By Dave White
The churn continues…as technology for the private club industry marches on!
Our annual Technology issue (September/ October) focuses on our contributors and vendors, as they give us their opinions of what and where and the why of today’s club technologies, including some by way of case studies.
They’re telling us where we’re at and where they think we’re headed. It’s their opinions, and unquestionably technological change continues to happen quickly for private clubs. We think their viewpoints can cast some light on your discussions with your technology suppliers…as well as your members.
Again the many technological companies who service the private club industry, tell us their stories about software, hardware and the many innovations they provide for their private club clients…all of course aimed at deepening the members experience for private club members.
But my, how the world…the private club world, is changing.
Not all that long ago, the use of cell phones, smartphones and other technological pieces were verboten in most, if not all, private clubs.
Check your phone in at the front door often appeared as the ‘modus operandi.’ There can be no disturbing the culture and years old tradition.
Today the difference is remarkable, as clubs work with their memberships to make their facilities and amenities that much more appealing, simply because that’s how members, their families and clubs want it, and are functioning today.
Likely one of the biggest steps has come through the information flow from clubs to their members…technology has allowed members to become so much better informed in a variety of ways, and it is also allowing clubs to better serve their members.
Bob Bodman, for example, writes about the fact that a ‘convenient, secure, club-specific, cloud-based integrated database system” is the most effective systems for managing club documents.
That’s a far cry from the years of paper trails that club staff had to weed through to find something of importance.
Clubs for years have been laggards when it comes to adopting the latest and greatest, and that has led Bill Boothe to ask the question, “So what should we do?” Bill suggests the answer isn’t quite as simple as it used to be, but he does give private clubs a list of how clubs are closing the gap between older and newer systems, and that doesn’t necessarily mean everything is new. The point is, clubs are taking charge and being proactive to make their tech systems work better.
At the same time, Ron Cichy and his group of researchers have confirmed that club boards are looking for “desirable ways to balance opportunities for innovations with the deeply rooted legacy ties of members.”
Their research finds that members are increasingly using technology to enhance their communication with their clubs…and that’s an added benefit of the overall membership experience. The research finds that ‘technology is capable of building emotional connections with members, helping these owners (members) feel even more connected to the club. As Cichy says, “the possibilities for technology to enhance the private club experience become endless.”
And finally we have drones…and a fascinating article written by Toby Ingleton about golf course architects (ASGCA members), who are discovering myriad ways to use drones in their daily work. What started out as a ‘fly-by’ over a golf course to see what’s there, has led to an ‘a-ha’ moment for more than one golf course architect. Today drones are an invaluable tool. And again, “the possible uses are boundless,” says Ingleton.
And finally, we present more of BoardRoom’s Top Presidents for 2015 with stories featuring Anthony J. Magdowski, President, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI; Greg Miarecki, President, Chicago Yacht Club, Chicago, IL, and Peter Miller, President, The Club at Ibis, West Palm Beach, FL.
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