Still Mending the Wound of 2008?


Let’s be honest, all of us were affected by the tanking of the economy in 2008. It’s a question as to what extent, and what steps did your club take to address the aftermath. Some private clubs escaped with a mere surface wound. While most were cut much deeper. Here we are nearly a decade later and much of the industry is still bleeding. For some, the proper steps and care weren’t taken to remedy the situation.

This article is intended to illustrate the impact of the situation, then and now.

That year, the industry changed. It took a debilitating shot. Consumers were forced to reevaluate their lifestyles, their club memberships. The vast majority of clubs witnessed droves of resignations. The bleeding had begun.

What’s the difference between those still reeling from the effects of that year and the clubs that are thriving today? The amount of care put into mending the wound. If your club never regained form from that year, the wound was more than likely never cared for properly.

Some Clubs Made Lemonade

The clubs currently flourishing with a healthy ratio of young and old, families with children and empty-nesters, all mingling at a mixture of engaging events, took a step back, addressed the damage and deliberated “why”. They determined what issues brought them down, what changes are occurring with today’s private club consumers and the steps necessary to right the ship.

  • Why was the club membership the first discretionary expense to be eliminated?
  • Was it truly financial, or as budgets were tightened, was the connection to the club was not strong enough and the families could live without that extra expenditure?
  • Now that the dust has settled, why are families near the club not interested in joining?
  • Of those that have recently joined, why are they resigning so hastily?

Determining “why” to a plethora of questions guided these clubs to today’s successes. Instead of masking the wound, they used it as an opportunity to address pain points and prevent future scars.

Clubs That Are Still Bleeding (Discounting)

Clubs still trying to find their footing took a different approach. They didn’t address the wound properly, if at all. Instead, bandage after bandage continues to lead the way in marketing efforts. Discounting programs are prevalent throughout the nation. Trying to entice a large number of people to join at a fraction of the price, hoping they will stay, is the “quick fix” approach. Discounting is a bandage. Marketing on price is a bandage. Cover the wound and hope it heals on its own.

For the small number of clubs with scratches, these band-aid methods were enough. For larger wounds, the bleeding continues. And in some cases, an infection has set in.

If your club’s bandages haven’t cured the symptoms, it’s time to take a different approach. Rip the band-aid off, assess and address the wound, and let us help you stop the bleeding.