Running a successful golf club

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1 Running a successful golf club Issue 1 Membership and Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Why profiling is key to retention An ebook by NFS Technology Group hospitality.com

2 How to run a successful golf club Thank you for downloading this latest ebook from NFS Hospitality. This is Issue One of a series that will build into five ebooks, all designed to help you run a more successful golf club. In this first issue we are looking at membership, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the importance of profiling. Here s what we will cover in the first issue of this ebook series Introduction: the importance of profiling 3 Your members might be satisfied with their club, but are they delighted by it? How do you maintain their loyalty, and keep them returning for more? What is Customer Relationship Management? 4 CRM is the way we manage interactions with customers, using technology to organise, automate and synchronise business processes. Here's how it can help you find and retain members. Building a member profile 5 Connect with your current members better and it will help you attract new ones and today there's technology to make that easier for you. Develop an action plan to retain members 8 If a club is not evolving in response to market and member needs, it risks falling behind. Here's how to make sure that doesn't happen. Form a marketing referral group 10 Summing up a brief five- point plan to use as a basis to kick- start a referral group designed to attract new members, whilst retaining those you already have. About NFS 11 Where to find out more about NFS Hospitality, what we do and how to contact us. 2

3 Introduction: the importance of profiling THE MORE MEMBERSHIP data clubs can gather, the more they increase their chances of attracting new members, while retaining existing ones. Yet so many private golf businesses rely only on subjective opinions to gauge the quality of their club's operation. Could you be more efficient in gathering data? The lack of quantifiable information on, for example, member satisfaction with the golf course or a dining experience is a huge knowledge gap that exposes the club to loss of revenue or membership defection. Since clubs look to be engaged in a long- term battle for market share, every defection is a significant blow. Satisfaction is the result of specific experiences that members have with a product or golf club service. Evidence shows that members are, by and large, satisfied with their clubs, having invested in them financially and emotionally. Satisfied, yes. But how many are really delighted with their club? How many value membership to the point that they are steadfastly loyal and promote the benefits of membership to their friends and associates? And will they keep coming back for more? Over the following pages, we will examine those questions, explain how the latest technology can come to your aid when gathering data about your membership, and bring you the answers that will keep your club alive and successful in the years ahead. Six ways to retain members Make sure you understand the needs of individual members. Identify which members you are at risk of losing. Deliver exactly what members want then add a little extra. Increase the perceived value of membership. Deliver a seamless, personalised service. Create good reasons for members to return. 3

4 What is Customer Relationship Management? CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) is the way progressive businesses manage interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects, using technolo- gy to organise, automate and synchronise business processes. Although more usually associated with sales activities, it can also be used for marketing, customer service and technical support. All of which might sound like it applies only to big businesses and how they interact with their clients. But CRM is equally applicable to the world of golf clubs and how they interact with their members. Let's look at your overall goals:- To find, attract and win new members. To nurture and retain existing members. To entice former members back into the fold. To reduce the costs of marketing and membership service. CRM involves a business strategy that measures and values customer relationships. Good clubs are friendly. They create a feel- good factor. They plan their strategy accordingly with clear and concise communication to their staff, members, potential guests and their suppliers. They make each and everyone feel a part of the club's future. Ask yourself this:- Do your staff know who your new members are? Do new members have the opportunity to bring their families to the club? Do members have the opportunity to invite new guests to the club as a treat? Do your board or committee members know all their staff? Do they know what is entailed to complete their roles effectively? Has each board/committee member played with different members during their role as elected ambassadors for the club? Has the General Manager made contact with each of the members? Does the club have the accepted personal details of members on record, so that they might be offered a free drink or a present on their birthday? Does your pro shop operate in a similar manner? 4

