Skip links

How more diverse passions are affecting today’s club experience

AT LAST YEAR’S annual National Club Conference in Los Angeles, Calif., VIP attendees became special guests at the Academy of Magical Arts, a premier private club for magicians. Under the leadership of President & CEO Henry Wallmeyer, NCA has recognized the challenges brought about by an ever-changing private club landscape. Our industry is attracting a more diverse set of passions than ever before. Following are ways the private club experience is evolving.

The bar plays the lead role no matter what type of club. One of the biggest trends today is the essential need for a bar to be the captivating attractant for the food and beverage experience. The atmosphere and energy the bar creates is more important than the menu in attracting member joy and spend.

The much-discussed addition of fitness in our industry is well documented and certainly will continue. We all want to
live healthy and meaningful lives, but are fitness facilities enough? Next step initiatives to enrich this area include wellness and vanity offerings to help us feel better about ourselves (and our loved ones). Programming and products that support mental health by connecting members to one another, encouraging physical activity, and creating joy and satisfaction elevate the club experience and help both men and women take care of their spirit.

More kids are welcome at our clubs today than ever before, translating into a demand for safe spaces dedicated to

unstructured and unsupervised play. Most members have fond memories of enjoying adventure and entertainment without the facilitation of a parent, and the opportunity is ripe for clubs to find a way to deliver this unique experience to the children of today.

The blur between work and play continues. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted in a 2017 Harvard Business Review article that “we live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.” Murthy further notes that working in excess has become the norm in America, contributing to a diminishment in well-being for so many people. Clubs have become a refuge to
aid in fulfilling the need to be productive while simultaneously being surrounded
by friendly faces. In our annual surveys, member satisfaction is now driven more by interaction with a club’s staff and leadership than with its amenities by a wide margin,
so it has become essential to encourage and provide a culture where both employees and members feel valued as individuals.

As this generation’s stewards of our precious industry, my hope for us all in 2019 is that we embrace our unique challenges and step into the new opportunities that will make our modern-day clubs not only survive but thrive.

Rob DeMore is president of Troon Privé. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit and