Welcoming, Innovative, Community-focused, Engaging and Enterprising
Through SMN’s work and contact with literally hundreds and hundreds of sports providers from across all sports and different types of organisations we have identified five key factors which we believe are key to delivering growing and sustainable sport and leisure activities.
We don’t believe there are any material differences to between a professional sports club trying to develop support from its fans, a leisure centre wanting to increase usage, a community sports club wishing to attract and retain more members and volunteers or any other sports provider.
We all provide sport in different ways, for different people and in different places but nevertheless we strongly suggest you focus on how you can be as WICE2 as possible. Please view this through the eyes of the outside world and not how you and your mates within the club perceive it. (I am yet to find any sports organisation which does not regard itself as being ‘welcoming’ even though it may be full of Victor Meldrew look-a-likes!)
SMN is currently in discussion with two sports governing bodies with the view to using the WICE2 model to help their top amateur clubs to, over a period, develop a kind of Club Enterprise Mark. Sitting alongside Club Mark this is designed to help these clubs develop better practices in terms of how they follow the WICE2 principles and become sustainable hubs for their communities.
This may not be rocket science but SMN is convinced that if our sports providers, over time, become more Welcoming, Innovative, Community-focused, Engaging and Enterprising then we can deliver better sport in a sustainable way.
A few words about the five elements of WICE2 :
Remember, you are in the Experience Industry, competing for people’s leisure time and spend. You, your coaches/instructors and the rest of your team must focus on providing the best sporting and customer experiences possible and remember: we are all different, so what you think is a great experience, may not be the same to a 26 year old recreational player or a 42 year old ‘returner’.
Help newcomers ease into the place, so the initial ‘like-first-day-at-school’ nerves disappear and they become advocates. Your best marketing tool is a customer who has just had a great experience at your club/centre.
Two years ago, The Bedford Golf Club was taken over by Geoff Swain, the world’s trick golf shot champion. Yes, he did invest in improving the bunkers and some of the interiors, but the main changes were focused around making the place more welcoming. He relaxed the dress code in the club house, introduced Junior memberships for £25 per annum and when I visited the club he was walking around the club house, chatting to everybody in shorts and flip-flops. Result: in two years, the club has gone from 108 adult members to 454 (more than 400% increase) and they now have 60 juniors. In two years! There’s money in being welcoming.
So why not ask a few people who have never been in contact with your sports club and never been there to give you an objective view of how ‘welcoming’ they feel your club is. Of course, if you are happy with the status quo and just being for your members and don’t want all these new people in your club, I am terribly sorry I bothered you.