Benefits of the Waitlist for Capital Projects

Our beloved private club community has reaped many hidden benefits as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions of the past two years.

Golf is growing to heights of popularity not seen since Tiger Woods. Pickle Ball is the fastest-growing sport in the US. And club membership is at an all-time high – enter the waiting list.

For years, most clubs held the only waiting list for members’ bond refunds after resignation.  This is no longer the case. Most clubs, due to a great extent to COVID lifestyle changes, now have a waiting list to join.  This is a great situation for obvious reasons, but how can you use your waiting list to your advantage?

1.Leveraging Demand
Since a waiting list and the related initiation fee are prime indicators of a club’s market demand, it stands to reason that the clubs of the higher profiles have a longer waiting list. These clubs have generally kept up with capital spending staying ahead of the market, and creating high demand. Other clubs that have not done so still have waiting lists today, although possibly a bit less robust. Now is the opportunity to leverage the waiting list to make the capital improvements that may be long overdue – with less fear of failure. Failure, in this sense, is defined as losing too many members resulting from the introduction of a rise in capital fees.

2.Less Attrition Risk 
High attrition following the approval of a capital plan seems to be a thing of the past. However, the waiting list provides insulation to any additional attrition that may occur. The fact that most nearby clubs also have waiting lists and initiation fees that may not have existed five years ago reduces options for members who may want to leave. The other advantage is that if there is any unusual attrition, the project funding is aided by the influx of initiation fees for waiting list members, which, as we all know – should go directly to capital needs… right?

3. Better Positioning
We all know that interest rates are increasing, cost of goods are high, and labor is tight. Despite all of this, there is still a window for capital projects that can improve the position of the club, even if things turn a bit soft in the future. The events of 2008/2009 showed us that those clubs that were best positioned from a capital amenity standpoint, weathered the downturn better and rebounded faster than other clubs.

4. Taking Advantage
Those members who recently joined private clubs and those still on the waiting list have all recognized something they never before considered – private club life is more than a bunch of cigar smoking men playing golf then cards. It is an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy myriad activities with old and newfound friends in a safe and secure environment. Nothing about this will change anytime soon. So, plan for your capital needs and take advantage of that waiting list.

5. Start with a Master Plan
If you’re club is considering any club space revitalizations or renovations, you should be starting with a Master Plan. Download our E-Book: Developing a Master Plan to learn about our process to help turn your club’s aspirations into membership approval.

Download Master Planning E-Book.

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