He just wanted clubs to focus on their members again, and their community. ‘This what to think about when talking about clubs – community, belonging, being,’ he stresses. ‘Yet a lot of independent club owners find that they’re increasingly occupied by the bits members can’t see, and thus they neglect, or can’t afford to invest in, what the members need – fun, entertainment, service and experience!’
But Cole’s ambitions go beyond a platform that takes the effort out of hospitality logistics: ‘Done in the right way, it can also help clubs to generate revenues and bring the international to the local scene.’
He plans to use the clout of his growing number of international members to collaborate with brands, and cultural institutions to use the ecosystem of clubs as powerful exhibition and event spaces, targeting a discerning, challenging and inquisitive global audience. ‘It also means you can tour the kind of culture programmes, artists, DJs, authors and performers that smaller, independent neighbourhood clubs may not have been able to afford. Through the Collectio platform, negotiations can be done and programmes organised at a more manageable and negotiable scale.’
But as Cole explains, this could just be the beginning of the Collectio journey. Naturally, he understands that property developers, faced with the on-going reality of TWAT days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the office), and global organisations that are keen to consider what community means in the new Work States landscape, could also avail of the service.
‘They talk about shopping, work and retail precincts in community terms, and see them as social spaces or experiential hubs, but they don’t manage them as such. It’s still seen to be a marketing exercise – the food truck, the pop-up labradoodle parlour, the breakfast juice bar – then they expect office workers, retailers and precinct users to do the rest.
‘It won’t work like that. These places really have changed, and like hotels or private members’ clubs, they have to be managed, programmed or considered as cultural venues in their own right that need to be produced, directed and orchestrated, not filled with food wagons or noodle stalls.’
You can find out more about Peter Cole and the Collectio Group on my Back to the F**kture podcast.