Club Trends: New Age of Club Technology

| Summer 2018 16 TO TECHNOLOGY AND BEYOND One survey respondent best summed up the present and future of IT in clubs when she shared what she terms as the two “roadblocks” within the club industry. First, technology is an expensive proposition. Faced with limited budgets and yet a never-ending list of new systems and gadgets, if a club postpones an update or installation, its technology will simply fall behind. As an industry, clubs value personal service to their members to the extent to which they view technology as an intrusion. Certain clubs still ban cell phones in their dining rooms. However, hotels and restaurants use technology extensively from marketing to in-house upselling, ordering for services and products, and even payment. Therefore, besides falling behind in IT as an individual club, the industry itself can also fall behind relative to other hospitality industries. Second, not only are club personnel multi-genera- tional, club members also span many generations. From a workforce and management standpoint, while the younger workforce is more tech savvy and embraces IT use, the more seasoned colleagues might deny technol- ogy upgrade requests, viewing them as “unnecessary.” Sometimes, these decisions might come from a board whose members are more resistant to technology changes and still prefer hard copies of all documents. If such practices persist, the club industry will fall behind as technology evolves. Furthermore, employees with more foresight may see the club industry as a deterrent to their career growth and may simply move to other hospitality industries such as hotels, restaurants, cruise ships or even join the vendor side of the business. A loss of human talent is surely not desirable. From the members’ standpoint, using the cellphone ban example, if mobile phones are banned in the dining room or by the pool, the younger generation who like to snap pictures and post them to social media would not enjoy the club experience as much when coming to the club with their “older” family members. They may opt to dine at a restaurant instead, and the food and beverage revenues of clubs may suffer. While best practices recommend careful use of club social media channels, members post images of their activities at the club to their own social media ac- counts—illustrating to friends and family positive experiences like the club’s Mother’s Day Brunch or July 4th celebrations. However, restricted use of cell phones to capture these events hinders sharing of fantastic club activities. Clubs should find ways to create a perfect blend of legacy and contemporary club experiences that wow all members and guests. Technology is only going forward. So should clubs. Agnes DeFranco, EdD, CHAE is a distinguished chair and professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restau- rant Management, University of Houston. She can be reached at . Cristian Morosan, PhD, is an associate professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Univer- sity of Houston. He can be reached at . This information is based on a study commissioned by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP); learn more about the association at . Website – Criticality, Usage, and Performance Analysis – 2018 Website Content Editing Networking (wireless) Networking (wired) Email Marketing Online Reservations Mobile Apps Social Media Management 0 5 4 1 2 3 n Performance n Usage n Criticality Note: Scores range from “1” being very rarely for usage, strongly disagree for performance and not critical to “5” being very often, strongly agree and most critical. Security – Criticality, Usage, and Performance Analysis – 2018 Website Content Editing Networking (wireless) Networking (wired) Email Marketing 0 5 4 1 2 3