Club Trends: New Age of Club Technology

Summer 2018 | 17 By Bridget Gorman Wendling Photos courtesy of Southern Hills Country Club F or nearly five years, Nick Sidora- kis, CCM, general manager/COO at Southern Hills Country Club (SHCC) in Tulsa, Okla., has been contemplating creating a mobile app for club members. He knew he wanted something that would integrate with the club website and member database and would enable members to schedule tee times and receive push notifications on their phones. How- ever, other priorities superseded doing the due diligence and legwork to get such an endeavor off the ground. When Sidorakis hired Liz Stallings as the marketing and communications director to oversee all the club’s communica- tion channels roughly three years ago, her first two directives were to enhance and improve the club’s website and start making the SHCC app a reality. Stallings had previous experience with developing apps and had learned a few valuable lessons, not the least of which was to work with a company that would be around for the long-haul. In a previous position, her employer had worked tirelessly with a developer to build and launch an app for their business. Once the app was built, however, the company moved on to other clients and was not available to assist with updates, changing technologies and emerging needs. Stallings’ experience and exhaustive research brought her back time and again to Clubessential, an established company with the ability to integrate club technologies and deliver the kind of tech support, customer service, and design elements that Southern Hills desired. Clubessential developed their website, which went live 2012. The app was launched in 2016 and integrates seamlessly. ESSENTIAL FEATURES FOR BOTH FRONT- AND BACK-OF-THE-HOUSE Stallings and Sidorakis knew they wanted features that would enhance the member experience, so they worked with Clubessential to build a customized app—for both Apple and Android—that would be pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, in line with the Southern Hills brand and allow members to access many of the club’s tools at their fingertips. Sidorakis notes that nothing will ever take the place of face-to-face hospitality and member/staff interaction, but as people become more accustomed to managing their schedules, appointments and personal business on the go, the club needs to keep pace. From a back-of-the-house perspective, integration with the member database and website was a crucial factor. Stallings wanted to be able to edit content and make updates to information in real-time and across multiple platforms. Because the website and app are both Clubessential products and integrate seamlessly, Stallings simply makes edits and changes to the website, which are automatically reflected on the app. Additionally, the SHCC brand and the communica- tion’s style are consistent. From a front-of-the-house perspective, Stallings and Sidorakis note that their members’ ability to use the same username and password for the website and the app make it more accessible and easier for members. The only time members need to enter their login information is the first time they login to the app, thereby eliminating the burden of creating and remembering another unique login. C A S E S T U D Y CONNECTING WITH SOUTHERN HILLS COUNTRY CLUB Member Convenience Made Easy