region information. Your locker clients and their guests will be delighted at the personalize service offered by your club.
Achieve Healthy Growth
Give your members more reasons to want to use your club and you will ensure the continued and long-term use of your facility that will translate to healthy growth. More member activity will be followed by increased membership, both of which will work to fund the capital improvements that allow your club to remain exceptional.