Use technology to boost your club’s bottom line

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By Frank Benzakour 

State-of-the-art technology plays an increasingly important role in club operations by delivering service directly to each member, boosting profitability and increasing member satisfaction and sustainability. Here are some of the key ways clubs can use technology to improve operations. 

 

Software

Cutting-edge software empowers you to manage finances, inventory, activities, memberships and your staff with just a few clicks. You can also use it to:

  • Boost revenue with a mobile app booking system, combined with website integration.  
  • Help run your fitness facility by managing classes and individualized sessions and tracking attendance. 
  • Employ banquet management software to help provide an exceptional banquet and catering experience for members and guests. 
  • Apply real-time data-sharing to link the website, accounting, reservations and point of sale units, streamlining operations with one fully integrated suite.
  • Manage member reservations online, while at the same time, sending confirmations that let members know about other club events.
  • Boost sales, handle marketing, track results, securely process payments, manage employees and member profiles and automate daily tasks like appointment reminders and membership renewals. 
  • Personalize the member experience with automatic emails, server push notifications from the software to an internet device and member check-in features with photo pop-ups so any club employee can call each member by name, even if they never saw them before.  

 

Mobile tech

Every club needs their own mobile app since they make it easier for members to interact and take advantage of all the features, amenities and events the club has to offer. Surveys show that 85 percent of mobile users favor apps over websites. 

Other great ways to utilize mobile tech to enhance club operations include: 

  • Videos on your website and social media platforms to communicate with your members and email newsletters from your club's golf or tennis pro to facilitate engagement and personalize member experiences.
  • Location-based GPS enables the staff to find members anywhere on the property through their mobile devices. That way, members don’t have to be tied down to a specific location to get service. 
  • Radio frequency identification (RFID) placed in a members’ car that alerts the staff the moment a member arrives and improves security. You can also use RFID to find golf carts, golf bags, and lots of other items and belongings.
  • Voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) combined with an IP phone system. This allows you to reach any managers or staff no matter where they are on the property, even in areas with spotty coverage such as the golf course. VoWLAN allows mobile employees to tap into all the features of the IP phone system, including extension dialing and voicemail.
  • Apps that notify members of upcoming events. Such apps can also take tee time bookings and restaurant reservations. 

 Dining

Customer service is of prime importance at club restaurants and bars. Novel tech innovations like iPad menus and mobile POS systems create engaging dining experiences, enhance the level of service and improve member satisfaction. 

Clubs that use digital menus show an increase in check averages for food and beverage sales. This tech also fuels wine and adult beverage sales and that boosts the club's profit margin. Service is faster with mobile POS systems, and more efficient service means the members are likely to dine at the club more often.

With these special tablets taking orders processing point-of-sale transactions the staff is able to beef up service and give the members their undivided attention. Additionally, wireless self-service kiosks (or on the golf carts) offer members the convenience of placing an order from the golf course, so they can then pick it up during or after their round. 

 

Health and fitness facilities

Virtual reality (VR) is a hot trend in fitness. From treadmills with TVs to entertain members as they work out, to apps that present visual experiences for workout assistance, VR offers members an experience they won’t get in a traditional gym, so they’ll keep coming back. 

Immersive VR games for exercising are available. For example, ICAROS will transport your members from a punishing, sweaty workout to a cool, underwater world. 

Another great tech tool is live-streaming personal training sessions, yoga or spinning classes. It's a great benefit for your members when they can’t make it into the club and another way to exceed their expectations and boost member loyalty.   

An additional feature members can't get in most commercial gyms is 3D body scanning, so consider offering it in your fitness center. Members look at a 3D avatar of their body, which provides a valuable baseline. The fitness staff can use the scan to put together tailored workout and nutritional diet plans for members.

 

Benzakour is a Certified Club Manager and Certified Chief Executive and the author of "12 Golden Keys to Hospitality Excellence.”  

 

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