An alliance is a relationship that makes the parties involved stronger. The McGladrey Alliance does just that for McGladrey, its member firms, and most importantly for the clients and industries served. For those readers unfamiliar with the McGladrey Alliance, it is a network of regional firms around the country who are able to leverage McGladrey resources and tools in their client service.
eClubNews recently spent a few minutes with Ned McCrory, Principal with the McGladrey Alliance firm Batchelor Frechette McCrory Michael & Company (BFMM), to chat about what he is seeing in the private club industry.
A Bit about BFMM
BFMM is a one-office firm based in Providence, Rhode Island. It has been a member of the McGladrey Alliance since 1995. Only about five years ago the firm decided to devote more attention to this unique industry sector. Over that time, BFMM has grown its club client portfolio from three to thirty. “A huge part of this growth comes from being a member of the McGladrey Alliance,” says Ned. “The education and information from McGladrey helps to fan the flames of the service experience we offer. The resources are great for our clients. I always describe it as ‘having McGladrey in our back pocket.’”
Talking about the Industry
With most of their clients “in Rhode Island with a scattering around the Boston, Cape Cod, and greater Hartford areas,” Ned sees the industry as emerging from the economic turmoil of the last few years without many problems. “The clubs that had long waiting lists before the recession might have seen those lists dry up a bit but they’re pulling through.”
Ned describes the region as being “more the traditional club model” than what is often found in concentrations around the Sunbelt states (e.g. Florida, Arizona, California, etc.). “There are very few bundled communities. About 60 percent of clubs we work with are private golf clubs with the remainder being beach, yacht and city clubs.” Among other differing trends, the movement toward employing fulltime membership or marketing directors is less common in the region; those responsibilities typically still fall on other officers (e.g. the general manager or chief financial officer).
When asked what the clubs that are doing well are doing correctly, Ned mentioned that, while most have something of a cushion given their relatively affluent member population, the most successful clubs are the ones that distinguish themselves. “It’s what their known for that makes the difference. One is the best course around; another has the best food; and then there is the one with the best network for business.”
Ned plans to keep a close eye on how the industry develops in years to come. “Most of the clubs in the region have an ethnic identity.” He observed that many of the younger and future members appear to be less committed to those identities as they are presented with more entertainment options and lifestyle choices than ever before (an understandable byproduct of the American melting pot). “I expect more clubs to commit to developing that unique image. City clubs tend to have less of struggle because people join for the greater access to networks; there is often a business justification to membership. One of the most prevalent trends right now is to offer financial incentives for current members who refer new ones. Money alone will not keep membership growing but what will is this trend to identify and develop what sets each club apart.”
From left to right: Ned McCrory of BFMM and
Philip Newman and Tammy Tassitano of McGladrey
enjoying some fresh air at the recent National HFTP
Conference in San Diego, CA.