New Club Openings: Tips for Pre-Selling Memberships
When you’ve invested in opening up a new club, you want to make sure you have people coming through the door on opening day.
To ensure that happens, Donyel Cerceo, the marketing director of Merritt Clubs, recommends having a membership pre-sale and doing a strong marketing push, at least one year out from Day 1 of the club’s opening.
“Tease your new club is coming soon about one year before it opens,” said Cerceo. “Have a preview center on site with renderings and a video fly-through of what the club will look like, so people can see their new club. We focus a lot on digital and increase our budget for Google Adwords in the area and make the ads specific to the club. We also put the videos on our website with the renderings to get people excited. We do a lot of events in the area to get the word out that we are coming.”
Cerceo recommended other marketing initiatives such as print ads, “reveal” parties and getting in touch with the press.
“Put ads in the local community papers to announce each phase of construction and to encourage people to join before the next phase, when rates increase,” added Cerceo. “As you are nearing completion — maybe a month or two before — have a big reveal hard-hat party for the members who have signed up during the membership pre-sale and invite them to bring a friend with them. Invite local press and the public to come as well.”
On year out from a club’s opening, offer a lower rate for those signing up during the membership pre-sale period. “You need to have a good membership base before you open your doors to make your club a success,” said Cerceo. “The caveat is to not start selling too early. People may lose interest in your club or find another option that is open now.”
Finally, Cerceo advised making the membership pre-sale rate significantly lower than the grand opening rate, “so people understand they are really getting a great deal by committing to you and waiting until your club is open.”