July'20 Message from Director Burcin Turkkan

Burcin Turkkan

Director, Skål International

            Dear Fellow Skålleagues,

            It is my privilege to serve as your Director of Membership Development, Strategy & Innovation on the Skål International Executive Committee since January 2020. We have started the year with a Membership Strategic Plan that outlined a Map, to strategically grow our membership with focus on retention, define our strengths and weaknesses internally/globally and strategize our growth in new markets.

            The pandemic has hit us all hard around the globe. Despite the pandemic, we at Skål International have been able to follow the plan with some adjustments, work on retention with our clubs, recruit new members and even start new clubs!

            The pandemic has reiterated the fact that Skål International plays a vital role in connecting people, providing information, assisting members’ careers, and furthering their industries or professions. As technological, social, and economic shifts change how people work and engage with each other, we in Skål International have to find new ways to connect with future and potential members.

            There has been numerous researches conducted on to understand how these shifts are affecting the ways associations and their members are thinking about membership and discussing the future of associations worldwide. Here are a few of the trends the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has listed as for solutions that work.


            The 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report found innovation to be an important factor in positive membership trends. The associations with positive outcomes in membership also reported higher innovation scores. In fact, 81% of associations with membership increases in the last year were significantly more likely to have a culture that supports innovation. Those associations reporting declines in membership were significantly more likely to indicate that their association culture does not support innovation.

            Membership Models

            Association members respond well to more options. Data from the 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report indicates that adopting a new membership model may boost membership. Some of the new membership models that associations are trying include tiered memberships, adding special interest memberships like student or retired professional memberships, group memberships, and combination memberships that allow people to join as individuals or as part of an organization. Combination memberships, in particular, have grown more popular in recent years.

            Generation gap

            The associations seeing growth, according to the 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, are those embracing Generation X and Millennials. Associations that reported increases in their one-year and five-year membership numbers were more likely to have Gen X and Millennials make up a larger percentage of their membership. Conversely, those associations that didn’t report growth in the past year were more likely to have a higher proportion of Baby Boomers as their members.

            I am confident to say that Skål International has been successful in adapting these suggestions that are recommended to see continued success. We have been working on innovation starting with Digital Transformation and opening the platform to membership with Webinars/ Job Platforms/ Benefits Platform which initiates B2B for members. We offer different Membership Models and over 35 membership Categories that should help our clubs to diversify their membership and increase their numbers. We have shifted our focus to Young Professionals in the past few years as well knowing, accepting that we need to stay close and connected to the future leaders of our industry. 

            To assure the continuing success especially during these difficult times we need to continue to dedicate our resources to innovation, provide our members with the content that they want, continue to offering membership models that meets members’ needs, and appeal to the up-and-coming generation of young professionals are attracted to be a part of Skål International so we can ensure our future membership numbers remain solid.

            Skålleagues; let’s turn this pandemic into an opportunity to grow our clubs and membership!

            We do have the resources and the platforms today that Travel and Tourism industry professionals need to stay connected; educate themselves and grow their career and/or businesses.  This is the time when each and every professional in the industry needs to stay connected and be a part of a large international organization like Skål International. When the pandemic is over, those who have been a part of a large networking group like Skål International will be the ones who will be able to recover the fastest. I encourage you to reach out to your industry friends and invite them to join the world’s largest networking organization; connecting Tourism globally, with over 86 years of history and the most up to date digital transformation that is available today in the market,  offering the unique opportunity of doing business amongst friends! 

            I look forward for the opportunity to see you all in person again as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted. Please stay safe and stay connected!

            Always at your service and here to assist you with any questions.

            In Friendship and Skål,

            Burcin Turkkan 

            Director, Skål International