Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Right Sort of People

I was able to tour the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Pall Mall in St. James yesterday, and was impressed.   The number, size, and appointment of the function rooms available for members' use made our little Landsdowne Club look quite shabby.  There was the business office/lounge, the bar, the dining room, the library, the smoking room, the billiards room, the map room--in all of which you could order tea things, not to mention the rooms for private hire and lodging.  Many of these rooms the Landsdowne Club has, but not of the same size nor grandeur.

The library was my favorite--two rooms with built-in-shelves full of leather-bound and harback tomes.  The club apparently has a reciprocity agreement with the London Library, the largest private library in England with 1 Million books, all of which members can check out (a rare find in England).

The expense of maintaining such a vast and well-kept piece of real estate must be staggering, and is made largely possible by membership fees.  Yet such clubs create a difficult marketing conumdrum: if you are exclusive, how do you stave attrition with fresh recruits?  The clubs must anticipate how to attract "the right sort of people."

After long contemplation, not only could I not ascertain what combination of indicia would determine whom those individuals were, I realized that I didn't even know what that really meant...

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