59club’s Annual Awards Ceremony recognises the outstanding individuals, teams, venues, and groups within the global golf & hospitality industry for having achieved the highest standards of customer service excellence & sales performance.
Qualification for these prestigious accolades is unbiased; and determined by scores achieved through a detailed and objective mystery shopping program, which measures the experience afforded to members, visitors and prospective members spanning the entire Golf, Leisure, Spa, F&B & Hotel operation.
59club’s Industry Benchmark of excellence, it’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Designations are also awarded annually, these highly prized accolades recognise member clubs’ and resorts that provide excellent facilities for golfers to enjoy, as well as having achieved the required standard of customer service throughout the year.
A case Study exploring global New Member Onboarding trends
In the modern landscape, data stands as the pivotal cornerstone guiding our actions and shaping our strategies. It offers insight, reveals patterns and uncovers hidden opportunities.
In short, data becomes our road map. Insights collected from our recent multi-national survey of new club members reinforces not only the importance of data collection in this industry, but also how action – or in this case, inaction – can create a mismatch between Member needs and Club operations.
Out of more than a thousand global respondents to the member onboarding survey, a striking 80 percent cited “lose weight or get in shape” as the primary motive for joining the health club. This clearly signals a profound desire among members to prioritize their fitness journey and take proactive steps towards health and wellness.
However, there exists a disconnection in the club’s member service ecosystem, indicated by other data points from the survey. A sizable 82 percent of the respondents disclosed that they had not received a new member welcome call within 5 days of joining the club, and only 47 percent received any type of health & fitness induction with the personal trainer, with 40 percent failing to even receive a fitness class schedule.
This data demonstrates a significant gap in communication and service delivery that can hinder members from realizing their wellness goals. It paints a stark contrast between what members expect and what they experience.
Data is a powerful tool, but it’s only as valuable as the action it inspires. What can we, as industry leaders and club managers, do with this data? How can we turn these insights into effective strategies?
Firstly, this data suggests a crucial need to improve communication with new members, ensuring they are well informed about the fitness services available to them. This should involve a personalized welcome call, with an invitation to attend a face-to-face meeting with the personal trainer and / or operations manager, to provide all the necessary items and advice to help them integrate instantly into club life. This simple act of proactive engagement can not only facilitate their fitness journey but also build a stronger rapport, promoting a sense of belonging within the club community from day one.
Secondly, the importance of implementing a comprehensive and structured onboarding program for new members. This should start with a new member initiation meeting, this could include guided tours, allowing the club to emphasize the various fitness services, the different fitness classes or group activity programs and to make introductions to other employees within the fitness team as well as like-minded members, those of a similar ability, or members with relatable fitness goals.
Subsequent appointment scheduling – should not be overlooked, employees should as part of their regular service calls attempt to engage new members in health assessments, equipment inductions, fitness programs and future goal settings, with appointments set aside for regular reviews – and perhaps a complimentary session with a personal trainer. The goal is to provide an enriched experience that encourages members to actively utilize the club’s fitness offerings, and engage with fellow club members and the wider fitness team, whilst serving them to meet their goals.
Lastly, feedback mechanisms should be put in place to continuously gather member input. These might include regular surveys and service calls where members can share their experiences and ideas. This ongoing data collection not only helps to identify any areas needing improvement, but also to anticipate changing member needs, fostering a responsive and adaptable club environment.
This example is a wake-up call for clubs to re-evaluate and reinforce their new member engagement strategies. It’s a clear testament to the importance of effective communication, a well-structured onboarding process, and ongoing feedback collection. By embracing data and taking the appropriate action, clubs can bridge the service gap, enhance member satisfaction, and ultimately, help members succeed in their fitness journey. After all, data is a tool, and its power is realized only when it’s put into action.
If you are ready to measure your member experience and develop a structured onboarding process for your new golf and leisure club members, then help is at hand…
Our New Member Integration Survey, Member Retention Survey and Member Exit Survey Templates will deliver the data to support you to tailor your offering throughout your entire member life cycle.
And you can follow the education lessons within 59club’s Mentor platform, or request for one of the 59club training managers to guide you through the various training modules.
Together we can build a successful member integration and retention strategy for your club, ensuring members feel welcome, connected, and valued, with the purpose of encouraging them to visit more often, enter into club life, refer friends and family and linger-longer whilst they are at the club.
We are thrilled to share some great news about our founder, Simon Wordsworth, who was recently recognised as the latest PGA Member to achieve PGA Master Manager status. This announcement comes from the Professional Golfers’ Association itself, marking a new milestone in Simon’s illustrious career and adding another feather to his cap.
