Following the announcement of the change in the One Hotspur membership package offering and price increase, representatives from the Trust met the Club’s Head of Membership and Subscriptions and Head of Supporter Engagement on 18 May to understand more about the fan consultation process that led to the changes.
Anne-Marie Dargan – Head of Membership and Subscriptions, THFC
Levi Harris – Head of Supporter Engagement, THFC
Anthoulla Achilleos – Vice Chair, THST
Henry Ellis – Board Member, THST
Koonal Shah – Secretary, THST
The changes to pricing are outlined below. The Club highlighted there have not been any changes to pricing in recent years.
Adult OH+ Membership
Payment by Direct Debit Credit Card
2022/23 season £48 £53
2023/24 season £55 £60
Adult OH Membership
Payment by Direct Debit Credit Card
2022/23 season £43 £48
2023/24 season £45 £50
- The above does not include the £1.50 Ticketmaster admin fee.
- The Junior membership price remains unchanged.
KEY CHANGES TO MEMBERSHIP OFFERING
One Hotspur+ Membership changes:
- An increase of £5 in the retail voucher (now £20)
- £15 gift voucher to use on visitor attractions (eg. Stadium Tour, the Dare Skywalk or The Edge)
- Priority booking access to the new karting experience
- Access to a new One Hotspur Members’ lounge during third party events
One Hotspur Membership changes:
- £10 gift voucher to use on visitor attractions (eg. Stadium Tour, the Dare Skywalk or The Edge)
FAN FOCUS GROUPS AND CLUB’S RATIONALE
The Club conducted a series of focus groups in the last few months which included groups from Supporters’ Clubs, international fans, One Hotspur members and Season Ticket holders. Each focus group included around 8 participants. THST were not asked to be involved in this process. THST asked if the Club could share anonymised data from these focus groups. However, the only data available are in the form of video recordings so this would not be possible for data privacy reasons.
Key findings from these focus groups, and rationale for changes are outlined below:
- Beyond access to match tickets, the next most attractive benefit was the retail voucher, so this was increased for One Hotspur+ members.
- 10% off attractions was not seen as a significant benefit so this has been changed to fixed monetary discounts.
- Fans attending third party events report feeling a lack of recognition that the stadium is ‘their home’. This has led to an introduction of a members’ lounge so there is a part of the stadium that belongs to them at third party events.
- There is a lack of awareness of the One Hotspur Moments programme benefits. The Club will be working on how to extend its reach next season and also increase the volume of events and experiences that are delivered through the programme
ISSUES RAISED BY THST
THST raised several points with the Club regarding these changes, with reference to evidence from our 2022 summer survey which was completed by 1,724 One Hotspur and One Hotspur+ members. We emphasised it would have been preferable for the Club to have consulted with us so that we could have shared insights from our own research prior to changes being made instead of after the fact.
A total of 94 per cent of members in our survey said access to match tickets was the most important aspect of membership and our qualitative data showed many want improved access to tickets. THST encouraged the Club to look at how they can improve ticket access and whether there was a way Season Ticket holders who know far in advance that they are unable to attend a fixture could list a ticket early so that it could be accessed in the members’ priority window.
The retail voucher is currently only valid in online stores which means that fans still need to pay shipping costs, which can be especially high, especially for overseas fans. THST asked the Club if use of the retail voucher could be extended to in-person stores. The Club acknowledged that this is common feedback they have received and something they are working on, with technical development required to deliver it. THST also asked if prices in the shop will be increased for the upcoming season. If so, this will offset the added £5 value of the retail voucher (an added value only available to One Hotspur+ members). The Club said they would need to verify outside of this meeting and clarify at a later date.
THST asked the Club to consider whether members see priority access to and lounge access at non-footballing third party events as added value to their membership package and whether they would be willing to pay more for these benefits. THST also highlighted that these benefits require fans to spend more money in order to enjoy them.
THST raised that for many overseas fans these benefits are likely to be of little value, as they have fewer opportunities to visit the stadium in person and incur significant costs when doing so. THST asked the Club to consider a separate scheme that identifies specific benefits for overseas members to access. The Club has acknowledged this and agreed to engage further with us on their plans.
Match day experience benefits
THST asked the Club to consider adding match day experience benefits to the packages to appeal to fans whose primary interest is attending matches, such as a food and drink voucher. The Club stated that such a benefit would need to be weighed up against fans' desire to see shorter queues and quicker service at stadium food and drink outlets, which would be affected by offering vouchers on food and drink.
One Hotspur Moments Programme
The Club noted that within both the One Hotspur and One Hotspur plus memberships there are regular opportunities to win a ‘One Hotspur moment’ through competitions throughout the season. Some examples of these include playing on the pitch and trips to the training ground. THST agreed that the Club need to publicise these opportunities more and suggested the number of ‘One Hotspur moments’ could be increased to further add a sense of belonging and value to being a One Hotspur Member.
End of Meeting Report
We welcome efforts by the Club to understand what One Hotspur members want from their memberships. Focus groups provide a useful insight into the reasons why people hold certain views and the depth of their feelings. However, these should ideally be combined with research using larger samples, which can offer more representative barometers of overall member opinion.
Our own survey research suggests that access to match tickets is by far the most important aspect of membership for One Hotspur members, with discounts rarely mentioned. it is evident from our survey results and the reaction following the membership announcement that many fans would have preferred to see a reduction or freeze in the membership price rather than an increase in benefits that aren’t relevant to them. And given that everyone is affected by the cost-of-living crisis (something the Club acknowledged when announcing the freeze to General Admission Season Ticket prices), it is notable that fans need to spend more money to enjoy most of the benefits on offer. We have shared all this feedback with the Club and call on them to consult more actively with us on future changes and to consult more widely with their One Hotspur members to review the changes they have applied.
25 May 2023