Without a doubt, we’re emerging from one of the most unprecedented times for our society. And while the situation is still evolving, one thing we know is that the technology we have available has better equipped us to deal with these events. But these changes are not temporary.
We’ve discovered that the value we uncovered these last 12 months is perpetual, allowing us to deliver better engaging experiences for both our members and our staff.
Clubs are now empowered to make data-driven decisions and develop experiences that enable members to pursue and enjoy the club lifestyle anywhere, with the frictionless user experiences they’ve come to expect. Technology like Mobile Point of Sale for tee times and outdoor dining, Mobile Ordering for to-go, curbside pick-up, ready-to-make meals and grocery ordering, self-serve kiosks and check-in for golf and other activities, and improved reservation systems for managing the course to courts, fitness center, and pool will continue to be used as we ‘return to normal’.
Below are 5 ways communications and technology have advanced through the pandemic, setting up new value to retain your members and staff, while still delivering the lifestyle, value, and brand of the club.
1. Using Data to Justify Future Investment
General Managers can access enhanced reporting, benchmark and compare trends in spend, club utilization, online ordering, online booking, and timeliness of payments to understand member engagement and make decisions on club accessibility and operations. They can gain better insight into the number of members utilizing courses, courts, pools, and fitness centers. This allows the club to identify future opportunities for expansion and justify investments in new initiatives.
2. Building Your Infrastructure for the Experience Age
While we have talked about and believe that we are entering the “experience age,” what that ultimately amounts to in many ways is communication. Clubs need to communicate with members more than ever because as more non-club facilities begin to reopen, it’s imperative to keep those connections and members engaged. This applies to your staff as well. With tools like email marketing and SMS, virtual communication can be more frequent, consistent, and relevant. Creating virtual tours with drone footage or Google’s Virtual Tour Creator means your staff can still market the amenities of the club, even when a prospective member can’t travel onsite.
3. Simplifying Food Ordering
As a society, we’ve become extremely proficient in online food ordering. A tap of an app, a few quick swipes, and within 30-60 minutes your food is delivered. In the last 12 months, clubs catapulted themselves into the aggregator market alongside Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub, and Postmates. Offering the same low-friction experience is expected by members and next to necessary now. These mobile orders can be sent directly to the kitchen, ensuring accuracy and streamlining the fulfillment of the orders. But the advantage of the club over the aggregators is the ability to personalize the experience. Following up with messages after the order is placed, picked up, and a reasonable time afterward goes a long way towards putting your club’s personal stamp on the experience. Adding their favorite or frequently ordered menu items to their records is great for them and can help you personalize the experience when those same members dine at the club as well.
4. Enhancing Decision-Making Insight
Using software and mobile-first technology is critical to delivering a safe and personalized experience. As it turns it out, applying this tech also enables data-driven decisions. These integrated systems spread throughout the club feed information from every touchpoint. With access and a focus on key metrics including revenue, sales, profit, engagement, attrition, utilization, and much more, clubs can shift away from making long-term strategic decisions using short-term information derived under stress. The result is a stronger balance sheet, more engaged members, and empowered staff.
5. Predicting At-Risk to Better Retain Members
This might be one of the most exciting parts for many clubs. For years it was difficult to understand who was really participating at your club and determine which members may be at risk of leaving at your club using real data. Now with new data points and tools like predictive analytics, clubs can determine member engagement, quickly predict and identify unengaged members, and take action before they leave. With all of that in mind, it’s smart to pull reports and look at your existing data before you begin. In fact, now with a fresh beginning is a great time to establish new baselines and identify KPI’s that will impact your club and the member experience there the most. Pay special attention to the experience (X) data that can help you differentiate your club and your brand of member experience. Learn more about these experiences age and reports that will have the biggest impact on your future.
The last 12 months have been a trying time for clubs. You’ve persevered, pivoted your programs and technology, and been the social lifeline for your members. As we return to pre-pandemic activity, don’t lose the relationships and engagement you’ve worked so hard to develop. Leverage your new technology and programming to retain those members.