Building private clubs for profit

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Gone are the days when private clubs were adorned with dusty old portraits of a huntsman and his hound. Gone are the days where sherry is being served at all hours of the day in the library, and steak and kidney pie is the top seller on the menu.

People looking to open private member clubs are approaching Craft House at least once a month. Seriously — private members’ clubs — why? I'm in my early 30s — that’s not nearly hip enough for me. Well, think again.
Gone are the days when private clubs were adorned with dusty old portraits of a huntsman and his hound. Gone are the days where sherry is being served at all hours of the day in the library, and steak and kidney pie is the top seller on the menu.

Some of the hottest private clubs are featuring up-and-coming graffiti artists to brighten the walls while making membership enticing to those who add value — not just those with deep pockets. From our old home base Soho House across the west to the newly opened Duddell's in Hong Kong, private clubs are far more than a place to compare paychecks.

So why are private member clubs so hot? In our opinion, and with experience developing boutique hotels and private member clubs, discerning individuals are looking for a real sense of community where fellow members share similar lifestyles, a place with relevant and appealing content where aesthetics matter but aren't in your face, food and drinks are superb, service is subtle and you feel like you belong. Quite simply, a well-done private members’ club can fit this bill.

There are obviously many other reasons developers are looking at private member clubs. The new trend in coworking and communal office spaces creates opportunities for something that's more than an office space. And when done properly, there's always financial gain, and with strong member loyalty comes the opportunity to expand across markets. As E. B. White once said, “It's easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members.”

Thoughts?

Read more and see comments at: HOTELSMag.com


Craft House Founder and Director, Yvette Jong, contributes regularly to her HOTELS Magazine Blog titled, "The Good, the Bad and the Funky." Topics of discussion include all aspects of hospitality development, operations, branding, marketing, human resources, sustainability and much more.