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Club Meeting in Person? Looking for guests? Borrow from industries that are doing it right.

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Is your club meeting in person? Having guests walk through your door is the dream scenario for clubs. However, in reality, guests are more discerning than ever before. To combat this, there are strategies used by for-profit service industries. Via the internet, everyone has easy access to these guest strategies and can modify service industry approaches to suit your Toastmasters club.

Here are five ideas to get your started:

Host profile.

Research has shown that vacation property listings that include details about the host attract more bookings than those that don’t.

Does your club website feature a members profile? Use that to your advantage. Having a host profile helps you stand out and increases the level of trust guests feel for your club, which can boost club visits.

Highlight your facility.

Is it wheelchair accessible? Location easy to get to? Lots of free parking? Walking distance from the library/restaurant/Tim’s (pick up your books/have a meal/grab a coffee -then join us next door!) then promote, promote, and promote.

Leverage your meeting location as an easy way to entice guests.

Last minute deals.

Does your club track the number of guests that arrive each meeting, join/not join, and analyse the data? Hotels track their occupancy trends and use last-minute deals to boost their occupancy ratios. Last-minute deals attract guests who want to travel on short notice and are looking for a special price.

Why not use the prorated dues structure to the same advantage? Bundle the new member fee, prorated dues, and any additional fees your club charges; package it as a special price 2 months before member renewal payments are due. A 2-month commitment is doable and some guests may want to do a trial before committing to a 6- or 12-month membership. If the guest understands that their special price only covers a short-term membership, are encouraged to attend each week to see benefits (and with the help of their mentor, actually see benefits), they may be more likely to renew.

Health and safety standards.

Some are still wary of gathering among people they don’t know. Make sure potential guests know what your club is doing to help restrict the spread of colds and viruses. Have hand sanitizers available on tables and remind everyone to use them.

Instead of the traditional handshake, some clubs use head nobs, small bows, or fits pumps. Don’t assume people know; remind everyone of your club’s greeting protocol at the start of your meeting.

Guests linger. When dismantling the room at the end of your meeting, wipe down all club tools and equipment before putting them away. Not only will this help keep your club members safe, your guests will be safe too.

Add a photo to your social media posts of these safety measures in action to reassure potential guests your club looks after its members.

Promote the concept of stay and play.

If after the club meeting, club members meet up at the local coffee shop or eatery for a post-meeting meeting, be sure to invite your guests. They may say yes, or they may decline, but it gives them another chance at seeing your club’s camaraderie in action.

The takeaway:

These five ideas, modified from for-profit service industry guest strategies (from hotels, restaurants, movie theatres etc.), are just a small representation of what is available to help your club attract guests in a crowded market. All it takes is a bit of research and imagination. Open the door to new approaches you club hasn’t tried before – and perhaps a guest or two or more – will walk in to stay!

Created by Nancy Movrin, DTM, Program Quality Director 2022-2023