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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • Primary Club Metrics

    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

Article by Chris Mumford

The Evolution Of Private Clubs

AETHOS Consulting Group · 7 February 2019
For the following hundred years or so, clubs remained the purview of the elite as discreet, no-questions-asked venues for socialising, pursuing leisure interests, exchanging gossip, and wining and dining. As the elite aged and the 'gentleman' was replaced by the 'businessman', many private member's clubs became relics of a distant age and struggled to remain relevant. That all changed in the mid-1990s when, just as Ian Schrager reinvented what a hotel could look like, Nick Jones turned the club world in London on its head with the introduction of Soho House. Over the subsequent two decades Soho House has spawned and inspired a thriving industry sector of member's clubs that are in tune with the lifestyle zeitgeist of the times. Think boutique hotel design, rooftop pools, award-winning mixologists, yoga classes, converted historic building, celebrity chefs and guest speakers opining mindfulness, cryptocurrency and coding. If proof were needed that the member's club has been fully reinvigorated and accepted by the consumer market, Soho House, which began life specifically targeting the arts and media worlds and taking delight in rebuffing those from financial services, opened its biggest site, The Ned, in 2017 bang opposite London's financial heart, the Bank of England.The member's club has become a global phenomenon in recent years with a proliferation of trendy clubs opening in key cities in the United States as well as established clubs launching outposts in European capitals and gateway Asian markets. The concept however has evolved from those 19th century days of a club being a townhouse with dining room, room, library, billiards room and a handful of bedrooms upstairs. Over the years many clubs have increased and upgraded their accommodation component, in particular in a bid to compete with hotels and offer their members even more reason to remain in-house. Similarly, where feasible, clubs have begun expanding their leisure facilities to include gyms and swimming pools.The club concept is also having to adapt itself to the wants and needs of its membership base. Clubs are no longer homes-away-from-home or simply places for leisure and relaxation. Increasingly today, they are places in which to conduct work and professional networking. Indeed, in this high-tech era of mobile working, many business people are eschewing fixed office space in favour of working remotely from their club on their laptop and phone. We are beginning to see the worlds of member's clubs and co-working spaces collide. A number of member's clubs are now creating dedicated workspace for their members with full connectivity and business services. Similarly, co-working groups, many of which operate on a membership model, such as Fora in London and The Great Room and Kafnu in Asia, are designing spaces and amenities with a strong social focus and 'clubby' environment.Hotels are also entering the private club game, recognising the additional revenue stream that a membership base can provide. Creating a member's club as a private sanctuary within a larger hospitality offering can convey a perception of exclusivity and desirability, which positively translates to increased brand equity for the property as a whole. A membership base also helps reduce the hotel owner's fretting about distribution and looking for guests to fill as many beds as possible every night, as well as helping to drive increased F&B business from a captive audience. Concepts such as Gansevoort's The Curtain in London have shown how a hotel can cater to both traditional hotel guests and fee-paying members within the same building, through the provision of an active membership events programme, co-working space and dynamic F&B offering.Some hoteliers are going even further and starting to dabble with the wholesale conversion of hotels into private membership clubs. This idea is potentially well suited to the small, independent, luxury hotel sector in which properties often command strong, long-term guest loyalty and repeat customers. The annual membership model lessens management's fixation on occupancy and rate, allows for much more predictable staffing and purchasing patterns, and gives a solid foundation of income. For the right product the conversion of a guest from a paying-by-the-night customer into an annual fee-paying member is a purchase decision driven as much by emotional as financial reasons.As the divide between pleasure time and work time has eroded, so too have the distinctions between what constitutes a member's club, a co-working space and a hotel. Expect to see these lines blur ever more over the coming years as property owners seek more and more ways to maximise the revenue potential of every square inch. The membership model continues to hold appeal, and the question facing club operators will be whether this remains a proposition best suited to the top end of the market or if it can be stretched to become more accessible to a broader audience in the future.