5 Building a member profile GET TO KNOW your current members better and it will help you attract new ones. Build a customer profile and it will enable you to target the kind of potential members who are most likely to be attracted to your club and its services. It can also lead to more referrals and recommendations from current members to others with similar profiles. With competition for members increasing every day, can you afford not to actively know more about those key members how they think, feel and behave? The more knowledge and understanding you have about current members, the easier it is to select the key marketing tactics that will attract new ones. If you currently have members with whom you have a strong relationship, then you can use customer profiles to help identify if a prospective customer is truly worth chasing. A profile of your key members should include information that helps you understand what is important to them, their buying behaviour, their interests and how engaged they are with your club. The benefits Better Communication: It's like the difference between how you communicate with old friends, as opposed to people you don't know so well. With club members, the same is true. If you have a profile you are in a better position to know what to communicate, when to communicate it and by what method. Greater Opportunities: Because current members provide feedback on what they like (or dislike) about your club, it is easier to develop opportunities for attracting the right kind of new member. In turn, this will help you refine your services to better meet members' needs. 5

6 Keep ahead of the competition: With comprehensive customer profile, you know and understand the key elements of how to keep current members happy, so they are not vulnerable to competitive offers. Increase profit: With a strong customer profile, less time and effort need to be spent developing relationships with current members. With more time available for planning ahead, you get a higher return on your efforts. Technology to the rescue Time was when building individual profiles of club members would have been complicated and time consuming. Today, technology comes to the rescue and does most of the donkeywork for you. A software solution such as IBS Membership Management from NFS Hospitality includes a comprehensive member and customer profiling option with features that include the ability to individualise each member or customer, a key element to reducing attrition. It tells you what your current members most like and need, so you can use that information to attract new members. In this way it helps clubs face the challenge of retaining current members whilst at the same time delivering high levels of customer satisfaction. And the more you know about your members, the better the service you can give them. Here's what else you can receive from the software:- Flexible membership categories with specialised club privileges and easily managed accessibility rights. Customisable loyalty schemes, based on member and customer tiers, to get the most out of the best, most loyal, customers, and to reward them with targeted offers. Online member accounts and statements that include drill- down and re- print receipt options. The ability to access accounts at all times, from anywhere, with an internet connection. Once IBS Membership Management has been used to build individual profiles, it is easy to then update and maintain the database. 6

7 The essential point is to attract the members that you would like into your club. Remember that people want Happy not Gloom when they enter a club that they have decided to invest in. The important thing is to make the connection and to make it last. Because the more you make it last, the more opportunities for referrals will be available. Why members join The location is convenient to their home. The club offers a good family friendly environment. The cost of joining is reasonable and fair. The culture of the club fits in with a prospective member's lifestyle. The decor, maintenance and general upkeep makes prospective members feel good. The club seems like a good place to invite friends and to entertain them. It has a good business environment, a place to meet colleagues, with the appropriate technology on hand. In order to manage the complexity of changing membership types, packages and countless product combinations, flexible and stable software applications are invaluable. Packages, service bundles and promotions can make a club stand out from the crowd, and offer a good reason to join, and to keep coming back. - Luis De Souza, Managing Director, NFS 7

8 Develop an action plan to retain members Why members stay DO YOU SPEND so much time trying to attract new members that you overlook the importance of retaining those you already have? It's a question that club owners need to address in the current climate. As non- critical expenses, such as incremental food and beverages, as well as club mem- berships, are the first to be sacrificed, it becomes necessary to work harder than ever to maintain a share of customers' disposable income. The club involves the whole family sell to the children and you've sold to the family. Events planned throughout the year are family orientated. Members' friends are still members. Pricing is fair and the product is good. The club understands and meets its members' individual needs. It is no longer acceptable for clubs to focus on maintain- ing the status quo. These days, if a club is not evolving in response to market and member needs, it risks falling behind members' requirements. Never forget that if you don't give your members what they want, someone else will. The easy way out is to offer discounts. But is that what members really want? Evidence suggests otherwise. Added value is the name of this particular game, focusing on the individual needs of members and on improving their experience. Expectations are met and exceeded. At most clubs, golf is obviously something that Staff are happy and friendly. members enjoy, but it is not the only reason they join a club. Many seek associated benefits, and surveys have shown that the food and beverage operation, alongside attending social events, are major and important activities at any club. It's clear that in the future, clubs must offer members a quality experience in a number of activity areas. They need creative programmes that facilitate the growth 8

