It is simple and cost effective to conduct your own market research almost without your members realising it. A member survey once a year should be at the top of your agenda in getting to know your customer base. It’s relatively easy to administer as you have a captive market and should be able to communicate with them on a regular basis.
The key to any survey is to understand what it is you are trying to find out. It may be about a specific area where you are having problems such as the catering or encouraging use of the bar, it may be a general survey about their membership, a new member survey after 3 months or perhaps an exit survey.
Surveys only work if they are conducted regularly and the members receive feedback – on both the results and the next steps i.e. what you plan to do. You may also want to consider incentivising your surveys which always improves response rates.
Full details on member surveys can be found here.
As well as a more formal survey, there should be plenty of opportunity to talk to members and get a general idea of how they regard the club. Your staff and committee members can be very useful here as they will be regularly playing with or talking to the membership. Beware of people feeding back what they want you to hear. This is often not deliberate but if it is a subject they themselves feel strongly about they may not really be an independent observer.
Once you have gathered and analysed the information you have about your members then you can begin sorting them into distinct groups. These may be governed by factors such as age, frequency of visits, time they play, use of the bar or restaurant but however you choose to categorise them you will have a clear profile of your key customer segments.
Profiling members and visitors in this way means that you will now be able to talk to them much more effectively.