Healthy Vacation Club Coming to Orlando

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek· 6 September 2018
A new concept in tourism is coming to Orlando in 2019. Healthy Vacation Club will be transforming the tourism landscape by meeting the needs of the sustainability, organic, and non-toxic focused travel markets.

Privilege and Accountability

Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Blog·22 May 2018
This year my family is having a wonderful landmark vacation. Rose and I along with our three adult children and their significant others are going to Italy. We have been invited to a wedding at a castle near Florence.

Associated Luxury Hotels International Is Quietly Growing Its Convention Collection

The Hotel Insider - Cheryl-Anne Sturken·26 February 2018
When earlier this month a press release popped up in my email announcing that Associated Luxury Hotels International had added yet another hotel to its Convention Collection, my curiosity was piqued. While I certainly know about ALHI, a global sales organization dedicated to the meeting and incentive marketplace with more than 250 hotel, resort, cruise ship and global DMC members worldwide, I had never heard of this particular collection of meeting properties.

Empowering Your People By Conor Kenny

Conor Kenny & Associates ·11 July 2017
Many years ago I was working with a beautiful Pub in County Cavan. The owner was cheerful, energetic and driven. Still, things weren’t happening and business was slipping. It didn’t take long to see why. A quick glance at the palatial surroundings couldn’t hide the glum faces of every staff member. The solution was clear but would he implement it?
Article by Robert Mandelbaum

Paying the Intermediaries: An Analysis of Hotel Commissions

CBRE Hotels ·19 May 2017
Per the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI), payments to intermediaries are classified as commissions. In recognition of the rise in intermediaries, the 11th edition of the USALI stipulates two commission expense categories within the rooms department; one for commissions paid for the booking of transient business, and one for commissions paid for the booking of group business. The commissions paid within the rooms department cover sales made for not only guest room rentals, but for any other ancillary revenue associated with those guests. If, however, an intermediary secures business solely for the benefit of the food and beverage department (i.e. local catering business without guest room rentals), then the commission payment is recorded within the food and beverage department.Not included in the rooms department commission expense category are payments made to agents for the rental of commercial space within a hotel. These commission payments are recorded as professional fees within the administrative and general department.In recognition of the rise in intermediaries, CBRE Hotels' Americas Research began to track commission payments within the rooms department starting in 2015. Our firm's Trends(r) in the Hotel Industry database captures the combined commissions paid for both transient and group business. The following paragraphs summarize the magnitude of rooms department commission payments in 2015 for U.S. hotels.A Significant ExpenseOn average, commission