The Future of the #ClubIndustry is in the Recruitment of Young Families

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Establishing your club as family-friendly is vital to enticing younger generations and to boost the satisfaction of current Millennial and Generation X members. From a sales perspective, there stands an opportunity to bring in new members using the tools of kid-friendly, high-quality family programs and activities. When parents look online for fun lessons or activities for their children and your club offerings pop up, that will most likely ignite an overall interest in your property. What's more, members’ guests can see if they like your club when they accompany members to events like movie night, campout in the driving range, petting zoo, a pool party or holiday events; like gingerbread house decorating, an egg hunt, or fireworks. In turn, the guests might join your club, especially if their children are friends with yours.

Also, the more family-friendly activities you have, the more likely you are to have a higher rate of participation in club events. For example, couples are more likely to partake in adult events at the club, if they can bring their kids along with them for a family activity. Many clubs have also added the perk of childcare services as we did with the creation of our “Fun Fort Room”. Not only will you keep your activity list popular and competitive, your members’ children will want to go the club, which in turn increases their parents’ attendance. Special rooms with babysitting, kid friendly food, video games, movie screens, and other activities have become extremely popular.

Family Friendly Programs
Happy, memorable experiences for members and their families are key to the future of your club. Consistent, long-term family-friendly programming will make your club standout. The most popular kid’s programs in country clubs are sailing, tennis, swimming, and golf, but many clubs also offer a junior golf or family tennis socials— some even have a children’s center. You can also offer activities throughout the year like kids’ nights and holiday parties. Another popular program for children is Summer Camp, either managed in-house or outsourced.

Multigenerational Programs
Your club should organize family-oriented programs and events where kids are welcome. However, you must satisfy the needs of your current members. The diversity of a multi-generational membership base is a positive thing for a club and should be looked on in that manner. Clubs today must deliver multi‐generational programming, events, menu items, and experiences not only for children and families but also your older members. After all, there is a risk versus rewards factor if your club doesn’t offer the best of both worlds.

Older Folks and Kids
Which brings us to the dilemma of becoming kid-friendly when the more grown-up members don't like seeing children in the club. When members make statements to you that imply they don’t like kids in the club, politely remind them they most likely won’t be attending the same events the children will be participating in such as kid activities, and family events. For instance, many retired members come to the club on Friday nights, whereas families usually come on weekend afternoons. I recently sent an email to my members that we just added a “Family Room” that families with young children can use and it was received with a huge success.

With kids in the club, it is likely, almost certain, that general managers will sometimes have to deal with complaints of unruly children. If parents are just dropping kids off at the club, unsupervised, there will be tension between members. With the diversity of the membership and having club activities accommodating all types of members and guests, it is important that members realize they are fully responsible for their kids’ behavior.

It should be made clear to the parents when children should be accompanied by an adult. Clubs need to ensure that the rules list specific ages, for example,” children under the age of 12, must be accompanied and be supervised by a parent or responsible person at least 18 years of age whenever on club property”. And rules like these must be upheld in all areas: the clubhouse, golf, tennis, pool, and fitness. Members must comply and conduct behavior accordingly and families are included in that. Also, learning to follow rules is beneficial to children as it genuinely instills respect in them and they learn how to behave and interact with adults at an early age.

Frank H. Benzakour, CCM, CCE, has had a more than 25-year career within the club industry. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi University and a MBA from Cornell University-College of Business in Business Management. Frank has managed several country clubs in the tristate area and has a focus and passion for providing best in class customer service. Frank enjoys spending some quality time with his wife Christina and two sons Adam & Ryan.

Posted by Will Flourance at 10/16/2018 12:26:10 PM |