The PGA Master Manager status is an accolade of the highest order, recognising Simon’s significant contribution to the golf industry and his immense expertise in club management. He is one of only sixty one PGA members to have been granted this honour.
Our founder has always been a forward-thinker, a trailblazer who has ceaselessly worked towards promoting the golf industry’s best practices. He founded 59club back in 2008, with a vision to revolutionize golf management and service excellence. Under his leadership, we have grown from a handful of clubs in the UK, to a multi-national brand and industry leader with divisions and operations on five continents.
Reflecting on his achievement, Simon shared, “It’s incredibly humbling to receive this recognition. I’m passionate about delivering excellence in golf management, and I believe this honor represents the collective efforts of our fantastic team at 59club. We’ve always strived to deliver the best, and we’ll continue to do so.”
Over the years, Simon has always been a proponent of professional development within the industry. He believes that the key to success lies in continuous learning, evolving with changing times, and always striving to improve. This ethos has been ingrained in our organisational culture at 59club and continues to drive us towards excellence.
Simon’s PGA Master Manager status comes as a result of his vast experience, his dedication to the industry, and his ability to lead, challenge and inspire. It not only recognizes his past achievements but also underscores his potential for future contributions to the golfing industry. We’re confident that under Simon’s stewardship, 59club will continue to reach new heights and redefine industry standards.
We are absolutely delighted for Simon and immensely proud to be led by a PGA Master Manager. As we continue our journey, we remain committed to the pursuit of excellence, championing the finest standards in golf and leisure management.
Congratulations, Simon! This is a well-deserved recognition, and we are excited to see where your leadership takes us in the future.
Golf clubs aren’t merely venues for a beautiful round of golf; they’re spaces where members bond over a meal or drink. As such, food and beverage operations play an essential role in shaping the member experience. However, balancing quality with profitability is a delicate dance that golf clubs across the world grapple with, especially during off-peak days.
According to recent analysis by 59club Study; 1 in 4 golf clubs reduce or even eliminate their F&B operations during their slowest days of the year, 56% of clubs identified Monday as the slowest day of the week, with Tuesday trailing at 22%.
In this case, the data – based on research from a global network of managers within the 59club Study community – affords managers industry insights around how other clubs are making changes to their F&B opening or closing times on specific “slower” days.
Data collection and understanding are fundamental before making any decision at your golf club. Precise data collected from your own members and guests will enable you to objectively assess your club’s operations, track member & guest preferences, and identify trends. It takes the guesswork out of decision-making, giving you a solid foundation upon which to design effective strategies.
These “slow” days offer an opportunity for creative solutions that can boost sales and enhance member satisfaction. If the data suggests that you should remain open, and lets face it, who wants to shut up shop when there’s potential revenue to gain, maybe it’s a case of kicking your restaurant into gear to boost sales on these slow days.
Remember, the goal is not just to increase sales but also to enhance the customer experience. The strategies you adopt should reflect your club’s ethos and cater to the needs and preferences of your members & guests, here are some strategies to consider;
Innovative Marketing and Communication
Using email newsletters, social media, and even the club’s website to communicate special offers or themed nights can spark interest and increase attendance. Communicate consistently and ensure that your message reaches your customers effectively.
Customer Engagement Activities
Involve members & guests in activities such as cookery classes, wine tastings, or a ‘meet the chef’ evening. These initiatives can create a sense of community and encourage members to visit the club on slower days.
Consider partnering with local businesses to create attractive package deals that combine a round of golf with dining discounts. This can help attract new visitors to the club and possibly convert them into regular members.
Use data and analytics from platforms like 59club Study, alongside your own regular customer satisfaction surveys to identify trends and monitor member preferences. You can use these insights to streamline your F&B operations, optimize menus, manage inventory, and reduce waste.
Slow days need not be a drain on your club’s F&B operations. By adopting creative strategies and leveraging data, you can turn these off-peak periods into opportunities for growth and member engagement. Remember, every day at your golf club is a chance to make a lasting impression and deliver an exceptional experience.
Don’t let the off-peak blues bring you down; instead, use them as a springboard to elevate your club’s F&B operations to new heights.
In the world of retail, there is a common question that has plagued salespeople for years. It’s an easy question to ask, an easier question to answer and it does exactly nothing for your bottom line.
The question in question? “Can I help you?”
It seems innocent enough, a well-meaning attempt to assist customers. However, according to 59club Global Trainer Matt Roberts, this question may be the absolute worst to ask in any retail setting, and what’s more staggering is that 59club’s industry leading data suggests that 75% of all mystery shoppers were either asked this very question, or simply ignored after showing interest in a product.