payments are the second largest expense within the rooms department, behind labor costs. This ranking does vary by property type. At limited-service and extended-stay hotels, the cost of providing complimentary meals exceeds commission payments. At resort properties, more money is spent on the laundry, linen, and supplies provided in the guest rooms.Measured as a percent of revenue, commission payments averaged 3.0 percent of total rooms revenue in 2015. Unfortunately the metric we do not have access to is the percentage of rooms revenue subject to a commission payment. Therefore, we are unable to calculate the average commission rate charged by travel agents and other intermediaries.Commissions calculated as a percent of rooms revenue were greatest at convention hotels (4.5%). This confirms the increased use of housing companies and other agencies by meeting planners. Historically, hotels would deal directly with the meeting planner, and for the most part not have to pay a commission.Commissions paid as a percent of rooms revenue were lowest at extended-stay properties (2.1%). In this segment, it appears that hotel sales managers are still able to deal directly with the corporate travel executives booking the long-term stays. Given recent trends in the convention segment, extended-stay hotel owners and operators should monitor intermediary activity in their segment going forward. The Dollar AmountBecause of the differences in room rates, the dollar value of the commission paid by a hotel is influenced by the average daily rate (ADR). Therefore, it is not surprising that commission payments measured on a dollar per occupied room (POR) basis tend to follow the ADRs achieved by the various property types and chain-scales.In 2015, convention hotels recorded the highest commission POR payments among all the property types ($8.14), followed by resort hotels ($6.22). When analyzing commissions POR by chain-scale, luxury properties paid the most ($10.25). Not only do luxury hotels and resorts achieve high ADRs, their guests are most likely to use the services of a travel agent.At the low end of commission POR payments are extended-stay ($2.13) and limited-service ($3.35) properties. These hotels achieve relatively low ADRs, and their guests may not be using intermediaries as much as other travelers.Looking ForwardIn an effort to measure the impact of intermediaries on the financial performance of hotels, the American Hotel and Lodging Association's Consumer Innovation Forum is working with several hotel franchising, ownership and management companies to establish metrics that measure the "total acquisition cost" of hotel revenue. Commissions are just one component of this equation. Other components include reservation fees, marketing costs, and other expense incurred to secure revenue.At CBRE, going forward we will be able to monitor annual changes in the commissions paid to intermediaries. This will shed some light on the ability of hotels to control this cost by negotiating more favorable contracts with the intermediaries, or increasing the frequency of guests booking directly with the hotel.tO purchase a copy of Trends(r) in the Hotel Industry, please visit, or call (855) 223-1200. This article was published in the April 2017 edition of Lodging.

