Private clubs keep collecting dues, but offer new perks to keep members happy

Soho House and other members-only clubs have bills to pay, too

Nick Jones, Founder and C.E.O. of Soho House (Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images, Soho House)
Nick Jones, Founder and C.E.O. of Soho House (Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images, Soho House)

Private clubs including Soho House continue to collect steep dues from members, even though many have had to close up shop because of the pandemic.

Soho House is offering only in-house credits for the months the club is inaccessible as it tries to keep cash flowing to cover expenses, according to Bloomberg.

Not everyone is happy, but other members say they understand the Los Angeles-based members club has to continue to generate cash flow.

Soho House, which was planning a major expansion late last year after raising $100 million, isn’t the only one still asking members to pay in full. Clubs are approaching the situation in their own ways.

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Otto Car Club in Scottsdale, Arizona — a club that offers vehicle storage, club space, and concierge services — is charging full dues and offering small group drives for members, but in order to maintain social distancing members aren’t allowed to leave their cars.

In order to retain members, Classic Car Club in New York is allowing members with less-expensive non-driving memberships to access the club’s impressive fleet of supercars and classic rides. Those members typically are only allowed access to the clubhouse.

The club is also running a racing series on its high-tech track simulators; staff spend around three hours disinfecting each car used by members. The club has seen about 30 members drop their memberships, but co-owner Michael Prichinello said applications are up.

San Vicente Bungalows in L.A. is allowing members to suspend their memberships and use dues to cover future months. London’s wine enthusiast club 67 Pall Mall Club is crediting members for unused months and has created virtual wine tasting events for members. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch