Posted 15 July

Transform your members’ online experience, and boost retention

Forget about pushing your members to go to the members’ section on your club website. Smartphones have changed everything and put all the information members could want, right in their hands 24/7 – but only if you have the right technology, writes Charles de Haan. And a lot more of our golf club customers are installing our unmatched members’ app.

While different providers will tell you they’ve got a members’ app for bar balances, news, competition results and so on, customer experience and feedback tells a different story: fighting your way through portals loaded with adverts, finding that the online tee time booking wants a different user name and password, or simply finding that you can’t top up your bar or pro shop account online…

The tools to deliver a great experience

The simple bottom line is that to make sure your members have a great online experience using their smartphone:

  1. Your club needs a club management and EPoS software system that works seamlessly with a purpose built native – NOT web – app.
  2. The software must use just ONE membership database, not different ones that try to ‘talk’ to each other eg. the membership one that should ‘talk’ to the online tee time booking one, and both of which should ‘talk’ to the website database…
  3. Your EPoS system runs of the same single membership database, so that all that sales data can be seamlessly pulled out for individual members when they want to do something as simple as finding out their latest bar card balance.
  4. And it should use ONE club diary, not as in some cases, as many as three…all of which means someone in the office has to keep each one constantly updated and synchronised with the other diaries…which is both time consuming, inefficient, and very expensive.

 

Membership retention boosted

Members who enjoy a great online experience that reflects all the things the club is offering them, not only appreciate it but are much more likely to stay on board when it comes to subscription renewal time…

The current Open Solutions package delivers all the above – one membership database, a fully integrated EPoS system, one online tee time booking system, one native app designed for purpose with more features than its rival providers’ apps. But our next generation package will have and do all this, and a lot more besides…

A member’s point of view

So what do the users ie. members, actually think? This is what Michael Green at one of Open Solutions’ customer clubs, Hartsbourne Golf & Country Club in Hertfordshire, said when we asked him what he thought of his club’s app:

“I joined two years ago and downloaded the Hartsbourne app to my smartphone. All the members I know have smartphones and or iPads or tablets, so they all use the app at this club! 

“I want to know what’s going on, and that’s the same for Hartsbourne as for anything else in my life, and my smartphone’s my go to means for doing that – news, my bank account, investments, checking e-mails, sending texts, checking Whatsapp and Instagram, checking the diary. 

“The Hartsbourne app gives me as a member everything I need: club news, my bar and Pro Shop balances, and the ability to top up my account wherever and whenever I want so that I don’t have to do it at the club when the bar’s busy.

“I can enter and pay for competitions and later on check the results, see what my latest handicap is and so on. And of course, I can find out other Hartsbourne members’ contact details so that I can set up matches or games, as we can all book tee times online as well.

“Actually, thinking about it, the one I use most is the last one: members’ contact details, closely followed by results of recent competitions. I also like being able to check the diary – it gives me all the competitions for a year ahead - for whatever competitions are coming up and enter and pay for them.

“Digital technology’s moved things on massively. For me, as someone who can remember the way things used to be done, it’s transforming my lifestyle and so as a member of a golf club I expect that club to provide me with the same sort of capabilities. 

“Members want something that communicates what they want to know quickly – a result, change of handicap, latest balance, when I’m next playing – and the app we use at Hartsbourne is fantastic in that respect.

“No matter what someone’s walk of life, really good communication is absolutely essential, and that’s what my golf club gives me.”