Airline Lounge Memberships - Are they Worth it?

Stocki Exchange · 3 March 2017
In a recent blog post on Essential Travel Tips, I scratched the surface on some of the perks that airline lounges offer travelers. Today, I want to take a deep dive into the benefits that an airline lounge membership offers as well as provide all the information necessary for you to decide whether or not an airline lounge membership is right for you. You might be surprised to find out that many lounges provide the feeling of flying first class without costing an arm and a leg.Airline Lounge BenefitsLounges are one of the few luxuries most travelers have to look forward to today. Their comforts can really break up the monotony of constant travel and long layovers.Common Airline Lounge BenefitsSnacks and/ or full mealsCoffee, water and juicesAlcoholic beveragesWifi accessQuiet and comfortable atmosphereBusiness center with printersShower facilitiesBut the perks don't end there. More often than not, lounge attendants are willing to go above and beyond to help make your travel more comfortable and convenient. Since they don't have to worry about boarding issues like workers at the gate, they can help you with things like adjusting legs of a flight, rebooking you in case of a cancellation, and locating lost/delayed luggage.Attention International TravelersMany airlines have global airline alliances that extend their lounge benefits across the globe. Delta works with KLM, Air France, and others through the SkyTeam Alliance offering 600+ lounges worldwide, American Airlines work with British Airways and others through Oneworld with 600 lounges and United works with Lufthansa and others through Star Alliance with over 1,000 worldwide.via GIPHYCommon U.S. Airline LoungesDelta, American, and United Airlines are The Big Three here in the U.S. Accordingly, you'll find their lounges in virtually every major airport in the country. Yearly membership averages right around $500 for each and I've covered some of the specifics in a bit more detail below.Delta Sky Club$450 annually, up to two guests at $29 per person$695 annually, up to two guests at no additional charge$59 non-member daily rateFree and/ or discounted ($29) daily lounge access with one of the Delta SkyMiles Credit CardsAmerican Admirals Club$400-$550 annually (depending on American Airlines AAdvantage status), up to two guests at no additional charge$59 non-member daily rateFree lounge access for cardholders and guests with the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Credit CardUnited Club$550 annually, up to two guests at no additional charge$59 non-member daily rateFree lounge access for cardholders and guests with the United MileagePlus Club CardBusiness Bob's Breakeven Pointvia GIPHYNow that I've covered annual membership fees, it's time to break down how much travel do you really need to do in order to justify purchasing an airline lounge membership? If you're the type that is willing to spend a little more for creature comforts, feel free to jump down to some of the lounge alternatives I've suggested in the next section. If you're still trying to figure out if the dollars and cents add up, I've done some simple math for you below.Business Bob's Travel ProfileTravels domestically once a month for workHas a meal and cocktail at an airport restaurant before each flight: ~$70 with tip ($35 each way)Needs WiFi access: $120 annually ($10 a month)Always grabs a coffee or bottle of water before hopping on the plane: $10 ($5 each way)Bobs Travel Expenditure: $1080 annually or $90 per trip ORBob purchases a Delta Sky Club Membership for $450 annually or $37.50 per tripComparable Benefits included in Airline Lounge Membership - WiFi, cold snacks, cookies, coffee/water, and unlimited alcoholic drinks (just don't be a lush).Additional Benefits Include - Showers, a quiet atmosphere, private work stations, conference rooms, and comfortable seating.Bob would save over $600 every year by getting an annual membership even if he only utilizes a few of the benefits offered. So all in, it's safe to say that if you're traveling alone monthly or with a guest every other month, you'll more than recoup your membership cost.Airline Lounge Membership AlternativesBefore you dive into purchasing your airline lounge membership, you should definitely consider the alternatives that aren't tied to specific airlines: Priority Pass, LoungeBuddy, and The Centurion Lounge by American Express to name a few.Though, the most notable membership alternatives can be found through many of the popular credit cards available today. Many provide free, or heavily discounted, lounge access. If you're interested in looking into the most popular cards, I suggest heading over to The Points Guy. He has done a fantastic job breaking down many of the top options. In general, the fees on these cards are comparable to the lounge membership fees, and they tend to come with quite a few other perks as well.via GIPHYOne key thing to remember, regardless of whether you purchase a membership or upgrade your credit card to get lounge access, is that you cannot deduct the annual membership fees for either as a business expense. However, you may be able to expense a day-pass. Regardless, it's up to you to decide whether or not paying for comfort and convenience is something you're willing to spend your hard-earned money on.If you're considering an airline lounge membership, but still on the fence, I would love to learn more about your hesitations. On the other hand, if you're a lounge member, I would love to hear more about what you find most valuable. Feel free to send me an email at or contact me here.***Prices discussed in this article are up to date as of October 2016
Article by Kacey Bradley

