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How Creating Memorable Moments Can Prepare Your Club for the Next Generation

It’s no secret that the traditional private club model is changing and while change may feel a bit scary (Look how far this club in Europe is going),the only constant in this world is change and without it, there is no moving forward. Global club trends and consumer expectations present a very exciting time for the club industry!

A few months ago, we discussed the hotly-discussed topic of bringing Millennials to clubs and offered some suggestions to combat the top perceived reasons Millennials aren’t joining clubs. But that’s not to say there are no Millennials that are joining clubs—they are. And the clubs they are joining are prepared for the next generation of members; cultivating a membership base that is fiercely brand-loyal and looking for fellow members to join them.

How are these clubs recruiting and keeping the next generation of members? By creating memorable moments! Creating memorable moments is simpler than you may think; your staff is likely already creating these memorable moments with your members; they just need the push that takes their service to the next level and create that magical 1+1=3 effect that next-level clubs seemingly effortlessly achieve.

Clear Culture, Simple Systems

At RCS, our most popular in-person training program is Creating a Strong Service Culture . A company’s culture is palpable because of its staff – their word choices, behavior, habits and service standards. Creating a strong service culture means that management have hired and trained the right employees, trained frequently, and there is an engaged, dynamic leadership keeping everyone is on the same page to offer the highest level of service to its members. The world is moving at a dizzying speed thanks to technology and with this brings the need for simple, efficient systems so that the members can continue on the service journey they desire. Members want a high level of service, which takes efficient, simple and member-centric systems.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Little details make a big difference. Consider the next generation of members: Netflix recommends shows for them, Amazon sends “great finds for you”, and a virtual stylist shows them what to wear, then ships it to them. They even receive ready-to-prepare meals delivered to their doorstep, curated based on their personal tastes. The next generation of members are ones who are accustomed to little details making all the difference—they expect to feel as though their significant investment of time and resources to your club is as important to your staff as it is to them. Simple gestures such as encouraging employees and managers to go the extra mile to get to know a specific detail about each of your core user group of members is very impactful and can easily be incorporated into member profiles using a Point of Sale System or a good old fashioned notebook or Rolodex. What’s important is that you are listening to your members and using their preferences to enhance their experience and created magical, memorable moments for them.

Give Choices with High Touch/Low Touch Options

Members expect to have a say in their club experience and that they have the opportunity to vary their experience based on their needs that particular day. Nowhere is this more evident than in your club’s food and beverage operation. While your food and beverage operation is the social hub of the club, many members are also looking for your club to provide not only convenient options, but also healthy options – for adults and children . The next generation of members often are comprised of busy dual-income professionals who are looking for ways that their club membership can help to simplify their daily life—they don’t always want to sit down for a full-service steak dinner; sometimes they simply want to grab a water and freshly-prepared sandwich that they can enjoy on the patio while catching up on e-mails. Sometimes they want to place their order from afar and not have to interact in person if they don’t feel like it.

Photo Credit: Magic Guides

Be Laser-Focused on Experience

As we touched on before, sweating the small stuff can make a world of difference to your members. So can ensuring that their experience is second to none. There is a reason that Disney World is the number one most-visited theme park in the world. They are laser focused on creating not only a positive experience for their visitors, but also an extremely personalized one. All generations of members are looking engage frequently with their club—they are looking for multi-generational lifestyle programming that expands their horizons and introduces them to new people and experiences. One great way to answer a primary need, but also create outstanding experiences is through health and wellness. Wellness is a wonderful way to elevate the member experience; perhaps it’s time to tackle what your club offers other than golf?

Aesthetics Matter

More and more females are getting involved in golf every day, and club aesthetics are especially important to women. Does your club’s aesthetic make it easy for potential members to see themselves having a pleasurable time connecting with people of similar mindset and interests or do potential members get the sense that they may have a difficult time fitting in, being welcomed or finding their place at the club? There is a reason we have the #inviteHer movement and if you follow me on social media, you know that I often follow that up with #welcomeHer. What are you doing to make women feel welcome at your club? I’ll give you a hint – it’s very much about aesthetics and a friendly, helpful staff.

Aesthetics extend well past the brick and mortar of your club’s physical location. Is your website in need of an update? The website is the front door to your club, and it should be mobile friendly. Many users experience websites in a mobile manner. Most clubs pour a significant amount of money into their physical structures but investing in your online experience is just as important. This is important not only for potential members, but existing members and employees as well. Some clubs are setting up Instagram accounts just to engage with potential new employees. Your future employees want to know that they are working for a club that is keeping up with the times and it’s a great way to tell the story of how you are an employer of choice. Don’t know how? Just give us a ring and we’ll help.

Creating memorable experiences is a strategic decision because there is likely a financial commitment to be made and the experiences will drive membership sales and retention. Don’t forget to sign up for Whitney’s Top Rated Session at Golf Inc. Strategy Summit, The Experience Economy.


Whitney Reid Pennell, president of the RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services) is a celebrated management consultant, educator and speaker. RCS, the creators of the Food and Beverage Boot Camp™, specialize in operations consulting, strategic planning, food and beverage management, and training programs.

For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at

#RCSU #customerservice #GolfInc #wellness #DisneyWorld #memberexperience #inviteHER #welcomeHER #strategiessummit #hightouchlowtouch #details #deliveringexperiences #creatingastrongserviceculture #millennial

Whitney Reid Pennell
 Founder & President

Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the award-winning RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services). She is a published author and widely praised seminar leader, with over 20 years of club operations management and consulting experience. 

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