Putting your data to work: 3 strategies to optimize your private club data

In the ever-changing private club industry, organizations must continually ask themselves, “Are we managing operations to the best of our ability?” Peter Drucker, widely recognized as the founder of modern management said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Drucker’s words hold true today as the field of data science evolves at an increasingly fast pace. While the club industry has generally adopted data-driven approaches, our experience at GGA Partners highlights three common metrics that, when utilized effectively, are powerful contributors to success:

Revisiting member resignations

Clubs should aim to take an integrated view of their membership and while many have made great efforts to better track active membership profiles, there are significant opportunities in evaluating thorough data on resigned members. Clubs interested in reducing membership attrition are well-served to obtain a clear picture of resigned members. Collecting information on resigned members actually begins with appropriately tracking the members’ joining date and demographic information. With this, clubs are not only able to analyze what the typical lifecycle of membership is, but also how this lifecycle may differ across a variety of demographics. With this method, a club will obtain more insightful findings than a general resignation metric. For example, a club could determine when female members resign and whether this differs to male members, the conversion rates of intermediate category members to full, or whether members within certain geographic areas showcase distinct resignation patterns. Utilizing this lifecycle analysis, clubs can subsequently evaluate current active memberships and analyze who may be nearing the historical “end of membership” timeline. Digging deeper, if a club tracks the historical spend and usage habits of members leading up to their resignation, there comes an opportunity to utilize analytics to observe active members who display similar spend and usage patterns exhibited by resigned members (i.e., reductions in spend and usage).

Diving into usage details

Another area of opportunity is increased tracking of detailed amenity utilization statistics, such as rounds played, fitness check-ins, tennis court bookings, and food and beverage covers. As an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, many clubs adapted their booking technology to meet both safety regulations (where necessary) and membership demand.

Numerous clubs currently track this information on an aggregate basis (which is a great start) but incredible value comes from tracking the data on a per-member and time-associated basis. For example, for a private golf club, knowing how many rounds of golf your club saw in a year is valuable, but being able to assess which groups of membership played more than others during certain time frames offers a much more focused and actionable scope (particularly if utilization concerns continue to impact membership dissatisfaction across private clubs globally). The same impact could be had for a private multi-sport facility with tennis or fitness bookings. To generate this level of insight, clubs must track any sort of booking to the given member and attach a time with said booking. For example, if a specific member is playing a tennis match at 9:30am on a Saturday, this would be tracked within the club’s internal systems. At the end of the month, the club could export all match data and run various analyses, such as which members played the most, what are the busiest days and times, were there days of the week that would benefit from having additional programming to reduce higher-capacity times, and so on.

Managing membership movements

At a basic level, clubs should be confident in their knowledge of year-end membership category counts. With this information, assessments can be made on how certain categories have changed within a year, and then further investigated. Delving beyond the basics are those who have accurately tracked new sales, resignations and transfers within each category. Clubs should consider collecting and reporting data according to membership categories. Looking at the table below, including the previous year-end count to act as the baseline moving forward and the most recent year-end count provides context on increases and decreases. New sales, resignations, and transfers in and out for each membership category are also included, and updated throughout the year for easy input.

This comprehensive analysis allows clubs a detailed look at how membership is truly moving throughout any given year. For example, a category may appear steady from a year-over-year perspective, but upon further analysis, the reality showcases an incredible amount of pressure on new membership sales due to increased member transfers or resignations. With this level of insight, the club can then investigate why there are so many members moving out of this category and take actionable steps to stabilize its membership.

Improving and sustaining business performance is always top of mind for club leaders. A deeper approach to data and analytics plays a critical role in maximizing performance across club operations. Increased awareness into trends emerging from resigned members, the usage patterns of specific membership groups, and how members are migrating will lead to better understanding of the membership, and more effective actions taken by the club.

How our research & analytics professionals can help

Research and analytics are fundamental to GGA Partners’ proven approach to analyzing club performance and to continually improving the tools and solutions we offer our clients. With a team of professionals that carry over 28 years of experience in the golf, private club, and leisure industries, we can show your club how to leverage data and analytics to drive success.

Contact a GGA Partners professional today for more information.


Taking Club Elections Digital

The pandemic has accelerated the need to move the ballot box for club elections from paper to the computer and this trend will continue in the coming years. GGA Partners online voting specialists Michael Gregory and Martin Tzankov explain the challenges and opportunities to consider when moving your elections to an electronic voting platform.

Private golf, business, and leisure clubs spend a great deal of time and money planning, executing and delivering the results of club elections, often with discouraging voter turnout.

Over the past two years, GGA Partners, in partnership with secure platform provider Simply Voting, has worked with many clients to move the ballot box for club elections from paper to the computer. As this trend grows in the coming years, our team of skilled specialists shares the challenges and opportunities available as your club considers moving to an online voting platform.

Simply Voting logo
A web-based online voting system that will help you manage your club’s elections easily and securely.

The Challenges

According to GGA manager Martin Tzankov, the biggest challenge is trying to retrofit new technology and process to existing bylaws. “Most bylaws were written before the introduction of online voting,” commented Tzankov. “Outdated bylaws cause complexities in the process, particularly regarding proxies. It is important to understand what you can and cannot do to ensure the election conforms to your club’s rules.”

Another challenge is the organization of member data including current contact information and eligibility.

“The ability for clubs to segment member data is complex and critical,” stated Michael Gregory, a partner at GGA. “Whether it is a current member whose dues are in arrears, or a new member who became eligible while the vote is taking place, clubs must ensure that only eligible votes are tallied in the final results.”

It’s a simple fact that humans make errors and there are times members who were against an issue will question the integrity of any vote. Online voting eliminates that challenge by providing the ability to audit the process from start to finish.

Mobile smartphone screen depicting digital survey with quote "The biggest opportunity for clubs that choose online voting is increased member participation in the process" - Martin Tzankov, GGA Manager

The Opportunities

“The biggest opportunity for clubs that choose online voting is increased member participation in the process,” said Tzankov. “Members use technology every day so casting their vote on their computer or mobile device, which often takes less than 5 minutes, is simple and easy. And while there will be some members who prefer paper, in our experience, the majority of members prefer the online option.”

Along with increasing the experience, participation, and satisfaction of members, online voting is a powerful tool to segment the results by age, membership category and other data sets. Data segmentation allows your club to identify and track trends across a wide spectrum of subjects, providing valuable insight for future planning.

The capability to deliver a consistent schedule of communications is another opportunity provided through the online voting platform. Rather than incur the expenses of printing and mailing information, your team can prepare and schedule a series of email communications to inform and remind electors of the voting period and then deliver the results in a timely fashion.

“Environmental sustainability is increasing as a factor to choose one club versus another,” added Gregory. “Clubs who implement online voting have the opportunity to send a clear message that they are taking steps to minimize their impact on the planet.”

Eliminate The Risk

Warren Buffet has been quoted as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” There is great truth in that statement.

To understand the risks and rewards of online voting, we encourage you to have a conversation with specialists Michael Gregory or Martin Tzankov to gain the knowledge you need to ensure successful elections at your club.

Michael Gregory
Partner, GGA Partners

Martin Tzankov
Senior Manager, GGA Partners

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