Things These Businesses Are Doing to Appeal to the Needs and Desires of All Ages

The Drifter Collective ·22 February 2017
Decades ago, businesses focused on exclusivity and appealed only to particular demographics -- women's clubs, men's clubs or the wealthy, for example. These days, exclusivity is faced with a more negative connotation and an association with walling people out, instead of welcoming them in.Over time, this trend has shifted, and inclusivity has become the new trend as more businesses work to appeal to the needs and desires of all ages. Retailers embrace different sizes. Private clubs have expanded membership and activities. Hotels and hospitality services focus on making life better for everyone who enters through the door. Everywhere, businesses are making big breakthroughs in inclusivity and diversity.The True Meaning of HospitalityMany luxury resorts, spas and hotel getaways have been marketed and branded for their exclusivity. Yet, it's inclusivity that's taking hospitality to the next level of top notch customer service, for every individual who enters the front door.The Bespoke Access Awards, initiated through peers of the UK House of Lords, is an international design competition with goals to improve access to lodgings and hotel experience for all guests, especially for those who are disabled. Inclusive design categories include: service design, product design and architecture.Entries may come from any individual or group of any age, but entrants are advised to communicate with disabled individuals and relevant service users. Ideas may address an experience from check in or check out, to any service a hotel offers a guest.For businesses in modern society, inclusivity demands transparency. Most businesses in the hospitality industry have a section on their websites outlining their missions of diversity and inclusivity for their brand, to both guests and employees. Starwood Hotels' corporate values are outlined clearly and nicely summarized in this excerpt, "Creating an environment of inclusion for our associates, guests and suppliers isn't just the right thing; it is the very core of our business."Starwood actively seeks out diverse vendors and suppliers to work with, that are LGBT-owned, women-owned, disability-owned or minority-owned. With many of its destinations in LGBT-friendly cities, Starwood and W Hotels have raised money in support of marriage equality through a series of concerts and talks. Unfortunately many LGBT couples and families face stereotyping and judgment when traveling, and these hotels realize the true meaning of hospitality, focusing on real-world families and their travel needs.Clothing Retailers Embrace All SizesYears ago, you would be hard pressed to find a plus size model on the same runaway as a size two. Today, inclusivity is trending in the fashion industry, and more clothing brands and retailers are embracing all sizes. The focus is celebrating the diversity of the human body.There are many body shapes, skin colors and heights, and no one type is better than another. Retailers focus less on exclusivity of a particular body type as best, and build all people up instead of playing into their insecurities--particularly women.A wonderful example of this shift in the fashion industry is American Eagle's best fit campaign, featuring all types of women as it advertised the Aerie underwear brand. The company publically promoted its choice to forgo any use of Photoshop in Aerie promotions in the future. Its campaign emphasized the best fit as: "Every frame. Entire size range," focusing on the empowerment particularly expressed by millennial women, aiming to spread that reflection to all women.Private Clubs Have Expanded MembershipPrivate clubs have traditionally offered unique opportunities to network within a specific demographic or industry, keeping the pool of individuals limited or defined by certain traits to better the group. These systems exist even as types of meetup groups for stay at home moms and military families, but some private clubs and their traditions are outdated in the modern world.To limit privilege and oppression of any student on campus, last year Northwestern University announced that campus groups must admit any interested student within the next year or those groups risk losing funding. Some argued that the quality of group membership would be "diluted," while others opened up the argument of what historical exclusive groups are still relevant in a campus environment. In a college environment, this is a great discussion and growing opportunity, but how does this apply on a larger scale in the real world?In the wider world, this discussion extends to private clubs and businesses that once catered to a specific target audience. Many of these have expanded membership.The YMCA and YWCA are a popular set of examples which once limited exclusivity to men and women, with a Christian focus. Keeping up with modern times, they successfully opened up membership, while keeping programs that help underprivileged groups. For example, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) decided to drop the "Christian" term in 2011 in its name across the UK to embrace Platform 51, which seeks to "lobby for changes in the law and policies to help all women," though the name change did receive criticism from religious groups.Country clubs are also expanding their exclusive memberships to become more family-oriented to families of various classes and backgrounds. In San Francisco, California, the Martin Country Club is focused on family as an aspect of a well-rounded life, and this a great example of a club that provides inclusive membership and activities for the entire family and all ages. The club offers the traditional tennis courts, golf courses and pools, but it also offers diverse groups, classes, activities and lessons, including cooking classes, jazz on the green and poolside barbecues.As more businesses focus on inclusivity, instead of exclusivity, they appeal to the true needs and desires of all groups of people to reap major benefits. Businesses find great success and rewards in help all families, ages, genders, races and religions network, have fun and develop healthy and beneficial lifestyles. Exclusivity is out, and inclusivity is in. The real focus on what should matter: human beings helping each other be their best selves.

