Colin Read, CEO/Co-Founder of Whoosh, a club operations software company, talks about how clubs can use technology to benefit both members and staffers.
By Colin Read, CEO/Co-Founder, Whoosh
Private clubs have historically lagged in adopting new technologies, citing beliefs that range from “tradition” to “member preference.” Often the decision being made by leadership is to maintain the status quo. Much of the software that is being utilized by clubs is over 20 years old! Therefore, it was unsurprising that so many clubs suffered inefficiencies during the COVID-era influx of members using private club amenities. This dramatic increase in member usage forced some clubs away from the pen-and-paper days of old toward tech solutions, which were, unfortunately, already outdated. Yet, what some clubs fail to understand is that compromising their technology means compromising their member experience—something to be avoided at all costs. Therefore, the future of technology within the club space necessitates a modern digital experience that benefits both members and staff.
Move to the Cloud
The first step to introducing technology to your club is to shift from on-premise servers to the cloud. On-premise servers require a significant investment in hardware, software, and IT support, and they limit the ability to access data and services from anywhere. With cloud computing, clubs can access their data and services from anywhere, at any time, on any device.
This means that your staff is untethered from their desk or shop and can move about the club, getting more valuable face-time with members. In addition, the cost of cloud computing is often lower than on-premise solutions, saving clubs not only time and physical space but also money.
Finally, with cloud computing, everything you enter is automatically backed up and saved, preventing a total loss of data in the event of an emergency or disaster. All of this begs the question: Why wouldn’t you move to the cloud?
Respect Your Members’ Time
The overwhelming majority of your members use a smartphone regularly, and expect the value and convenience that they offer. That should not end when it comes to their club. Through a well-designed and intuitive app, members should be able to access their account, book reservations (golf, tennis, fitness, etc.), sign up for events, provide mobile ordering, and, generally, make it easier to interact with the club and its staff. Instead of calling the shop or emailing staff, by offering a member app, you are showing that you value and respect their time—you want their member experience to be simple and seamless.
Invisible Technology Enhances Hospitality
Creating an app or updating your website benefits members directly in the way they interact with your club. However, technology can also enable better member experiences and staff interactions as a direct result of the technology that members don’t see–invisible technology.
Invisible technology refers to technology-enabled solutions that are used by staff and seamlessly integrate into club operations. This is a system that remains unseen by your members but is utilized by your staff to power the best possible experiences for your members. Invisible technology helps you store important information about your members: their photos, likes, dislikes, where they visit within the club, food allergies, preferences, and so much more.
This data is stored in one convenient location, accessible anywhere in the club at any time by staff–a veritable “cheat sheet” to help them be excellent at their jobs and anticipate the needs of the membership. How does a private club with hundreds to thousands of members still provide a personalized, hospitable experience for each and every club member? Invisible technology.
The right technology can save your staff over 20 hours per week in every department. Read that again. The right technology creates an automation of workflows, integrating with your other cloud-based tech stack to ensure that your club maintains a high-level of staff efficiency. With geo-tracking, you can know where any on-premise member is at any time. You can locate their cart, or their smartphone, with a simple click. Mr. Johnson likes a hot dog at the turn? You can have that information. Mrs. Jones is allergic to peanuts? You should have that information. Experiencing high turnover from seasonal staff changes? Don’t worry: member data remains available and visible to all new staff.
Private club technology has moved into the 21st century and the possibilities are both endless and exciting. We are seeing clubs advance from pen-and-paper to some of the most advanced software available, and it’s changing the game for them. It’s exciting to think about what is next for both the staff and member experiences at clubs, and the tech only continues to improve. It’s imperative that we understand that technology and hospitality are interconnected. The best member experiences are driven by great staff interactions, so let’s give our teams the right technology to do the job and make your club the most hospitable environment for members to experience.
About the Author
Colin Read is the CEO and co-Founder of Whoosh, a modern club operations software company recently recognized as one of the most innovative technologies in the club industry. He is a 4x founder with experience scaling companies in hospitality, automotive and telecom. Colin can be reached at [email protected].
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