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What’s the Pulse? Results from Latest Survey

McMahon Group conducted their annual Pulse Survey last fall to gather feedback from managers and club executives about a variety of topics related to clubs. Issues tested included membership, dining and communications among others. The following are highlights from the report:


·         Fifty-six percent of respondents expect an increase in membership for 2018 and only 5 percent expect a decrease

·         Fifty-four percent of respondents have a full-time membership marketing director on staff

·         Half of respondents will be instituting member retention strategies. Of this group, the top three strategies include:

o   Market to members to increase usage

o   Improve communications

o   Monitor member satisfaction

·         Thirty-four percent of respondents will be using special membership programs to attract members. Of this group, the top three strategies include:

o   Offering incentives to existing members

o   Trial membership programs

o   Time payment plan for initiation fee

Member Satisfaction

When asked how they will improve member satisfaction in 2018, improving the dining experience continues to be the top response to improve satisfaction. The table below compares results from past Pulse Surveys about the outlook for the industry:

Outlook for 18 Outlook for 17 Outlook for 16
Improve dining 73% 60% 66%
Attract more member usage 62% 58% 63%
More member social events 56%
More capital projects 55% 36% 48%
Improve recreation offerings 54% 45% 47%
Survey members 46% 39% 41%


Fifty-five percent of respondents stated they had an increase in their a la carte dining business in 2017 and 17 percent saw a decline.

Favorite Place Status: We asked managers their perception of their a la carte dining operation and compared those results to similar questions we ask members in our membership surveys:

Manager’s Perception Members’ Perception*
93% believe members want their club to be one of their favorite places to dine 91% Club should be one of my favorite places to dine
71% believe their members think the Club is one of their favorite. 44% Club is currently one of my favorite places to dine


* From McMahon Group’s membership survey database


Below are the most important methods clubs are using to communicate with members:

Email (99%)

Online newsletter (86%)

Website (85%)

Printed newsletter (66%)

Mobile APPS (61%)

Social Media

64 percent of clubs use some form of public social media platform. Among those with an initiation fee under $5,000, 81 percent use one versus 41 percent at clubs with an initiation fee over $50,000. The most popular platforms being utilized:

Facebook (61%)

Instagram (32%)

Twitter (31%)


Eighty-one percent of respondents allow members to wear denim in some part of the club. Of the 19 percent who do not allow denim, 13 percent of this group is considering a policy change for the coming year.

Club Trends Fall 2018