By Todd Swisher, CPA

The “private club of the future” appeared in 1961 comic strip in the Chicago Tribune. Fast forward six decades and golf carts might not be flying in the near future, but AI and other emerging tech are now driving efficiency for private clubs in countless operational areas and elevating many facets of the overall member experience.

By implementing AI and other emerging tech, private clubs can:

  • Set themselves apart from the competition
  • Evolve to keep pace with today’s digitally dialed-in members
  • Make well-informed decisions that elevate member satisfaction
  • Ensure long-term success for the club

The hospitality team at PBMares has created a X series that explores the various AI tools and emerging tech at play and how to deploy practical applications for today’s private clubs.

What Kind of AI Are We Talking About?

Private club GMs are responsible for a wide range of tasks — from maintaining relationships with current and potential members to managing food services and many other areas of the facility.

Some of the AI available today — like robots that can venture into male locker rooms and serve cocktails when no male servers are available — can seem shockingly futuristic.

But for those clubs just beginning to consider emerging tech, the lower hanging fruit of the more practical applications — like streamlining and optimizing day-to-day operations — is also creating a significant impact.

More common tech features being adopted include:

  • QR codes for menus, events and club information
  • iPads for ordering, displaying wine lists and signing up for tee times or lessons
  • Apps for members to interact with the club and access club information
  • Staff scheduling software
  • Video training modules for employees, boards, and committees

In the next section, you’ll find more practical ways private clubs are incorporating AI one step at a time.

Practical Ways AI Can Optimize Your Private Club

Imagine if each staff person serving Mrs. Jones knew she enjoys extra croutons on her salad and that Mr. Jones prefers his red wine served chilled. This is just one of many ways data analytics and AI can improve member satisfaction.

Other applications include:

  • Enhancing membership appeal for prospective members. Including virtual tours of the facility on the club’s website efficiently showcase venues for prospective members and even those seeking to book events at the club.
  • Exploring opportunities for proposed structures and spaces. With 3-D mockups and virtual tours, clubs are tapping into more options that deliver better outcomes.
  • Protecting against slow play on the golf course. Technology is now being placed in golf carts or carried by caddies that tracks every golfer and transmits data in real time to course management.
  • Driving efficiency and profitability by minimizing food service costs. You can find technology that controls the portions at the bar or algorithms that analyze golf swing metrics to uncover areas for improvement.
  • Adding a virtual reality element to keep pace with the new breed of club member.

How to Begin Incorporating AI and Emerging Tech Into Your Private Club

You’ve already embarked on the first step toward future-proofing your club by educating yourself.

Every club is different, so the next step is to identify which application would be most doable and impactful for your club.

Start small. Examine business objectives to uncover areas where emerging technology can realistically deliver the most immediate benefit. 

Then, whether you elect to focus on enhancing member engagement or reducing food service costs, seek out user-friendly solutions, investigate the level of customer support you can expect, and be sure to allocate enough time and resources to properly train your staff.

Learn More

With many years of experience serving private clubs, our dedicated hospitality team offers you the comprehensive accounting, management, and business advisory services you need. Contact us today.