Most of the delegates, from all over the world, were professional marketers who work for private clubs and are faced with an amazing opportunity. It was my job, in the time I had on stage, to help them take advantage of it.
Cities are growing all over the world. People are choosing to live in denser, more urban environments because the quality of life is so much better, so much more walkable and so much more sustainable on all counts. Of course there are some demographics that are struggling with the shift, including baby boomers who are moving to multi-family housing from the suburbs because they must sell the house to unlock their retirement savings.
When we surveyed 1,000 baby boomers about multi-family housing for my book The Stackable Boomer, we found out that, unsurprisingly, one of the significant fears they had about moving to a new life in a more urban environment was finding a sense of belonging in a busy neighbourhood.
Cue the private clubs.
Brief history of private clubs
Private clubs started a billion years ago when another huge demographic shift was taking place. The well-to-do in England were living in the bustling city of London for the first time, even if just during the work week, instead of out in the countryside. Having a place of work and a place called home proved to be not enough; a third place was required where they felt at home while not at home, and private clubs were born.
It was a bit more complex than that, but we’re facing the same set of circumstances right now. People are moving to urban centres. Private clubs are growing in popularity. People feel a need to have a home outside the home. This is a moment where private clubs for people of all ages and all stripes could engineer an industry-wide comeback.
And by the way, this isn’t your grandfather’s private club. The average age of members at The Vancouver Club, my club, is now hovering around 45. Yoga classes and rooftop parties are the order of the day and, at my advanced age of 50, I’m starting to feel like I’m an interloper at many events.
Now you know. Welcome to the club.
David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting version of any story for early stakeholder engagement, internal audiences, regulatory approvals, consultant briefings and investor recruitment. His award-winning work in the real estate sector alone spans decades and continents. His most recent book, The Stackable Boomer, examines the movement of baby boomers to multi-family homes, and includes research results from a 1,000-boomer survey. He can be reached at [email protected].