Shadow IT - An Interview with Timo E. Kettern

Hospitality Net ·11 November 2016
Timo E. Kettern is the IT Director at Lapithus Hotel Management and a respected professional in his field. In anticipation of HITEC Amsterdam which will take place next year in March in Amsterdam, we spoke with him about shadow IT activities, technology, and devices that fall outside the traditional IT funding.The central question is whether shadow IT like unapproved software, apps, and devices need to be managed by the IT department of the organization, considering that many of these tools may raise serious security challenges, leaving the business exposed to all kinds of attacks. Because each business is different and shadow IT evolves, should the IT department create a particular branch to manage such tools? How can IT not stifle innovation but still exercise required security and fiscal governance in the organization?Kettern addressed some of the issues with his response, beginning with the increase of compliance and legal requirements and what hurdles hospitality pros need to overcome to get the job done, and ending with an emphasis on balance."It remains a matter of fact that in the last years more and more compliance and legal requirements came into effect. As all main business processes in the hospitality industry are technology enabled, what easier than to put the required compliance standards into the IT systems and processes? So far so good, you would think.But these controls and processes make it more time-consuming and cumbersome for an associate to get their job done. For example, in some jurisdictions, we are required to capture certain private details of the guest and store them in our PMS. The data fields in the PMS then become mandatory for input. What then happens during a busy check-in is that anything will be inserted in the date fields by the associate just to finish registration process as quickly as possible. You can't really blame them for trying to serve the arriving guest as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, on we have a regulatory requirement that is translated into an IT process that results in Data-Mull.As another example, hotels cannot send/receive credit card data in unencrypted emails. As IT responsible people in the hotel industry, we apply all sorts of technology to make sure non-plain text credit card number can be sent or received using the corporate email. But nothing stops the creative reservations team to set-up a webmail account with any free email provider and to use that to receive credit-card information from the guest. So who is to blame here? The institutions that create these rules? The corporate IT Team for doing their best to keep the company compliant and therefore out of trouble? Or the associates in the hotel who only want to get their job done efficiently?"Kettern (pictured) concludes his response with an emphasis on balance, which is essential for good business."In my opinion, every organization has to find the right balance between compliance and risk of conducting the business - and, of course, that will vary greatly depended on the ownership of the hotel (group)."Planning for HITEC Amsterdam is in full swing with guidance from an advisory council representing eight European countries. The council is chaired by Carson Booth, CHTP and vice-chaired by Derek Wood. For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP) andInstagram (HFTP_HITEC). For more information about HITEC Amsterdam, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at, +1 (512) 249-5333.

Marketing Proficiency: A Golf Metaphor

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration ·15 September 2016
Professional golfer Jimmy Walker's interview after the PGA Championship about what it takes to be good at golf caught my attention. Walker expressed the importance of being proficient with every club in the bag. That idea strikes me as being particularly relevant to marketers. Marketers, too, need to be proficient with all the marketing "clubs in our bag."
Article by David M. Brudney

Cancellation fees, Smaller Meetings, and Shorter Lead-Time

David Brudney & Associates ·14 July 2016
I'm not qualified to write about industry trends, but I can write about trends that I have observed at one of my client's properties, a very upscale resort located at a great destination, that has done as much as 70 percent group business.This year the resort is experiencing a huge increase in larger group cancellations, cancellation fees, smaller group meeting demand, and shorter lead-time bookings.Half way through 2016 the resort has already surpassed the total amount of cancellation fees captured in 2015. Why such a significant increase in cancellation fees?Corporate meetings booked prior to new CEO coming aboard;A plethora of company mergers;Oil prices.Surprisingly, corporations seem to have no problems paying these cancellation fees. Many of the cancellations have come just two months out of the booked event.The resort is also experiencing considerable caution on the part of groups booking 2017 and beyond - - very slow to go to contract. Possible reasons? One reason could very well be uncertainty over the upcoming general election.The property is also experiencing a transition from larger to smaller groups (60 rooms or less), booking an average of three months out or even shorter lead-time.A profile of these smaller groups:Corporate and association/society meetings/events previously booked in South America cancelled due Zika virus scare, rebooking in the USA;C-level or C-suite retreats over weekends;New CEO bringing 20 or less senior executives from all over the world;Law partner retreats, midweek and weekends.These smaller groups fall into two very distinct categories:Groups where price is no issue; groups want to be "Wow'd", best experience ever;Groups on very tight budgets, stretching every possible dollar, agreeing to book over the resort's low demand dates.Elsewhere, trends I have observed nationally and globally include more hybrid meetings, more creative F&B functions and menus (more healthier fare, hors d'oeuvres passed vs. more formal sit-down banquets), adapting to new technology, more charging stations, and demand for meeting venues with more natural sunlight, and attractive outdoor venues.Overall, it's great to see group demand back. I believe strongly that there will always be demand for American groups to meet.19th century French political thinker and historian Alexis De Tocqueville said it best in his 1840 book "Democracy in America," when he observed that Americans constantly form associations - - to gather and to meet. 176 years later, De Tocqueville's observations ring true today.

