Monitoring Membership Retention
It’s not simply a case of finding out initial information and then solving all your problems. You can gain a lot of insight into your club and its members though profiling, member surveys and segmenting your database but the real challenge is how often you review that information and what you do with it.
Once you have analysed your membership you need to keep doing so on a regular basis. A snapshot every six months would be the minimum, especially as the nature of the game makes it a very cyclical business, with the results in the height of summer very different to those in January.
Now you have found out more about your members, it is important to make sure that the messages you are communicating are right for each member group. There are obvious ones – women, juniors and seniors – but remember the information you have acquired through your membership survey will mean there are other groups too:
- members who haven’t played a competition for six months
- members who used to use the restaurant and bar but don’t any longer
- members who may have brought a society along for the past few years but no longer
… the list is endless. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but by segmenting your members into manageable groups it is amazing what can be achieved with relevant, targeted information, offers and promotions.
Things change much faster than they ever used to and you need to be aware of external influences as well as internal ones. For example, the completion of a new housing estate a few miles down the road could explain an influx of members during the past few months – and could point to a source of more.
Regular reviews will also allow you to see how your membership is changing. The average age of a golf club membership has been increasing steadily in recent years, mirroring the general population trend. This has had economic consequences with senior membership (often paying reduced fees) growing out of proportion with club membership. A regular review and the statistics to back it up would have meant many golf clubs addressing this issue long before it became a problem.
It is important to conduct an exit survey with members who are leaving. This may require a telephone call but it will be well worth it – it is possible you may spot a worrying trend; you may also be able to turn a lapsed member back into a current member. If you don’t ask why they are leaving, you won’t know and you won’t be able to do anything about it.