All About That “WOW”

Third Place

A great social experience can happen anywhere: in a garage, backroom or backyard.

Not because of the place or its surroundings, but because of the people, their interactions and experiences with one another that create enjoyment and a sense of belonging that lures them to return. Over time, these experiences of happiness and contentment become woven into the fabric of a person’s social wellbeing. A club’s social aspects have the ability to become powerful, emotional forces in its members’ lives that are then anchors to their social community. Clubs are members’ retreat and respite from their otherwise busy, chaotic and overly regulated external lives. What makes clubs so is that they are places where members feel welcome, equal, can contribute and, most importantly, have input that shape their anticipated desires of outcomes.

 The challenge and fun of managing private clubs is that they are the retreats of the achievers in our society.

Private clubs attract and are inhabited by those who like the best things and experiences. These achievers seek reliability, consistency, quality and personalized attention. Successful clubs consistently deliver experiences their members cannot get anywhere else, and tomorrow must be better than today. Consistently being “new and improved” while protecting the core of a club’s culture, traditions and values is the challenge.

Delivering more than what was asked for, planned for and/or anticipated is how “WOW” is relevant to this discussion. Webster defines an exclamation of “WOW” as “an expression of astonishment, admiration and of sensational success.” “WOW” doesn’t occur by happenstance, it is achieved through a manufactured process. They are experiences created by people (you and your staff) not things. Golf courses, tennis courts, fitness/wellness centers, etc., don’t “WOW” you. They challenge you or are places where you challenge yourself.

Wanting to “WOW” isn’t enough to make it happen. There needs to be a system for how to embed it in your club’s operational ethos. There are five fundamental pillars that support your service team creating “WOW” experiences.

Five fundamental pillars that support your service team creating “WOW” experiences

  1. Anticipate the needs and wants of members
  2. Be prepared to serve
  3. Execute flawlessly
  4. Be continuously enthusiastic
  5. Do it now – have a sense of urgency in all you do

The most significant outcome of “WOW” at your club is that it strengthens and drives positive, familial relationships between your members and frontline staff. These are key components in establishing your club as a “Favorite Place”, thus sustaining membership at your club.

I’d love to share my passion for creating “WOW” at your club with you. Please take advantage of McMahon’s complimentary First Impressions Visit. Your club’s only cost is our travel expenses. Please click here and fill out the First Impressions Form today!

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About Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA

Bill is a strategic, financial and architectural planning consultant to clubs throughout North America. He established McMahon Group in 1983 as an affiliate of the family architectural firm his grandfather founded in 1906. Over the ensuing years, the firm has expanded its club consulting services beyond clubhouse improvement planning to a full range of services for all aspects of private club challenges. To date, the firm has assisted more than 2,000 private clubs across the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. McMahon Group provides a unique approach to developing club facility projects first establishing design and financial feasibility so membership approval is achieved. Thereafter final design and construction firms are selected to build the member approved project.

Mr. McMahon is unique among club consultants in providing an integrated strategic, financial and architectural approach to solving club problems. His personal involvement with his own clubs in St. Louis (serving in the roles of president, board member and committee member) has allowed him to bring unparalleled experience to each client. Mr. McMahon’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Racquet Club Ladue (St. Louis), University Club of St. Louis, Spring Lake Yacht Club (Michigan) and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Mr. McMahon is a graduate of Washington University School of Architecture in St. Louis and holds architecture licenses in 44 U.S. states and in Ontario, Canada. He is a featured author in industry publications and a featured speaker at the annual conferences of the Club Managers Association of America, the Canadian Society of Club Managers, the National Club Association and the Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals. He serves as a visiting lecturer at continuing education sessions offered by regional CMAA chapters and at Michigan State University. Bill is a co-author of McMahon Club Trends®, the comprehensive research reports on strategic issues facing private clubs published with the National Club Association. He is also founder of the Excellence in Club Management Award.

Mr. McMahon is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and the National Club Association. He is a former president of the Missouri Council of Architects, AIA and has served on various charitable boards in the St. Louis area.

More articles by Bill McMahon, Sr. AIA, OAA
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