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July 2018 Industry Report

Personalization, but at what cost?

The recent uproar over social media privacy concerns (in particular Facebook) has resulted in many private clubs and resorts evaluating goals and pitfalls of personalized service standards. Several technology companies are selling systems that allow you to track a guest/member, in real time, around the property. The upshot? Staff is quickly able to determine which car is about to arrive at valet and which group is about to make the turn.  The concern? Do your guests/members want to be tracked? For example, recent surveys report one in three of marriages, one or both partners admit to cheating (22% of husbands and 14% of wives). What if your technology “outed” a guest or member? What is your liability – both financially and morally?


My suggestion is rather old school. I recommend having a photo album of member/VIP guest headshots. Part of the job responsibility of your front-line staff (general manager/director of golf/maître d') is to memorize names to faces. Although more time consuming and imperfect, it provides personalization without tracking.


Shooting Star in Jackson, Wyoming, has an interesting protocol that others can learn from. Each morning wait staff is handed a sheet with the photo/name of members who have made dining reservations. After a quick study, staff can quickly greet members/guests by name as they glance at the reference sheet. See: www.ShootingStarJH.com.


Research and repeat

Most resorts and private clubs that I work with have distinct four season climates. Even regions that you might assume to have a fairly consistent environment might surprise you. Take Jacksonville, Florida, as a case study. The average high temperature during the summer is 92 degrees and during the dead of winter, it’s 66 degrees – equaling a 29% temperature swing between seasons. A terrific tip for your sales team is to recommend prospects to visit during different times of year to evaluate climate, bugs, course conditions…and most importantly, the social calendar. Ideally a visit during all four seasons (summer, fall, spring, and winter) allows for a complete analysis.


Pursuit for perfection

Resort guests today crave experiential moments, often to brag about on their social media Snapchat Story – providing free PR for the hotel.


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of The Resort at Pelican Hill. Tom Fazio, after completing his two oceanfront designs remarked, “This is a one of a kind special place.”


One of The Resort at Pelican Hill’s more popular stories, reposted thousands of times on social media, is the history of its Coliseum Pool. The pool is carpeted with 1.5 million aqua marine tiles made of recycled glass from Mexico.   The tiles were applied by hand by teams of craftsmen, sometimes numbering as many as 50 at a time. Just weeks before the resort was to open, the pool was filled with water and the project team noticed the appearance of distinct concentric rings in parts of the pool where the water was supposed to be crystal clear. The culprit was tiles that had become slightly discolored due to aging.  The light-refracting nature of the water made their flaws more conspicuous. The pool was drained and every tile was replaced. See: www.PelicanHill.com.


Consider brainstorming about one-of-a-kind stories and attributes of your property and make it easy for guests to relay that info to their friends and family.


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