At the Bel-Air Bay Club, an imaginative team is making full use of all that its management and reservations software has to offer.
Samantha LaDue, Director of Communications at the scenic Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on the shores of Malibu, is ever-alert to new ways of facilitating, streamlining and maximizing the ease and efficiency of the club’s internal and external communication processes.
So when Roger Lindquist, Western Region Sales Manager for ForeTees club management and reservations software solutions, responded to an inquiry from LaDue (whom he had known as a customer of his previous employer) about providing website services for her club, he was confident that the ForeTees system could not only expand and improve the club’s communication process, but that LaDue had the imagination and initiative to get the most out of it. And as it turned out, he was correct on both counts.
Expanding from the Web
Beginning a little over two years ago, the first step was for the ForeTees design team and LaDue to create a more vibrant, flexible and user-friendly website for the club. Once that was up and running, a sales platform was added to not only help the club’s catering and membership staff promote and execute events, but also to keep members and guests better informed about all of the activities at the property.
Today, membership activity tracking, event marketing and scheduling, paperwork reduction, membership and committee communications, and the sales capabilities of the club have all improved exponentially. And LaDue and her team have become so proficient in the system’s use that they have discovered applications even the ForeTees designers may not have envisioned.
Handling the needs of the busy, 850-membership club often requires that the Bel-Air Bay Club staff must make changes to the web page, or for how the system handles internal communications, on the fly. There may be no time to contact the vendor to create needed changes or to walk the client through how to make them. Avoiding that step, LaDue says, is one major advantage to the ForeTees system.
“In our industry, there is a trend for clubs to feel they need to reach out to a third party to make a change with a system or perform routine adjustments,” she says. “With the ForeTees system, I can take control of a page and change it myself.
“For instance, if we want to promote our dining business, I can move the dining reservations space to the top of the page, or promote specials. We can add individual pages to the website for each of our committees, and control who can see those and what they can see.
“We also have a pretty robust survey system that you can use all by yourself,” LaDue adds. “For instance, we do an enormous 4th of July event where we’ve hit over 2,000 people in some years. We were able to develop the entire reservation system for that online this year.
“There are a lot of good tools in the system,” she continues. “We do our election voting for the annual meeting, and it’s far more effective than paper votes. The administrative team saves a huge amount of paperwork. With our Customer Management System, we can store an incredible amount of information on our members, [to] show participation in club events, what committees they may want to join, their likes and dislikes, etc.
“The ForeTees team designed the software so the system will auto-load information we’ve been given before to a member’s record, so you always have a complete and up-to-date account,” LaDue notes. “On the salesforce platform, there’s a quick and easy way to send an e-mail thank-you.
“Being able to do those kinds of things right away is incredibly helpful in building trust and rapport with members,” she says. “We’ve also added two live video cameras to our web page, so people can see, in real time, what the weather’s like at the club, where to park, or how crowded it is.”
All of these examples illustrate success in implementing ForeTees’ primary goal—defined by Lindquist as “to provide a broader set of administrative tools”—for how its system should be used by clients. That goal has clearly been reached at Bel-Air Bay Club—and Lindquist is especially pleased with how the stars aligned in this particular application.
“Sam [LaDue] is about as good as it gets on the proficiency scale,” he says. “In a lot of ways, she’s taken a good system and made it even better.”
Perhaps best of all, from LaDue’s point of view, is how all of the changes in the club’s communication system have been made without being disruptive or creating difficulties for the membership. “When people don’t really notice that internal systems have changed, that means you did it right,” she says.