Career success | MBA intern revitalizes Terminal City Club's membership strategy


In 2010, the Terminal City Club identified a need to revitalize its membership strategy. It was considering a loyalty program, as well as new sales and marketing programs, to reduce attrition and increase the sale of new memberships. In need of someone to take charge of this strategic initiative, the company turned to Bruce Mitchell, a UBC MBA student specializing in Marketing.

Bruce was hired on a summer internship to lead a 12-week research project. He got to work by first mining and analyzing valuable member information in the Club’s considerable (yet under-utilized) membership database.

Using the system’s reporting tools, he analyzed and segmented the club’s membership data into distinct groups based on demographics and spending habits. Bruce then conducted detailed market research through focus groups and interviews and applied his financial modeling skills to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of current membership pricing.

After careful analysis and research, Bruce concluded that an overhaul of the existing pricing strategy would be more effective than launching a loyalty program. He determined that a pricing structure focused on extracting the life-time value of a member was more financially sustainable for Terminal City Club and would improve overall membership numbers.

In addition, Bruce also formulated a membership retention plan that would complement the new pricing strategy and offer more value and engagement for current members. This strategy, he suggested, would bring the club in-line with its competitors while still maintaining its status as one of Vancouver’s most prestigious clubs.

Armed with this background information, Bruce designed a marketing plan that targeted new and existing members, and provided his recommendations to the Club’s CEO and Board of Directors. Bruce’s proposals were received with overwhelming praise. All recommendations were implemented by the Club and a Director of Sales was hired to ensure the momentum was maintained.

Impressed with Bruce’s outstanding performance, CEO Michael Kaile invited Bruce in back in the Fall to transfer his expertise and knowledge to the new Director. “Bruce is an exceptional young man. He did a first class job and we were very pleased with his work,” commented Mr. Kaile. The Terminal City Club anticipates hiring more exceptional students like Bruce through Sauder’s MBA Internship Program and Sauder looks forward to a long-lasting partnership with the Club.

Company Profile

Established in 1892, the Terminal City Club is one of Canada’s most distinguished private clubs with a reputation for excellence worldwide. Members utilize the club’s extensive facilities for business and personal activities. Facilities include private boardrooms, a 4-Star boutique hotel, a fitness centre, and 4 restaurants: the Lions Pub, 1897 Fine Dining Room, The Grill, and Cuvée Wine Bar. The Club also holds a wide variety of social events for its members on an ongoing basis.

I can only say that the experience of having an MBA student was a huge success, one we intend to repeat and one I would recommend to others.