Connecting and creating a great member experience has always been about information. Historically that information came from direct contact and interactions with members, supplemented by any tidbits that staff members would share with each other.
The digital era changed all of that. First individual areas of the club could see historical data; golf management could see their information, and food and beverage had insights into their records. Now integrated solutions enable club managers – and members – to see across the entire club to view all of the activities. As Happy Hollow Club goes forward with Clubessential, that comprehensive information is what Gil Russell, Assistant General Manager there is looking forward to. Following is an excerpt from a recent interview.
Q: What's your favorite thing about Clubessential?
Gil Russell: It's the reporting that we have at our fingertips. My oversight is all of the food and beverage. Getting that information into our staff's hands has been something that I have really enjoyed. Those automatic reports are coming out and they're hitting their inboxes. That allows us to focus on upselling. That's been the greatest benefit of Clubessential – having that real-time data. I really look forward to having one year under our belt. We're going to continue to create that data and use it to our benefit. I really think it enhances the ability to connect with our members. Whether it's the mobile app, our website, or the cross-promotion, when you're on the T sheet, you're seeing other things and not just golf. And so it's triggering members, ‘Hey, there are other things that are going on at the club that I may not know about because I only go to the tee sheet to make my tee time.’ Those are opportunities that I really look forward to and it's going to certainly help us continue to promote all of these events.
If our focus is on the membership, how many people didn't read the specials email that had other events. They're just making tee times or making a tennis court reservation or a pickleball court reservation. We're getting that information in front of them to say, there's a yoga class. There's a Tai Chi class or there's a kids event. That's the goal for us is to make sure that we're not missing promoting any of these events for the members to take advantage of.
Q: What’s an example of some of the successes you’ve had increasing engagement with events?
Gil Russell: We've partnered with our vendors to bring in a whiskey barrel every year. We just had another one that was from Woodford Reserve. Those events are selling out for us. It's been really cool to see that demographic change and who's attending those events. There are so many new faces on those signups and the people are showing up. That's a testament to getting that information out to them because we have yet to have one of those events that have not been full. The wine dinners that we have done have been filled as well and it's creating a demand. When those communications go out they're jumping to make sure they don't miss out.
Q: Security is on everyone’s mind. You mentioned that the solution has improved security at the pool, that’s not something most would expect. Can you explain?
Gil Russell: One of the major areas of focus for us was with the new activity center. We had a pool check-in area and because we're so large and surrounded by houses, people figured out that they could come in, give a member number, and just walk in. Having the ability to pull up photos of every dependent and every member as they check into the pool has enhanced our security and the confidence of the members. When they’re on the pool deck, you know they’re verified by our staff to say, ‘Hey, these are members.’
And if they're guests we know exactly who they're with. That has been very beneficial because you can't put all of that information into a lifeguard that's here for three or four or months. Now they have all that information as soon as they type in that member number and check that individual in. It helps them remember names as well. When you get a face and a name you're more successful than if you just get a number. That is how you create that experience for our members. It's great to see little Johnny back at the pool today. He's here seven days a week. We get to know those families even more.
Q: How does Clubessential reporting make your planning easier AND enhance the member experience?
Gil Russell: The reporting tools that we have through Clubessential put the information in all of our manager's hands. That information is only as good as how you use it, but it's really giving them the tools to make better decisions as a manager. For me, I can always look back to what were my daily sales on this day, what were the covers. When you're going through the last year and trying to plan, having that information at your fingertips is very, very helpful.
I think looking at T sheets and making notes and referring back to that information, is very helpful to our managers. The only way we can impact their lives and create better service is to be more present. If our managers have more time to be with our members and connect with them, that's creating an experience that they can't find somewhere else. Having a platform that's easy to use for them that puts them in that position to create and foster those relationships changes how we do our business.
The More You Know …
As Gil Russell states, information is “only as good as how you use it.” But it can be a real catalyst for an accelerated member experience in the right hands. Now not only does the Happy Hollow Club staff have additional insights into member behaviors, likes, and dislikes but because of the increased efficiency across the board, they have more time to be present and spend interacting with them. That’s something they can’t get anywhere else.
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