An insight into today's hospitality technology professionals

Tnooz·17 May 2016
A preview of the 2016 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Survey offers a rare global insight into the type of person working in the hotel IT sector and their responsibilities. The professional field for hospitality technology professionals is a growing segment within the hospitality industry as it coincides with the prominence of technology in hospitality operations and guest services. In 2002, HFTP began gathering compensation and benefits information on hospitality financial and technology professionals on a biennial basis. The technology landscape has changed dramatically since then, but some challenges remain constant – data security, network security, electronic payments and in-room technologies were talked about in industry publications over a decade ago and remain relevant today.

Golf Entertainment Complexes Offer a New Spin on an Old Game

Hotel & Leisure Advisors · 6 May 2016
With almost 1,500 18-hole equivalent golf course closures over the last 10 years and six million fewer golfers according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), is it realistic to consider that the highest and best use of a Texas golf range that only managed $310,000 in gross revenue and 25,000 annual customer visits is still a driving range - albeit not your grandfather's driving range?Topgolf developers thought so, and in 2007 transformed the 50-stall Hank Haney Golf Range at Park Lane Ranch in Dallas into Topgolf Dallas, a 72-bay golf entertainment complex that bridges the gap between the traditional driving range and a favorite neighborhood hangout.In three years, the renovations and expansion increased visitation by a factor of eight, revenue by a factor of 24, and tripled the revenue per visitor. While more analysis would be needed to determine whether a next-generation driving range is truly the highest and best use, it passes the test of financial feasibility with flying colors.What is a Golf Entertainment Complex?The concept for a golf entertainment complex was created in England by two brothers who wanted to improve their golf game. They designed and patented technology that allowed microchips to be implanted into the golf ball for sensors to track and provide real-time feedback. After deploying the technology, they found an overwhelmingly majority of non-golfers and families started to come and treat it like a game.They tweaked the concept to address the demand, and Topgolf was born. Players aim for green-sized, dartboard-like targets that are scattered throughout the 240-yard field and are awarded points depending on where the ball lands. Essentially, golf meets darts. Players choose from a variety of games that concentrate on different skills such as distance, accuracy, or the short game. Unlike a traditional driving range where players buy a bucket of balls, driving range bays are rented by the hour at a cost of $20 to $45 depending on the time of day and day of week.A New Spin on the Golf ExperienceAccording to a 2015 NGF survey, negative perceptions of golf as a stuffy gentlemen's game have contributed to its decline in popularity among younger generations. However, turning a driving range into a social event has proven to be the right combination. Golf entertainment complexes are being built near business parks or office space to capture corporate demand and in shopping and entertainment districts to attract parties and leisure visitors. The concept has proven especially popular with the Millennial generation, which comprise over 50% of visitors.The newest Topgolf golf entertainment complexes, Generation II, are typically three stories and feature 102 climate-controlled driving range bays each with a capacity of up to six people. Music, a full-service restaurant, multiple bars, stage, rooftop terrace, 200+ HD televisions, 3,000 square feet of private event space, pool tables, shuffleboard, and other activities create a fun and lively atmosphere. Wait staff take orders and serve food and drinks at the driving range bays.Topgolf has reported that its 24 locations have a combined annual attendance of over eight million. Nine locations are in development with plans to expand to 50 locations by 2017.Development CostsTopgolf's golf entertainment complexes are approximately 65,000 square feet and require between 12 and 15 acres of land. The first U.S. locations, like the Topgolf Texas, were converted from existing driving ranges and had development costs of $5 million to $7 million. The following table shows EPR Properties' initial costs, excluding real estate and technological development for 10 Topgolf locations.Topgolf does not release its financial statements; however, we estimate that golf entertainment complexes are able to generate between $10 million and $25 million in revenue per year with 50% to 60% of revenue generated through food and beverage sales. While Topgolf currently does not plan to expand through franchising, other companies are entering the golf entertainment complex market. Newcastle Investment Corporation and Taylor Made Golf Company announced plans to create Drive Shack, a chain of next-gen golf ranges with locations across the United States and internationally. Origin LLC also has plans to open a golf entertainment complex, Skybox, and is searching for a location.Looking Toward the FutureIn the near-term, the golf entertainment complex is becoming the biggest growth vehicle in the golf industry. As the supply of the 18-hole golf course declines and Baby Boomers age, we foresee the number of golf entertainment complexes increasing as companies add to the experience with amenities such as swimming pools or concert venues.The golf entertainment complex phenomenon comes at an interesting time for the golf industry as participation continues to decline each year. While golf entertainment complexes are introducing the sport to a new audience, it remains to be seen if those newcomers will try traditional links and grow the sport over the long-term.Hotels may also benefit from growth in the golf entertainment complex market as hoteliers look to package rooms with interesting local amenities. By partnering with golf entertainment complexes, hotels, especially those with limited meeting space, have an opportunity to attract additional demand from groups seeking less traditional venues for their events.

