Pre-quarantine, London’s stature of hierarchy was in full force, with an abundance of new and enticing offerings in London’s patriarchal West-End, particularly Pall Mall and Mayfair, a labyrinth of Private members clubs, whom entice their club attendees by vigorous application processes, and by attributes of the clubs defining societal position.
However, the past 7 seven weeks has shown a shift from separation to communities from all walks of life, battling and standing together as one, united in praising our NHS and voluntary delivery workers providing food and medical supplies.
As a private membership holder, I see positive attributes of change that may well affect the luxury market going forward, a mere few months ago I would attend regular member only events and share exemplary gastronomic experiences with fellow member friends, pigeonholed into a small yet impactful society I began to form relationships that were beholden to a status of being in attendance of such a highly regarded club. Noting that now our everyday conversations are usually with those in our household, with family’s living further afield and Zoom meetings, it now seems a transparent process of realizing who and what fundamentally matters if life.
Going forward once the traffic light system has been implemented and we are allowed to visit our favourite hotspots again, I question whether people’s lockdown mind-sets will be ever present or will slipping back into pre-normality happen momentarily.
Members clubs distinguished guests may see impacts needed to regain lost profits and innovative strategies to ride out the fear factor mind-set, could this be in form of an influx of international membership applications? Perhaps from Chinese consumers who are already showing signs of economic recovery and whom represent 35% of the worlds luxury market. Perchance even that of domestic members heightened environmental and social consciousness, the need for clubs to engage in more sustainable and societal impacts, re thinking and adopting more ethical offerings.
The Covid-19 response can become the catalyst of change for private members clubs, entrance of new applicants with a well-rounded contingent-aware mind-set, and a new cohort of luxury customers. The hospitality sector should become a strength once more when the current situation has stabilized, with lessons learnt in resilience, crisis management and community bonding.