2022 brought with it historic inflation and the threat of recession. And while the economic factors created a challenge this year, most reports show that the country club industry continued to grow — although more modestly.
Clubs have been more measured in their approach to evolving their offerings, identifying the improvements that could deliver the most bang for the buck. Technology, once again, proved to be an area where clubs could realize the most value. Additionally, clubs looked at expanding areas that have proven to be popular with members and adding new amenities with an eye to future growth. Here is a look at the 2022 trends and those strategic moves that clubs made this year
Technology leads the way
Throughout 2022, clubs recognized the need to upgrade technology to improve operations and enhance the member experience.
They added innovative offerings like Northstar’s Tableside POS. The system equips servers with mini-tablets that allow them to enter members' orders right at the table and have them instantaneously appear on the Kitchen Display Screen. This advancement helps boost order accuracy, improve meal delivery by 4 to 6 minutes, and allows wait staff to spend more time with the members to make the experience exceptional. Other technology that clubs prioritized included:
Member app – improving member engagement by allowing them to interact with the club on the one device that is always with them.
Golf operations software – giving the golf operation a full suite of tools to manage everything from tee times to the pro shop inventory
Business intelligence – delivering the ability to mine all the club’s data to uncover the insights that help clubs take the experience to the next level
Reimagining the restaurant and bar
The F&B offering is at the core of the experience for many clubs. So it is crucial for them to continually evolve it to meet the preferences that shift as a result of events like the pandemic or an ongoing trend such as the health and wellness movement.
The pandemic brought with it the necessity to create more outdoor dining and bar areas. Members responded positively to the change and expressed a desire for it to grow. As a result, clubs continued to expand outdoor dining and bar areas this year.
Members also enjoyed the offerings that came with these venues. Clubs increased the selection of ‘fast casual’ menu items. And speaking of the menu, the popularity of the health and wellness movement had clubs adding more health-conscious items to the menu in 2022.
Golf tees up new offerings
Golf is the other mainstay of many clubs’ experience. This year we saw continued growth beyond the course. Clubs added facilities like new practice bays. But they also took a cue from concepts like Top Golf that make the sport more accessible to a broader group. This took the form of amenities like golf simulators.
Family comes first
Clubs continued to create offerings that appeal to the group that represents the greatest growth opportunity — couples in their 40s with kids.
As a result, we saw clubs create family-friendly offerings. Game rooms were added. And pools shifted to aquatic centers, introducing things like splash pads for the kids and offerings like Northstar’s Grab n Go that accommodate poolside dining.
Clubs expanded their racquet sports as well, building courts for pickleball and padel. In addition, they retooled programs, developing classes and activities that catered to kids and families.
Health & wellness gets emphasized
The desire for expanded health and wellness facilities continued to increase this last year. Clubs added equipment, classes, and services. Some even undertook capital improvement projects to build larger fitness facilities. Those included workout areas and spa amenities like massage, sauna, salt, and steam rooms. As mentioned before, the F&B operations have supported the efforts by bringing healthier options to the menus as well.
While there was some trepidation entering 2022, clubs continued to thrive. New member recruitment may be down from the numbers seen during the heart of the pandemic years, but they are still healthy. As a result, clubs are investing in the technology and amenities that will help keep their clubs relevant to members and enticing to prospects.
To take a deeper dive into the technology that progressive clubs have deployed this year, request a demo of the Northstar system. It’s a complete club management software solution that continues to bring the innovations that leading clubs use to help elevate the member experience. Request your demo, today.