Profiles in Excellence: Kirk Reese

An interview with Kirk Reese, general manager and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Country Club (LACC), is presented. Reese discusses his management philosophy, how LACC is appealing to young, prospective members, and the characteristics he looks for in a new employee. He also mentions the biggest challenge that club managers face today.

Servant Leadership: Putting Others First

The article focuses on the Carolinas Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA). Topics covered include the establishment of Carolinas Against Cancer which aims to find a cure for cancer, the decision of the chapter to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the inaugural year of 2010, and the focus of the chapter's mission in 2014.

Ask the Expert: Landscaping

The article provides an answer to a question on the best practices to water the golf courses and other landscapes of golf clubs.

Profiles in Excellence: Herb Pirk

An interview with Herb Pirk, general manager of the public golf course Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario, is presented. Topics he discussed his experience to deliver services on private and public sectors, the clubs' community relations, and how they value their employees to maintain their good retention rate. He also mentions some of the club's achievement including the small footprint, efficient irrigation system, and less use of chemicals.

Finding Neverland

· 2 October 2015
NeverThat this year's Broadway premier of the musical version of the Johnny Depp-fueled movie "Finding Neverland" didn't receive a single Tony Award nomination is nothing short of a travesty. Especially seeing that the awards show saw fit to feature a number from the production in this year's telecast. We experienced the musical earlier this week in New York City...and it was every bit as magical as its premise: the story behind how playwright J.M. Barrie concocted the characters and story line for his mesmerizing "Peter Pan." Michael Morrison ("Glee") was solid as J.M. Barrie. Kelsey Grammer's absence in the role of "Hook" was barely noticed with a stellar rendition by the amazing Terrance Mann, in only his second performance with the company. And, Amy Yakima ("So You Think You Can Dance") simply radiated as the effervescent Pan. The players that make up the ragtag cast set to perform Barrie's grand experiment are often hilarious. And, the choreographry of Mia Michaels was sensational

Capitalizing on Reality

·30 September 2015
FargoIn the effort to visit all 50 States before departing terra firma, there are a few States that are consistently the last ones we score. They tend to be distant (Alaska and Hawaii) or small border States (New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho). And then, there's North Dakota. And, the folks at the Fargo CVB have scored a PR coup by creating the "Best for Last Club." The point: we know we're going to be one of the last States those gunning for all 50 will visit. So, why not build on the whole "saving the best for last" thing? And, what a welcome those visitors that score 50 in Fargo receive. Well played, Fargo.         Related Stories * A Home Page That Begs You to Click * The Magical Magnetism of a Visit * When Ego and Politics Harm a Destination  


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