As a private community, one of the most important goals of your offering is creating community. A place where members and residents can congregate, socialize, and experience opportunities that they would not be able to do anywhere else.
A strong sense of community increases member satisfaction, thereby having a positive effect on retention, rates, and new member recruitment. If we all know the critical value that a sense of community brings to your property, then why do we not have a more comprehensive effort to build it? Not only in the form of better programming and events, but in the robust marketing of these events? Let’s look at three critical factors needed to create well-attended, unforgettable events at your property.
When it comes to developing active member participation, it starts with a great product.
In other words, how valuable is your event? Is it something that people would want to attend? Can they attend this event elsewhere, or is this an exclusive event at your community? Does this event foster a sense of belonging, or is this an individual event that does not encourage member interaction? Does this event support your overall brand strategy, or is this something that does not fit with your core values? These are questions that your entire team should be asking before you embark on your annual events schedule for the year. It’s essential to not only carefully develop unforgettable events, but also think about how you will measure success at these events. Some of those success measures will be financially focused, and others will simply be participation. Take the time to define success and communicate the specific definitions to your team, so they too understand what is expected, and then analyze the events after to ensure you are delivering nothing but the best to your community.
As a private community, you work hard to build and cultivate a membership that is willing to pay for service, excellence, and exceptional experiences.
It is the basis for what you do, so don't reverse order when it comes time to programming. Build and promote events that people want to be a part of, and then charge them accordingly. Your members expect it. They want the best, and they want to be a part of the best, so give them what they want and don't be afraid to build high-ticket events. If you are creating experiences that they can only get with you, they will happily pay for the experience and the ability to be a part of it. This does not mean that every event needs to be expensive, but too often, communities take the opposite approach and try to bring the prices down as low as they can to encourage participation. If you build it and promote it correctly from the start, members will be willing to pay for it. Create the demand and then charge what is required to deliver that experience.
Many aspects go into building a truly remarkable events schedule at a private club, too many to list here within this article, but it all starts with the proper planning and evaluation of what it will take to be successful. I would encourage you to put in the effort needed to create not only a prosperous schedule for your community with high member participation but also one that has the necessary factors required to differentiate your community, allowing you to recruit better and build a more profitable club for all involved.
How do you go about spreading the word for your events?
Is it word of mouth? Placement in your monthly newsletter? The occasional email to your membership? Do you plan out your communication plan annually? Or is it a reactive approach that waits until the last minute? Maybe you incorporate a mixture of both? The communities that are the most successful with member participation take the time to build a great product (as outlined above). Then they aggressively and beautifully promote the schedule to their members through a variety of mediums: print, digital, film, etc. The communication schedule to members should be as robust and well defined as your outgoing marketing efforts are for new residents/members. Utilize all the tools that are available to you: email marketing, in-house print ads, films, newsletters, etc. There is no one channel solution – your strategy has to be all-encompassing, taking into account reach and frequency just like you would be outside of your community. Also, private clubs are notorious for not putting as much effort behind their internal communications as they do their external communications. Don't be one of these clubs. Your brand value starts internally with your existing members. Make your communication with them as vibrant and compelling as any major lifestyle brand like Apple, Tesla, or Fendi. You have too much to lose if you do not.