Top Takeaways on Club Technology from the HFTP 2022 Annual Convention: Part 2

We hope you found value in our recap of the first club technology session presented at HFTP’s 2022 Annual Convention.

The second club technology session was presented on Friday, September 16 by Bill Boothe, titled “Improve Member Services with a Little Help from Technology”.

In this interactive session, Mr. Boothe brought a list of member-facing technologies and polled the audience to discover which technologies they have implemented, along with a discussion of the pro’s and con’s of each.

Here are our top takeaways from this discussion.

1. Most clubs in attendance had implemented mobile apps.
Around 90% of the clubs at the session reported that they currently offer a club mobile application as a digital amenity to their members. The most popular features are the club calendar along with reservations for events, tee times, and dining.

2. However, some clubs’ mobile phone policies hinder adoption of mobile technologies.
At some premier clubs, mobile phones are not permitted, complicating their effort to implement mobile functionality such as apps and text messaging. However, most clubs in the audience had some sort of hybrid phone policy, such as allowing for digital usage but not speaking on the phone or using the phone only in certain designated areas of the club. These policies have evolved over time to catch up with our modern technologies.

3. Online and mobile food ordering is waning in popularity.
Few clubs in the audience had implemented mobile food ordering. Most who have implemented this functionality use a simple mobile app that requires manual entry from club staff to put orders into the point-of-sale system. But usage has dropped significantly since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. One club mentioned that in 2020, they were seeing as many as 400 orders a week, but now receive only about 25 mobile orders per week. Overall, interest in this feature was low amongst the audience.

4. Beacons and geofencing see low utilization, despite past hype.
A few years ago, beacons and geofencing were being billed as the next big thing in club technology, but today, very few clubs have implemented them. Still, the clubs that are using this technology report major benefits to the member experience. For example, one club that is using a mobile app in combination with geofencing technology doesn’t use tee times, but still provides anticipatory service by pre-loading member bags onto carts when they receive a notification that the member has arrived within the geofenced golf area. This was met by mixed interest from the audience.

5. Few clubs are using text message notifications, but interest is high.
Among the clubs in the audience, few were currently using text messaging in their member communications. The clubs who are using text reported high member satisfaction with the feature, and the audience seemed interested in learning more. We at Cobalt have seen interest in our integrated text messaging capabilities, which can provide appointment confirmations, reminders, and transactional receipts when implemented alongside our reservations and POS systems.

To discuss how technology can improve your member services, please contact us today.

Stephanie Castro
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