Last December, when we drafted our 2020 trend predictions, we certainly didn’t account for a global pandemic. However, all of the trends identified did come to fruition, even if it was out of COVID necessity.

Certainly 2021 is full of promise, and we look forward to seeing which trends deliver over the next 12 months. As tech becomes more mainstream with members in their everyday life, there’s an expectation that this will permeate into their experience at the club as well. Members now demand performance statistics and feedback on their game, including velocity of swings and performance tips. Certain technological developments, such as hydrometers that monitor and provide real-time data on irrigation flow rates and usage on golf courses, are becoming common. And now, more and more clubs are implementing more technology tailored for the industry in order to deliver better service. 

These systems are used to record and analyze member needs, usage patterns and satisfaction levels. But as clubs continue to evolve in the Experience Age, so is the technology available. At Clubessential, we researched the top technology trends expected to make an impact across a multitude of industries. Below are the Top Ten Trends we believe will have the greatest impact on the private club industry.

1. Internet of Behavior: The Internet of Behavior (IoB) is a trend that allows clubs to capture, analyze, understand, and monetize member behavior. Collective behavior across your club’s mobile, kiosk check-ins, and other member digital body language will drive the business decisions across your club. This will impact future club offerings like new revenue streams through food delivery trends ala by Blue Apron. Course, and other club maintenance will also become more scientific with this utilization behavior.

2. Multiexperience: Multiexperience replaces “technology-literate people'' with “people-literate technology”. But this is so much more than improved user interface and ‘easy to use tech’. In this trend, technology evolves from a single point of interaction to include multisensory and multi touchpoint interfaces like wearables. For example, Domino’s Pizza created an experience beyond app-based ordering that includes autonomous vehicles, a pizza tracker and smart speaker communications. Club fitness and coaching will be facilitated by VR and other tailored fitness apps. ‘Play with a coach’ robotic interactions will also make its way onto the golf course. 

3. Total experience: Going one step further, multiexperience, will unite with customer experience, employee experience, and user experience to focus on the Total Experience. Online reservation systems integrated with your club’s app, enhanced by geofencing will power one-to-one auto-communications, check-in processes, and offers. These technologies will also integrate with the tools used by your club staff, like tablets, to guide and engage the continued experience. We’ll see apps shift from transactional tools to become more community engagement driven, allowing for interaction. As individuals become more disenfranchised with social media, they’ll begin to turn more to their tribes, and they’ll have multiple tribes, found throughout their member experience apps.

4. Privacy-enhancing computation: With all this talk of technology privacy-enhancing computation will be imperative. Clubs will need privacy processes and systems in place to provide trusted environments to process and analyze sensitive data. A new process, cybersecurity mesh, will create a scalable, flexible, and reliable cybersecurity control. This will allow for the identity and location of a person or thing to define their own security perimeter.  Cybersecurity is evolving to 1:1 experiences as well.

5. Anywhere operations: New business and operating models have been designed, allowing clubs to reach their members anywhere, enable their employees anywhere, and use digital technologies to deliver services anywhere, both on and off club grounds. Clubs will continue to allow contactless checkout, use of sensors to enforce social distancing, management of club operations and personnel through an app, and engagement among members and staff through their mobile device. Anywhere operations is so much more than online food ordering and reservations.

6. Intelligent Business: It’s not that business hasn’t been ‘smart’, but the degree to which clubs can derive insight, even in the most uncertain of times, is improving exponentially. Intelligent business is a technology trend that’s capitalizing on the modularity of current club systems, and using the data to drive autonomy, orchestration, and discovery. Clubs not only have more access to information, they now have the ability to augment that information with new insights, frameworks and infrastructure to accommodate the ever-changing club and member dynamic. Clubs can use this insight to navigate uncertainty as well as identify trends and member behavior to create new club services.

7. Hyperautomation: We learned a lot in 2020, and the need to pivot quickly, and automate where possible, were 2 key takeaways.  Hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the club. No single tool can replace humans, so hyperautomation involves a combination of tools, including process automation, intelligent business systems and AI, with a goal of increasingly better informed decision making. But rapidly identifying, vetting, and automating as many approved business and IT processes as possible is easier said than done. Hyperautomation extends across both the technology that can be automated, as well as to the sophistication of the automation. When considering technology, clubs step through a process of ‘discover’, ‘analyze’, ‘design’, ‘automate’, ‘measure’, ‘monitor’, and ‘reassess’ to identify a fully unified system that accomplishes their objectives. Fragmented tech is so 2019.

8. Democratization: Democratization of technology provides your employees with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training. It focuses on four key areas — application development, data and analytics, design and knowledge — and is often referred to as “citizen access,”. Your employees not only need access to the technology and data, but also the education and best practices to get the most out of it. Ensure you’re working with technology companies that partner with you on democratization. It’s unfortunate that this is just now becoming a trend.

9. Transparency and traceability. The evolution of technology is creating a trust crisis. As members become more aware of how their data is being collected and used, clubs are also recognizing the increasing liability of storing and gathering the data. Additionally, AI and Machine Learning are increasingly used to make decisions, evolving the trust crisis and driving the need for governance.  Watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This trend requires a focus on six key elements of trust: Ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence and consistency. Legislation, like the CASL and  GDPR, are being enacted around the world, driving evolution and laying the ground rules for clubs. 

10. Autonomous things. Autonomous things, which include drones, robots, appliances, and yes, even self-driving golf carts, exploit AI to perform tasks usually done by humans. This technology operates on a spectrum of intelligence ranging from semiautonomous to fully autonomous and across a variety of environments including air, sea and land. Autonomous things will also move from stand-alone to collaborative swarms, such as the drone swarms used during the Winter Olympic Games in 2018. 


Looking Ahead

While we're certainly ready to put 2020 behind us, we're definitely looking forward to the possibilities and opportunities that are sure to come over the next 12 months. Stay up to date with all of the lastest from Clubessential by subscribing today.