The Ineffectiveness of “Can I Help You?”:
According to Roberts, the question “Can I help you?” often falls flat, and worse, creates a negative feedback loop between you and your customer. The most common response? “I’m just looking, thanks.” This lackluster interaction fails to create a meaningful connection between the salesperson and the customer, leaving both parties unsatisfied.
A fact supported by 59club’s mystery shopping data, which highlights, “of those that were asked this question; 58% identified that they would not wish to make a purchase”. Immediately, nearly 80% of customers who are asked “Can I help you?” aren’t buying. Now that’s a big-time problem.
Missed Sales Opportunities:
Asking the wrong question can trip up sales professionals and hinder their ability to create sales opportunities. Instead of resorting to the generic “Can I help you?” query, it is crucial to engage customers in a conversation that promotes active dialogue. By understanding their specific needs and preferences, salespeople can tailor their recommendations and provide a more personalised experience.
Turning Conversation into Sales Opportunities:
Having eliminated the “Can I help you?” scenario; 59club’s education stresses the importance of asking engaging questions that promote casual chat. For instance, sales staff asking customers a combination of open and closed questions about their golf game, their abilities, or their favourite part of their game can lead to fruitful conversations. These interactions can uncover areas where customers are struggling and allow sales professionals to offer relevant solutions or services. By actively listening and providing personalised recommendations, retailers can turn missed opportunities into successful sales. What do customers want in a personalised experience? Let’s find out through needs analysis.
The Power of Needs Analysis:
One key element of 59club’s education is the importance of conducting a needs analysis for customers seeking a particular product. Rather than immediately showcasing a range of options, salespeople should focus on understanding what the customer is looking for in that specific product. By asking a selection of well-constructed questions about their preferences, why they’re in the market for the product in the first place, current usage, and desired improvements, sales professionals can gain valuable insights to guide their recommendations. Failing to conduct a proper needs analysis can result in further missed sales opportunities. Alarmingly, only 50% of 59club mystery shoppers received a needs analysis during their encounter with the retail team, and to their detriment, 77% of those shoppers stating that they did not feel compelled to make a purchase based on their sales experience.
What’s a better way?
A crucial aspect of the retail sales process is the significance of linking product features to their benefits. Rather than overwhelming customers with a laundry list of specifications, salespeople should emphasize how a product can meet their specific needs and provide value. By identifying the benefits that resonate with the customer, sales professionals can create a compelling case for making a purchase. This approach not only enhances the customer’s understanding, but also increases the likelihood of closing a sale.
In the realm of retail, the question “Can I help you?” may be the worst one to ask customers. It often leads to missed sales opportunities and fails to establish a meaningful connection. By embracing alternative approaches, conducting a needs analysis, linking features to benefits, and promoting engaging conversations, sales professionals can transform their interactions with customers.
It is through these personalized and attentive strategies that retail businesses can foster stronger customer relationships, increase sales, and provide exceptional shopping experiences. So, the next time you step into a retail environment, remember that a genuine conversation can make all the difference.
Have you been here before? It’s an innocuous and generally harmless question with enormous upside.
The restaurant industry have used this relatively innocent question for decades in order to prime the pump for an engaging customer experience. Asking someone if they have been to your golf course, restaurant, spa – or any other hospitality or leisure venue – opens the door for conversation and questions, builds rapport and emotional connection between the customer and your staff/brand, and provides an opportunity to share your club’s best stories or things a customer should know before heading out.
59club has crunched the numbers and, once again, the top-performing clubs never miss an opportunity to ask this question during the tee time booking call. The rest of the pack, however, fails to ask this question 64% of the time.
On arrival at the club during checking in for golf; even the best performers struggle when it comes to discussing a visitors previous experiences as they attempt to build a personal rapport, only achieving 68%, with the 59club industry average sat at just 50%.
Let’s dive in.
The most effective way to open the door for an engaging conversation and information gathering is to ask personal questions but asking a customer where they see themselves in five years or what makes them the happiest isn’t really appropriate in this instance. Asking a visitor if they have played the course before, however, is a semi-opened-ended question with a clear goal and hundreds of different avenues for additional conversation. If the customer has played the course before, it begs the question “when?” Was it a long time ago or before a recent renovation? Have there been changes to improve the club since then? Why did they take so long in between rounds? Are they from out of town and should their name and email address go into a special “feeder market” list bucket in your CRM system? Enormous amounts of information all gained from starting with one simple question.
These types of conversation starters not only gather important information for marketing and customer service operations, but also provide an opportunity to tell positive stories or provide important general information about your club to someone who may not know. If someone is playing for the first time, they might want to hear about a featured hole, strategy on how to play the course, where to find locker room, restaurant, practice area and 1st tee, humorous anecdotes and other positive stories.
