Vendor Relationship Development Strategy

Challenge: A well respected city club with athletic, lodging and food & beverage operations felt it had never fully developed its relationships with the many vendors with whom they did business on a regular basis.  Additionally, they found it challenging to manage the frequent meeting requests that came from the vendors, all seeking to promote their products through special offers and deals that were, for the most part, a poor fit with the club’s target audience.

The Club’s F & B’s facilities included a fine dining restaurant, a grill and a separate bar with foodservice.  The catering facilities could accommodate groups up to 200 and hosted 175 events per month.  The Club also featured a full service spa, one of the city’s finest squash programs and a recently upgraded health and fitness facility in addition to 65 guest rooms and suites.

The Club’s 2500 members and guests were high income, politically connected individuals and therefore represented an attractive target for vendors wishing to market upper end products.  The key was to create a platform where the vendor’s products and promotions could be effectively paired with the Club’s demographics.

Solution:  an audit was performed with staff leaders in each operating group along with the club’s accounting and procurement function, to identify which vendors and products represented the most viable candidates to be invited to participate in the vendor development program.  Vendors were provided detailed information on the club’s programs and events.  Each vendor was encouraged to revisit their marketing programs, and their products, and come forward with ways in which they could sell more products via an effective match with a club event or program.

Each vendor received a summary of the Club’s program goals:

  • Enhance member experience by matching products that fit the member demographic
  • Enhance staff training utilizing subject matter experts from the vendor’s company
  • Increase the amount of promotional marketing to deploy in support of club events and programs that would incorporate the vendor’s products.  

Results: for the first time, the Club was able to align their events with vendor-supported programs over the course of an entire calendar year.  The vendor development program allowed the Club to institute ongoing programs that offered value to members, incremental profits to the Club and greater sales volume to vendors.