George Stavros / Pacesetter Technology
Over the past 15 years, our lives have changed due to digital disruption. It started with the iPhone, Amazon Prime, Uber and etransfers. Tech has changed our worlds and it has changed golf…slowly.
Like in many ways, our industry’s trend is to play catch-up. But now, we’re beyond catching up and we are squarely in the post-digital era. Accenture summarized it best by saying, “Digital itself is no longer differentiating. The post-digital world is one where technology is the fabric of reality and companies are using it to meet people wherever they are, at any moment in time – if they rise to the challenge. “
I was recently speaking to a group of general managers who met with the chief innovation officer for Chick-fil-A. He asked them, “What type of company do you think Chick-fil-A is?” Most said food & beverage, others said hospitality. He quickly corrected them and said, “Chick-fil-A is a tech company.”
He went on to explain that technology has helped them to create the finest experience in fast food and as a company, they have a 10-year tech plan, and every golf club should have the same. Innovation is the key and if you don’t think so, look at some laggards like Blockbuster and many defunct golf clubs that met the front end of a bulldozer and became housing communities.
The experience that you create will define your future and I have outlined a few trends that are quickly growing in hospitality. While they’re trends today, they will be expectations tomorrow (like your iPhone, Amazon Prime, Uber and etransfers).
One trend is instant messaging. Marriott recently introduced it in their app, and it has become the preferred means of communication for many of their guests. Not everything requires a phone call the way it did 20 years ago. If I can get my answer in 15 seconds without speaking to a human, I consider that to be much more efficient. Both Royal Montreal and St. George’s will be adding this to their mobile app.
Another trend is food delivery. Your customers can order anything they want, from a fine steakhouse meal to a pitcher of cocktails and have it delivered in 30 minutes. Your club needs to do the same to keep up. We live in a society where immediate gratification wins. Waiting for a beverage cart that never shows is not the memory you want to create.
Another trend is group fitness. While private clubs are seeing massive growth in their wellness programs, golf clubs need to think about ways that they can incorporate a heart-pumping drill session on the practice facility that forces you to break a sweat and focuses on the muscles that are required in the golf swing. No one is doing this now, but people are willing to pay $35 for a 45-minute class that has 15 participants. With one instructor and more than $500 in revenue, I like that math.
Abraham Lincoln said it best, “The only way to know your future is to create it”
Technology is the path by which your customers will find you and you need to make that path as smooth as possible.
About the Author
As a tech entrepreneur with deep roots in the club space, George Stavros founded Pacesetter Technology with the sole purpose of using mobile to elevate the member experience. Pacesetter builds custom apps for many Canadian Clubs that empower them to recognize members, understand their preferences and exceed their expectations. By developing innovative digital experiences like pressing a button to get your car from valet and unlocking doors with a wave of a phone, members stay tethered to the club’s brand. For more information on Pacesetter, click HERE.