Club Research Study

Cheers to Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassame, Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic. Teens and young adults make up half of Canada’s tennis population. A figure sure to rise thanks to that inspiring quartet.

But…

As a club manager, you’re always looking for ways to attract members and keep them happy.

I scoured tennis websites, Youtube videos and forums.

Made connections on LinkedIn with experts from the Ontario Tennis Association.

Became a fan of tennis entrepreneur Tim Bainton.

I also posted on tennis-related Facebook pages. What did they like or not like about their current or former clubs?

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA RECOMMENDATIONS

Everyone agrees on this one. Strong social media engagement is crucial and that’s where I can help you. Here’s what I discovered.

• include membership prices and services on your site

• make your contact info easy to find

• include your physical address and driving directions

• use testimonials and referrals

• use clear photos

• include a personal message from your manager

• provide links to your social media, and to other sites with banner exchanges

• have a YOUTUBE channel for younger members

• have a newsletter and a personalty-driven blog

• use keywords on your site that tie in with local events

• keep your design clean…a poorly laid-out page will drive people away

• keep your members engaged with email marketing

WHY PEOPLE STOP PLAYING (most stop between 16 and 34)

• they prefer other activities

• they say it’s not fun anymore

• they have increased work commitments

• they can’t afford a full membership

COMPLAINTS (posted on Facebook tennis pages)

• morning and daytime clinics and classes not convenient for working people

• groups cater to their regulars and newbies aren’t included

• lack of organized mix-in sessions leads to uneven pairings in terms of skill level. Strong players get bored, less experienced players feel demoralized and both stop showing up

• private lessons are too expensive

WISH LIST/SUGGESTIONS (Facebook pages)

Here are some things they’d like you to change, or offer…

• organized, social playing opportunities and tournaments

• free or low-cost clinics and “approachable” pros who offers free tips

• a welcoming environment that encourages learning

• tennis-related fitness classes, eg. Pilates

• pot-luck socials with short set play and/or drills

• theme nights (wood racquets, demo nights)

• more lessons for intermediate 3.0 players and higher

• lessons for more than one player at a time (learn with a friend regardless of skill level)

• endurance ladder for kids rewarding effort not just scores

• create an Instagram group for posting of selfies (kids love instant gratification)

• change up your children’s programs with jumps, squats, cones, balloons, beanbags

• provide time payment plans for kids and teens

BENEFITS YOU CAN PROMOTE

• get a good workout/get in better shape, improve body shape and attractiveness

• it’s a sport for life, adds years to your life

• tennis is perceived as a “cool sport”

• you can play with your partner or children to create stronger family bonds

• it’s a way to make friends and connect with their community

• the sport is good for mental health and self-esteem

• tennis is universal, for all ages, genders, level of ability and ethnic backgrounds

• you don’t have to be tall, strong or fast (unlike basketball, football)

• you can learn tennis at any age

• it keeps seniors active physically and socially

RECOMMENDATIONS

65% of beginners who start in a structured program continue with tennis, and social programs keep them playing, so….

• hold open houses and family days and let kids and adults play together

• offer non-player memberships to parents, early bird memberships, and tiered memberships for kids and students

• twilight/night tennis

• let them pay for 12 months, get 15 months

• why are lessons one-hour long? How about 30 minutes for a specific stroke?

•look into programs like cardio tennis, Quick Start or Fit 2 Hit with a personal trainer

• partner with other sports, groups and businesses

• treat your members with discounts for referring newbies, and offer attractive guest fees

• embrace change! Don’t do the same things as 30 or 40 years ago, innovate! Allow music, paint the courts different colours, erase the tennis club stereotypes!

You already knew most of this, right? Well-written content will mean game, set and match. Ready to be my partner? Get in touch!