RSL & Services Clubs Association CEO Margot Smith has called on clubs to get creative and take advantage of the extensive list of events scheduled for 2024 to draw crowds through the door and keep them there.

“2024 is our year to seize opportunities to maintain our relevance and take clubs to the next level,” she wrote to members in a recent RSL & SCA newsletter. 

“We are living in an ‘experience rich’ environment, where people of all ages like to create memories together.”

One example she highlighted is the upcoming sellout Taylor Swift concerts that will be held in Melbourne from February 16 to 18 and in Sydney from February 23 to 26. Smith points to how influential the singer has become that she can change the GDP of a city she visits, dubbed “Swiftonomics”.

“Because Taylor Swift is only doing shows in Sydney and Melbourne and the tickets have been coveted by fans from all over Australia and NZ (and even further afield) we can expect spend to increase across travel, dining, entertainment, shopping, concert preparation etc to reach fever pitch,” Smith said.

“But even locally, in regional areas, those attending will be planning to go to Sydney or Melbourne, momentum will be building to attend the concerts. And I’ve also seen an article, where fans who missed out on tickets will be sitting outside Accor stadium, to soak up the atmosphere from the concert – they are expecting 15,000 onsite at Homebush. 

“Start thinking about Taylor Swift events, experiences or F&B offerings in the lead-up – from mid-February consider Taylor Swift trivia nights, Taylor Swift cover bands, tribute nights, after parties, pre-drinks, food and beverage promotions. Also, for beverage partners and other corporate partners – think of what can be done.”

“Maybe contact the Talent Development Project and see if they have any artists who can do a Taylor Swift covers gig… And ask younger team members for ideas – either for cocktail and mocktail name suggestions, events and experiences that will appeal to Swifties (fans),” Smith added.

Other opportunistic events that clubs should maximise, according to Smith, include US sporting events such as the Super Bowl on February 12, as well as other basketball, baseball and gridiron games.

The Olympics, which is being hosted in Paris from July 26 to August 11, is another event that clubs need to start considering now, said Smith. “Now is the time to start planning Olympic-inspired events, watch parties plus F&B offerings.”

The flow-on effects of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Club were felt right across clubs, as it brought in patrons at traditionally off-peak times and increased the number of women who attended venues to watch live sport.

The need for clubs to diversify their offering further reiterates a point that Smith made when Club Management spoke to her about what trends will be seen in clubs this year.

“2024 is about providing a diverse offering and asking existing members and future customers what interests them,” Smith said at the time.

“Clubs are a precinct within a precinct and really can offer a variety of events and experiences – wellbeing, F&B, entertainment, community and much more. The clubs that will thrive are those that are tapping into the local audience intel to maintain their relevance. Engagement is not one-size-fits-all – we are here to maximise intergenerational connection and belonging.”

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