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Idea Fair

Horse & Carriage Rides: Bringing Historic Holiday Magic

How has this idea enhanced your club's operation, etc.?

INTRODUCTION: The holiday season is important to all Michiganders and especially our members. Even in the best of times, our planning must contend with the elements. In the more difficult of times—such as a pandemic—we were forced to brainstorm for new ways to attract members to their beloved Clubhouse.

THE CHALLENGE (READ: 2020): Engaging with our members is key during what is normally our busiest time of the year. This had become more difficult with the tight COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the government. Members and staff wanted some connection—needed it. Pandemic fatigue was being acutely felt by all of us. We had to provide an opportunity for our members to enjoy their Clubhouse but still keep it safe and comfortable for all to enjoy.

THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT: And what is more special during the holidays than the traditional—the magical? Magical as in a carriage ride around the city. We see it in movies, but unless you go to New York or Chicago, the opportunity is not readily available.

How was this idea implemented, and what have been the club members' reactions?

WARM AND COZY LOGISTICS: Working with a carriage company, we organized a route that would be long enough for the experience but not too long to turn our guests into Popsicles. We also wanted to offer rides to as many members as possible. We designed the route to be around 15 minutes, plus five to 10 minutes beforehand to check in and grab a beverage and some great photos before the driver said “Tally Ho-Ho- Ho!” For the final, distinctive DAC touch, we also made sure that each carriage and horse was decorated for the holiday.

RESULTS: Within 30 minutes of the e-blast’s going out to members, every time slot was sold out with a waiting list. We quickly added a third carriage to the original two nights and then added a third night! Who knew so many families were just waiting for the opportunity to trot around the town! We had carryout available from our restaurant for members to take home afterward, then added a food truck as an option in our Pavilion at the back of the Clubhouse.

Each family was excited for the ride. As they stepped down from the carriage 20 minutes later, they all expressed gratitude that this event was added and asked whether we would be adding more. Members coming down for just The Pavilion stopped by to check whether there were openings and requested more nights, please!

“What an amazing and wonderful event to offer and thank you for adding an additional day to include us.”
“Thank you, what an awesome thing to offer.”
“Great job, thank you for calling and for putting this event together.”
“We had a blast last night!”

About the author

Tai Tran

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