9 and development of the social side of membership. They must adopt policies that reflect the modern society that they serve. Facilities and programmes that drive growth in this segment include informally- styled indoor and outdoor dining areas, innovative social events that are fun for all ages, fitness facilities and wellness programmes, family- friendly resort- style swim- ming complexes, actively- programmed sporting operations and a variety of family and children's activities. Okay, ready to begin the battle to retain members? Time to build that battle plan. The process is easier than you think. Here's how Understand your individual members Different members have different needs. Perhaps one member prefers the social aspect, whilst another attends for the dining experience. Or perhaps they just want to play golf! Armed with this information, club managers will be in a better position to deliver all- important personalised services to individual members. Personalise your customer service Good membership management will help clubs deliver a more personal customer service experience with the help of clever CRM and focused sales intelligence, which translates to increased sales figures and a higher chance of retaining members. By really getting to know members and guests, understanding their preferences and analysing trends, it's easy to identify which memberships are at risk. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Good membership management should also include CRM capabilities that capture and analyse customer information. With CRM, clubs can monitor trends and spending habits, and then target those essential areas for marketing campaigns. Sales intelligence Attain a greater understanding of the business by analysing data and reports to establish Key Performance Indicators. In this way club operators can proactively address members with personalised services before subscriptions are cancelled. It will also help clubs to benefit from up- sell, cross- sell and switch- sell opportunities discovered by sales intelligence technology. Invest in the right technology Technology such as the IBS Membership Management solution from NFS Hospitality is ready to help club owners and managers to produce quality reports about all aspects of this gathered data, including member type, member expendi- ture patterns, member profile and member privileges. With the right technology in place, the interface between the club and the member will offer a more seamless and positive experience. It all boils down to an integrated solution that manages members as well as other areas that members experience, such as the retail shop and the club's reception area. 9

10 Form a marketing referral group BY NOW YOU should have a good idea about the importance of CRM and profiling, and how this can help you find and retain members. One more way to make that happen is to form a marketing referral group to look into ways of attracting new members, whilst retaining those you already have. Here's a brief five- point plan to use as a basis to kick- start such a working party. 1. Make a list of potential referral opportunities. These might include: Networking contacts. Current club members. Former club members. Suppliers. Business contacts such as accountants, solicitors, estate agents and managers. Local press to whom you can send press releases about latest club news Trade associations. Contacts made at previous golf days. 2. Get each member of the working party to make a list of potential contacts. Give them the challenge of listing a set number, such as 100 each. Then categorise them in terms of name, relationship, date approached and result. 3. Target uncontested business markets. For example: Contact different networking groups. Arrange an open club evening with an organised presentation to explain the advantages of becoming a club member. Capture and retain details of all s received by the club. 4. Boost networking within your team and staff. Encourage them to manage the whole process to improve what they are already doing, to manage what is already working well, but also recognise what is not working, and find ways to put it right. 5. And finally Focus on what your club does best and then do it better. Stay fresh and do things differently every time. Reverse roles to see what your members see and then ask yourself if you are providing what you would want from the club. Never miss an opportunity to ask members how the club is performing. Develop a schedule of events to enhance marketing efforts and communicate it early to members. Take time to meet the members personally, giving them recognition and connectivity. Always remember to thank members and guests for participating in club activities. 10

11 Find Out More If you wish to find out more about our club technology, or how we can help you with your software needs, please don't hesitate to contact us: hospitality.com hospitality.com UK +44 (0) USA +1 (917) SOUTH AFRICA /6/7 Follow us on twitter and Linked In. Established in 1994, NFS is a leading provider of scheduling technology to corporate and commercial businesses around the world. With offices in the UK, Ireland, USA and South Africa, and an interna- tional customer base of over 1,000 clients, NFS offer a fully manned, 24/7 helpdesk and consulting and training services for all clients. NFS, NFS House, 15 Harforde Court, John Tate Road, Foxholes Business Park, Hertford, SG13 7NW 11

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