Mastering private club marketing to boost your loyalty heading

Mastering private club marketing to boost your loyalty

Mastering private club marketing to boost your loyalty content

By Srishti Singh

A recent study in the National Club Association’s Club Trends publication looked at loyalty levels compared to people’s number of years as members. The loyalty levels were highest among those who were in their first 5 years of membership (the honeymoon phase of membership). After 5 years, the loyalty scores dropped somewhat significantly.

It’s easy to equate length of membership with loyalty. If someone has been with the club for decades, they must be loyal, right? It would be easy to assume that you don’t have to do much for this segment of your membership since they seem locked in. But it could be a costly assumption. In the study, the lowest loyalty level was around the 20-year mark.

Losing a solid member is never good for the club. There are costs involved with replacing them. And the club’s reputation can take a hit as members leave and talk to others about why they left.

Revisiting loyalty

Your members’ loyalty is directly linked to the connection they feel to your club. That may seem rather rudimentary, but it’s funny how we can lose sight of the fundamentals. And how we have to remind ourselves of the basics – usually when we experience an unexpected exit.

The good news is that it is not difficult to fortify the connection your members feel with your club. 

The not-so-obvious competitor

The first step to building stronger connections is acknowledging the challenges of today’s environment. Your members have incredible access to information as well as access to others through the digital channels. This allows them to easily discover alternatives to your club – whether that’s a competing club or other options that would replace your offering in their lives. And it allows them a social space outside of your club to discuss it all with friends. You can understand how all of this makes it easier than ever for them to question their membership.

Going beyond staying in touch

It’s easy to push back by saying, “We do a good job staying in touch with our membership.” While that is important (and laudable), we have to do more if we want to build enduring loyalty. We have to foster a sense of belonging.

Belonging happens when members feel like:

  • They are part of the community
  • Their beliefs align with the club’s beliefs 
  • The experience is personalized
  • They can engage how they choose

Your club is naturally positioned to engender this sense of belonging. It’s just a matter of consistently doing the things that reinforce the four points mentioned above. This is where a premier club management software solution can help. Let’s look at some examples.

Bolstering the sense of community

The feeling of community at your club is, perhaps, the most crucial factor in creating a sense of belonging among your members. What you do on-premise is important. But you also have the opportunity to extend the community beyond the walls of your club.


As mentioned before, notifying members of gatherings and events is the starting point. But consider how you might help them engage. With the right club management software, you can offer reservation features that allow them to see who is coming to an event. Those features can include access to buddy lists, allowing members to quickly make a reservation for themselves and their friends. And it can include messaging capabilities that allow members to participate in group discussion threads.

These are the kind of features that encourage members to engage and further the sense of community they have at your club.

Reinforcing beliefs

We all like to be around others who share our values and beliefs. This desire played a part in your members’ original decision to join your club. If you want to build belonging, make it a habit to regularly remind members of the club’s beliefs. Weave it into your campaigns that you send with your club management software. Use your website builder to add banners to your site that reinforce the mission, vision, and values of the club. Place those messages in promotional screens on your club app.

By making a concerted effort to reiterate the shared beliefs, you’ll reinforce for members the ideals that support their feelings of belonging.

Making it personal

When the club feels tailored to them, members' connection to the club strengthens. Premier club management software can help you amplify the sense of personalization at your club. 

By operating on one database, the software allows you to access insights about your members from the technology you use across your operation. Want to send more relevant messages to your members? Use your connected campaign manager module to segment them into groups based on their interests or behavior and then create messages that feel more oriented to them. Want to personalize a dining experience? Equip your staff with tableside tablets that allow them to access member preferences so they can suggest a favorite drink or dish.

These practices help members feel like the club knows and values them. Being acknowledged like this is powerful when it comes to building belonging.

Giving them options

Another advantage of premier club management software is its ability to give the members choices when it comes to how they engage. Some like to do as much as possible with the digital tools. Letting them interact through an online portal or the club app is key. On the other end of the spectrum are those members who prefer to interact in person. Of course, there is a wide variety in between that will prefer some combination of the two. 

Members should feel like they can choose a way to interact that fits their lives. No matter what their preferences are, these options should feel personalized. Whether that means delivering personalized options through the app or giving your staff access to member preferences to personalize their interactions with members.

Feeling like you have choices affirms the feeling that your club recognizes what’s important to you. That can help reinforce that your club is a place where it is easy to feel like you belong.


This sense of belonging conjures up strong emotions. Take the time to regularly look at your practices to see if you can identify ways that you can improve the sense of belonging to connect with those emotions both at the club and outside of it. Doing so can help you build an enviable loyalty among your members. 

For more information on how a premier club management software solution can help you build a sense of belonging at your club, contact Northstar. With the Northstar solution, you can unite all parts of your operation in one database, allowing you to access insights that help you deliver an exceptional experience across your club. An experience that reminds your members why they joined in the first place. Request a demo, today.