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Private Clubs: When a communication plan is essential to serve your members


This week in San Diego, it was hot, dry and a bit out of control. Fires started burning on Tuesday and by Wednesday there were nine separate fires burning throughout San Diego County. A shout out to San Diego and out-of-town firefighters. They have been doing an incredible job fighting multiple big fires in record heat and high Santa Ana winds, keeping life and structure loss to a minimum.

On Tuesday, the first few fires threatened a handful of golf resorts and country clubs. In San Diego’s North County, the area is sprinkled with beautiful and amazing resorts and clubs. When I saw a tweet from a local news channel that one of the country clubs was being evacuated, I thought I would check out the club’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to see what and how they were informing members. Much to my surprise, there were no announcements. The next day? One post of “a photo that someone took” from the club during the fires. And there has not been a post since. (Friday a.m.)

What a missed opportunity! Private club professionals all know that in the course of a day, there could be any number of events happening, from casual lunch meetings to golf tournaments, and various-sized private events. When a club is forced to evacuate, events are cancelled, roads are closed, no one is at the club to answer phones, etc. How do you let your members, guests, staff and community know? Do you have a communication plan in place?

Another club which had been threatened by fire did post to Facebook the day after, letting members know what had been cancelled, what was open/closed and that there was no damage. The only problem was that the club had not posted anything since January, so members were highly unlikely to see the post.

We have to recognize that our members are online. They access the internet via their mobile devices, and once online, they seek news and information via their favorite sites, and through social media. If the club is not communicating where the members are seeking and receiving information, we are missing the opportunity to serve as a valuable resource to our Members.

While it is understood that a club evacuation is rare, it is still essential for us to have a communication plan in place, for our monthly, weekly, daily messages and in times of crisis. The club which was evacuated was clearly unprepared, was unhelpful to members and guests, and rendered themselves irrelevant as a resource.

I’ve included a few more tips and advice in the video (above), so please have a look!

Quick note: What you can see in the screenshot is my laptop on a table. That’s what I’m looking at when I’m referencing what was happening online!  I wanted to let you know because in the editing process, I realized I was looking at my computer screen often, but you can’t see my laptop!

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