Overview of the Club Industry

club is a home away from home. Clubs provide a sanctuary for families to enjoy their celebrations and milestones. Clubs foster a sense of community and provide a place to gather and enjoy leisure time. However, private clubs be they member-owned or proprietary-owned face many challenges today especially in Singapore. It is increasingly difficult to attract and retain members due to changing lifestyles, increased competition, and a difficult economy. In order to succeed and thrive, clubs must offer their members a quality experience in each of their activity areas, and possess a programmed environment that facilitates the growth and development of social capital. Clubs have economic impact on their local economies, communities, employees, members and on other businesses. They are businesses and should be treated and managed as such. 

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Above – Ms Joan Ho with her students at the 11th Asian Club Managers Conference with the Conference executive organising committee.

It is indeed a multi-million dollar business that requires competent management and appropriate governance and policy. It is often a challenge for Club Managers and professional associations to be vigilant in advancing the positive perception of the clubs. Very few members are ever going to be able to analyse their membership in a private club on strict economic terms. They decide to remain members only when there is a combination of a vibrant social network and quality facilities and programmes. Clubs are one of the most stable and viable businesses in a community where they are sustained through economic downturns and market fluctuations. Clubs also impact their members as well as the greater communities that they serve. The average club employs around 100 to 200 people. Beyond the payroll, the club also spends on goods and services in their local communities.

In Singapore, the Club Managers’ Association Singapore (CMAS), an association of club managers and club professionals, was incepted on 3rd October 1996 for the purpose of meeting, sharing and networking towards professionalism of the club industry. Currently, the CMAS has ordinary members and associate members who manage some of the most prestigious country, town, golf, faculty and sports clubs in Singapore.

Related: View pictures taken at the 11th Asian Club Managers Conference here.

Our Leisure & Events Management (LEM) students formerly known as Leisure & Resort Management have been involved as event ambassadors in the prestigious bi-annual Asian Club Managers’ Conference (ACMC) in Singapore since 2008. The biannual conference received more than 140 attendees from more than 10 countries and a who’s who of prominent Clubs both from within the country and the region. The organising committee comprised of club professionals, who built on past successes to create an intensive conference, featuring the best and brightest minds of the industry. More management, new trends and best practices contents are often discussed at the panel and notable distinguished speakers are engaged. The attendees as well as the CMAS members commended the students for displaying excellent attitude in their respective conference event ambassadors roles. Most importantly the students gained a deeper understanding of the club industry and the common issues related to the management of clubs. We need to be ready to engage the next generation in view of the changing demographics. 

Let’s hear from the students at the recent ACMC 2016 . . .

“An eye opening experience to see how overseas Club presidents and GMs coming together to share their experiences and discuss about the different topics relating to future proofing the club.” – Ng Ye Li

“Being back in the conference for a second year, it definitely exposed me more to the club industry in Singapore as well as around the world to learn from the various GMs on how they run the clubs. It is yet another fantastic and rewarding experience helping out at the club conference.” – Teng Chee Hern


Ms Joan Ho is the Education Committee Chairman, Sub-Com of Club Managers’ Association Singapore (CMAS) and Academia from Temasek Polytechnic.

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