“Favorite Place to Dine” & “Third Place to Hang” Drive Member Retention

Polo Club of Boca Raton

Members’ Favorite Place to Dine

Do your club members think their club should be a “favorite” and “third place” where they, their family and fellow members prefer to dine, socialize and frequently “hang out” during their free time, even when they are not engaged in a sport or recreational activity? Industry statistics say that 91% of club members say YES, their club should be a favorite place to dine, and 89% of club managers concur. However, while 79% of club managers think their club is a favorite place to dine, only 42% of members concur.

Why the disparity in perceptions?

Are club managers not focused on the same goals and experience outcomes as their members? Through all the meetings, discussions and planning throughout the year at board and committee levels, how is it that managers and members end up with different perceptions of outcomes when it is time to evaluate how the club is performing as a dining destination and how happy members are with their daily club experiences?

To be a favorite place to dine means your club should be on the list of where your members like to frequent when they dine out; not necessarily their most favorite place to dine, but one they continuously enjoy when dining away from home. Achieving “Favorite Place Dining Status” is critical to establishing your club as a “third place” in your members’ lives, as almost all social gatherings at your club involve food, beverages and hospitality from the club staff.

A “third place” is where your members are drawn to hang out when they are not at their first place (home) or their second place (work).

It is where members are drawn to during their free and leisure time – their third place. It is where they feel most comfortable and content, fit in, are equal, and can contribute to the enjoyment and camaraderie of their social group. Is your club both a “favorite” and “third place”? Do your members congregate and socialize at your club even when they are not engaged in a sport or recreation activity? If the answer is no, then your club is missing out on what best drives member retention.

The success of achieving both “favorite” and “third place” is driven through a club having an articulated strategic mission and vision for their club.

They are statements of who your club serves, what it provides at what quality and value, how your club is unique, and what your club aspires to be in the future. Why do members join and stay members of your club? Successful clubs know these answers. The quality and consistency of your club’s food and beverage, hospitality, and social camaraderie are at the core of why your club becomes a “favorite” and “third place”, which is at the core of driving member retention.

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About Richard Lareau

Director of Member Experience

Richard has worked in the private club industry since 1992. His more than 24 years of experience in club management as a food and beverage specialist has enabled him to develop well-trained professional teams that deliver friendly service and consistently efficient, high-quality cuisine resulting in increased member participation, higher revenues and bottom-line contributions to the overhead of the club. He is a manager’s friend and assistant in delivering a club’s dining promise.

Richard is a Certified Club Manager (CCM) and Certified Chief Executive (CCE). He is winner of the 2009 Mel Rex Award from the Excellence in Club Management® Awards; and, was awarded Club Manager of the Year by the Texas Lone Star Chapter in 2013 for his achievements and contributions to the private club industry. Richard is an active member of Les Amis des Escoffier, Chaine des Rotisserie and The International Wine Society.

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