ELS owns and operates resort communities all across the US. Properties within these communities can be purchased or leased. Many of the communities are located where this type of development can no longer be built—along lakes, near beaches, overlooking scenic landscapes, etc. The company profits off of membership sales, a service provided by PMG through mailings, presentations, phone calls, invitations to visit the properties, etc.
HCP worked closely with the PMG management team to develop a strategy for boosting membership sales. The sales process was streamlined, but the team found that the sales message was not optimal. The levels of membership were based upon frequency of use. HCP recommended enhancing the membership tiers to appeal to niche affinity groups identified within their membership base.
Considering the options available to ELS members, traveler profiles included largely retirees, but there were also segments of families who had inherited a membership from their parents or grandparents. Destinations varied from RV parks, to beach condos, to resorts, etc. Member surveys reflected their appreciation for the array of destinations; there seemed to be destinations for every traveler type, whether they were seeking leisure or adventure. The way in which the packages were being sold, failed to highlight all of the choices at hand.
From the research conducted to profile the prospective membership, a decision was made to develop a series of branded membership packages called Elite Choice Plus, ChoiceOutdoors, ChoiceFamily, ChoiceVacations, and ChoiceUnlimited. These memberships all featured a previously unavailable concierge element; travelers could call a number and have a live representative handle their booking details, and offer nearby food, recreation and entertainment recommendations. They also included a legacy plan to facilitate smooth transfer within families, retaining the relationship.
The individual product features varied. ChoiceOutdoors offered more access to parks for the RV travelers; ChoiceFamily offered more flexibility in resort selection. ChoiceVacations offered enhanced access to ELS resort partners as well as the chance to “trade” points in for cruise, cabin or condo vacations, not made available to the other membership tiers; ChoiceUnlimited offered all perks of the other packages—resort system access, RV park access, as well as vacation trades.
This strategy was welcomed and adopted by ELS. They recognized the value to their members and saw the potential these tiers released in terms of previously uncaptured revenue.