In mere months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world causing deaths, illness and financial collapse. As citizens around the world move on from sheltering in place and slowly reengage while practice social distancing, the business operations that preceded the virus will not go on as they once did. With uncertainty over when and how social distancing requirements will ultimately be eased, companies and private clubs must pivot by using technology to create safe measures for members to enjoy a semblance of what was once “normal” life.
A commitment to customers is an essential mindset as businesses must recognize that customer preferences will shift as shelter in place and social distancing orders are lifted. The virus caused Americans to reevaluate home life, with many turning their homes into makeshift offices, schools and fitness centers. Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, many Americans have created more convenient lifestyles during the pandemic, by cutting out their work commute and communicating virtually with colleagues using ZOOM; skipping a trip to the gym for a video workout in their living room; and avoiding the grocery store to opt for online delivery.
Over the last decade, members have increasingly demanded convenience as obligations outside of the home grew. While it is unclear how those obligations will shift after COVID-19, concerns over the ability to safely visit public venues will continue driving clubs to provide convenient product offerings.
Simply put, the club is the most trusted place in a member’s eyes and through convenience, private clubs will emerge as a safe haven for normalcy.
For club managers, convenience must be a central motivator to conducting business as members return. Clubs must continue utilizing mobile ordering for things like food and beverage and curbside pick-up. Now, though, mobile ordering should also be used to ease members’ concerns over face-to-face contact. For instance, clubs can limit COVID-19-related fears by moving check-in from sign-in sheets that required multiple members to handle the same pencil to a tap on their personal mobile device.
Balancing safety with revenue generation must also be at the forefront of club managers’ minds. Some experts believe waves of social distancing will be needed before life can resume as “normal”. That being said, club managers must consider how technology will allow them resume operations in the most normal fashion. Instant messaging between members and employees can optimize communication. Clubs can turn to virtual tours to interact with prospective members and show them the club’s amenities. While such concepts may have seemed novel months ago, they are quickly becoming the norm.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic presents clubs an opportunity to innovate their product offerings. For members, the club is a second home, where they come for recreation, relaxation and engagement with others. This truly is a time unlike anything any of us has ever experienced. Yet, through examining business principles and relying on technology, clubs can better position themselves to weather COVID-19.