Creating a pickleball club experience

The reason (many) pickleball players will pay to play at a cool pickleball club is because it offers more than what they get at the local public courts or the gym at the YMCA. Successful pickleball clubs don’t just provide courts for play, they provide an experience. Stated another way, this is not a simple court-rental business, this is an experience business. Different clubs are creating different types of experiences, the ones that do it best will build player loyalty and financial success as a result.

What kind of club do you want to build?

The type of club you want, your “vision” will directly impact key decisions made during the planning process. Decisions about space design, amenities, staffing and other expenses will flow from your vision, so it will be important to define things in advance —- knowing of course that things can evolve and change based on market conditions. Things to consider:

  • Food & Beverage. If this is a part of your business, how extensive will it be and what role will it play in your operation?
  • Amenities. Are you a cushy club, simple and basic, or something in between? This decision impacts a number of factors including pricing.
  • Community. By this I mean the community vibe within your club, but also how your business interacts with the nearby community.
  • Programming. If you’ve rooted around in this blog, you’ve seen a bunch on this critical topic. Good, creative programming guided by passionate, energetic staff is key thing missing from outdoor open-play, and a thing that will a) make players return and b) get them to pay.
  • Serving niches. Somewhere in your strategic thinking is the idea of addressing a variety of niches: men, women, all ages, athletes, non-athletes, etc.
  • Events. How important are (or should be) events to your business. For some club owners, this has emerged as a key revenue stream whether planned for or not. If events are important, how does this impact your plan, your marketing, your staffing?

Market differentiation matters

No matter where you are, you can be sure multiple pickleball clubs are in process if not already open. God Bless America and our capitalist, entrepreneurial spirit. “First-in” can certainly be helpful, but in our opinion, this whole area of “experience creation” is what will differentiate pickleball clubs and ultimately determine which clubs are the most successful.

Pickleball Business Advisors is brothers Bill and John Pryor.  We provide a variety of consulting services based on extensive experience in fitness business development, and research into the fast growing pickleball marketplace.  To initiate a feasibility assessment for your pickleball club, or for other consulting, contact us so we can learn about your project.

Author: Bill

Passionate pickler, entrepreneur, experienced fitness industry executive, startup specialist, business model consultant, mentor and advisor. Contact me to brainstorm, discuss or commiserate! .

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