The message is clear, the top performing clubs need to be more consistent from managing the tee time call to greeting a visitor on arrival, far too many other clubs – that feed into the 59club industry average – are leaving easily gatherable information on the table. The golf and leisure clubs who take charge of the first impression and subsequent conversations tend to score higher in other areas as well, creating a domino effect of individual, positive experiences which lead to a better experience overall.
Working with the data
Delve into your Mystery Shopping Audits, and analyze how many times the team has asked this question ‘month on month’ and ‘year on year’, paying close attention to the podium performance, industry and your own competitor set average to see how you compare.
Celebrate those within the team who have witnessed successes, reminding others of the fundamental basics to perfect their engagement techniques.
Encourage skill-share, role-play, and time away to study, reminding the team of the learning links within the mystery shopping results, and the resources within the Mentor education platform to develop their sales process & customer service experience.
Review successes and set targets on a regular basis as Mystery Shopping results are released…
In today’s competitive golf industry, it’s crucial for golf clubs to deliver exceptional customer experiences to attract and retain players. One golf club that has successfully navigated this challenge is We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, which – under the leadership of General Manager Matt Barr – has seen significant growth in retail and F&B sales over the past two years. Their secret? Unbiased, actionable data collected from regular mystery shopping audits.
The Partnership Between We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and 59club
Barr and his team at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club gained valuable insights into the areas where they could improve their customer service and drive sales growth. According to Barr, what started out as an opportunity to identify on-course condition and maintenance, like turf health and bunkering, turned into an extremely valuable tool for nearly every customer-facing operation at the club.
“Managers can’t be everywhere at once, so we engaged with 59club in order to make sure our on-course product was up to our standards,” said Barr. “The data we received from our initial golf visitor experience audits opened our eyes to not only the on-course product, but also our retail and F&B operations. We quickly realised we could grow in many ways.”
Implementing Effective Sales Techniques
Armed with the insights, Barr and his team at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club implemented new sales techniques that focused on improving customer interactions. By training staff to engage with customers more effectively and to upsell and cross-sell products and services, the club was able to increase its retail sales by double digits in a little under two years.
“We’ve seen a remarkable retail sales increase since starting with 59club,” said Barr. “This growth can be directly attributed to learning and implementing effective sales processes that focus on upselling and cross-selling. By equipping our team with the right tools and techniques, we’ve been able to enhance the customer experience and drive significant revenue growth for our club.”
On the F&B front, mystery shopping data allowed Barr and his team to identify areas for growth and double down on quality customer service operations. According to Barr, simple questions asked by F&B staff have led to significant sales increases, and even improved employee satisfaction.
“Asking simple questions like ‘have you dined with us before’ or ‘would you like another beer’ not only lead to increases in F&B revenue, but also staff wages,” said Barr. “As bills increase from another round of drinks or upselling a more expensive spirit, so do tips for our servers. It’s a win-win across the board and something we might never have seen without data from 59club.”
Enhancing Customer Satisfaction
By making improvements in their daily processes, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club was able to enhance the overall customer experience. Satisfied customers are more likely to return to the club and recommend it to others, which will have a positive impact on future sales. The increased focus on customer service, driven by the insights gained from regular mystery shopping audits, helped the club create a more enjoyable guest experience.
The success of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club demonstrates the significant impact that mystery shopping and data analysis can bring to the golf, leisure & hospitality industry. As the industry becomes increasingly competitive, it’s essential for clubs to prioritize customer service and continually strive for improvement. By partnering with 59club, venues can gain valuable insights and support to help them boost sales and create exceptional experiences for their customers.
Connecting Managers with industry Insight, and a global network.
Our minute surveys are used to collect immediate and diverse responses from 59club’s global network, with results analysed to identify emerging trends and then published days later.
Each fortnightly survey highlights technical, conceptual and philosophical insights from inside Golf, Leisure & Hospitality businesses from across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Australia & New Zealand. The Insight, Collaboration and Community that Club Study creates will inspire curiosity, and ultimately empower Club Managers to make informed data-driven decisions.
Participants are encouraged to submit questions they would like to appear in subsequent surveys, putting Club Managers in control of the direction the study takes to give an industry perspective like no other.
Previous reports have revealed a Club Manager’s typical ratio of hours spent in versus outside the office, the composition of a club’s board or management group, the frequency of F&B menu changes, and emotive responses to pinpoint a manager’s stress level, to provide a broad flavour of what’s in store.
Currently Club Study is a complimentary offering as part of 59club’s commitment to support the Club Manager to achieve Customer Service Excellence by harnessing insight, collaboration and building community.