The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Enhancing Membership Experience and Operations

In today’s private club landscape, maintaining a competitive edge means embracing innovation. Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers tangible benefits for member clubs, promising to elevate both the membership experience and operational efficiency. Understanding the pragmatic integration of AI is crucial to realising its true potential for impacting clubs for the better.

Membership Experience

AI has the capability to revolutionise membership engagement with your club. By leveraging AI-driven personalisation, clubs can tailor offerings to individual preferences, creating a bespoke journey for each member. From customised event suggestions to personalised communications, AI enhances engagement and fosters a sense of exclusivity.

Moreover, AI-driven analytics can provide invaluable insights into member behaviour, allowing clubs to anticipate needs and preferences. This predictive capability enables proactive service delivery, ensuring that members feel understood and valued.

However, it is essential to strike a balance. While AI enhances personalisation, maintaining the human touch is critical. Combining the efficiency of AI with personal interactions ensures a holistic and enriching membership experience.

Operational Efficiency

In relation to operations, AI can streamline processes and optimise efficiency. From automated member onboarding to predictive maintenance for club facilities, AI can handle routine tasks, freeing up staff to focus on more complex and interpersonal aspects of their roles.

AI-driven analytics can also revolutionise decision-making processes by providing data-driven insights. From resource allocation to financial planning, clubs can make informed decisions, leading to better overall management.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to implement AI in a way that enhances, rather than replaces, human capabilities. Staff should be trained to collaborate effectively with AI systems, ensuring a seamless integration that maximises operational efficiency while preserving the human touch.


The integration of AI should be seen as a complement to, not a replacement for, personal relationships within member clubs. While AI enhances efficiency, human interactions provide the emotional connections that are the backbone of any successful club.

Understanding the importance of this balance is key. AI can handle routine and data-driven tasks, allowing staff to focus on building meaningful connections with members. The human touch remains irreplaceable in cultivating a sense of community and loyalty.

As managers in the club industry, great opportunity exists in understanding the benefits of embracing AI and identifying the solutions best-suited for their operations. Additionally, advocating for and outlining a progressive technology budget with implementation timelines and plans are key to components to success. The return on investment goes above and beyond the membership experience and operational enhancements discussed above. Top candidates for open positions will prioritise private clubs that embrace technology when considering their next career opportunities.

Michael Herd is an International Consultant and Search Executive with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Michael can be reached at +44 (0) 7903 035312 and at

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Enhancing Membership Experience and Operations2024-01-25T22:06:42+00:00

2024 Club Industry Predictions

2024 Private Club Industry Predictions

As the club industry continues to innovate and collaborate to meet the evolving needs of both members and professional staff, we share our predictions for the elements of success that will help clubs thrive in 2024….

Stronger Focus on Governance Best Practices

There will be continued emphasis on clubs operating more like a business where data, financials, and the Strategic Plan/Capital Reserve Study are used to make decisions.

One of the biggest opportunities for clubs in 2024, will be using a third-party portal for all governance-related items. Portals can be accessible by desktop or on a mobile device and give board members easy access to all governance documents. Portals allow governance to be more efficient by dealing with minutia outside of the boardroom and focusing on strategic issues during meeting time.

With respect to talent strategy, which we will touch on more below, boards will become more strategically involved in how the club is recruiting, onboarding, and retaining staff. There will be a plan as to how the club can become an employer of choice and boards will become a strategic partner with paid staff in attracting and retaining talent.

Additionally, we will see more frequent and transparent communication between all constituencies, club management, the board, and the membership base as a whole. Key components of this improved communication will be:

  • Sharing master goals for the board, committees, and GM/Department heads annually with the membership.
  • Surveying members (not anonymously) through day-to-day satisfaction and feedback surveys and moving away from using committees as a sounding board for understanding perspective.
  • Transitioning from a Nominating Committee to a Leadership Development Committee that works year-round actively nurturing volunteer leadership making it easier to find good people to fill volunteer positions.

Elevating Food & Beverage Operations

In 2024, clubs will prioritise elevating and improving the quality of their food and beverage operations. Recognising the importance of offering unique and diverse experiences, clubs will invest in their food and beverage programs to excite and engage members. From farm-to-fork dining options to curated cocktail and mocktail menus, clubs will enhance their offerings to align with the evolving tastes and preferences of their members.

Moreover, there is a growing trend toward incorporating sustainability into food and beverage. Clubs are increasingly sourcing locally, reducing food waste, and adopting eco-friendly practices in their kitchens. This not only aligns with the global push for sustainable practices but also resonates with members who are becoming more conscious about the environmental impact of their choices.

Embracing Technology for Operational Efficiency

The integration of technology will continue to be a dominant force shaping the club industry in 2024. Clubs are leveraging advanced technological solutions to streamline operations, enhance member experiences, and stay ahead in a competitive market. From sophisticated reservation systems and contactless payment options to AI-driven personalisation of services, technology is becoming an integral part of the club experience.

Operational efficiency will be a top priority with clubs implementing state-of-the-art management systems to optimise resource allocation, track member preferences, and manage inventory effectively. Mobile apps will continue to grow in popularity for providing seamless member interactions, from booking facilities to accessing personalised workout routines. This tech-savvy approach not only enhances member satisfaction but also positions clubs as forward-thinking and adaptable.

Employer Branding and Professional Development

The coming year will see continued emphasis on employer branding to attract and retain top talent. Professional development programmes will be at the heart of this strategy as clubs recognise that investing in growth opportunities for team members not only improves service quality but also enhances the overall club culture.

From offering specialised training to creating clear career paths, clubs will work to position themselves as employers of choice in the competitive hospitality labour market. Focusing on employee development not only improves retention rates but also fosters a positive work environment that directly contributes to better member satisfaction.

Michael Herd is an International Consultant and Search Executive with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning, and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Michael can be reached at +44 (0) 7903 035312 and at

2024 Club Industry Predictions2024-02-24T17:52:04+00:00

The Power of Employer Branding in a Candidate-Driven Market


In today’s evolving and competitive job market, the balance of power has shifted. With the rise of a candidate-driven landscape, job seekers are active decision-makers in the hiring process. In such a scenario, the concept of “employer branding” has taken centre stage, emerging as a pivotal factor in attracting and retaining top talent. In this piece, we will delve into the significance of incorporating employer branding into your talent strategy and how it can make all the difference in securing the best professional team for your club.

A Paradigm Shift

In a candidate-driven market, the demand for skilled professionals exceeds the available supply. As a result, job seekers have a plethora of opportunities at their disposal, enabling them to be selective about the companies they choose to work for. The conventional recruitment process, where employers held most of the decision-making power, has evolved into a scenario where companies need to be prepared to showcase themselves as an employer of choice.

Crafting an Identity

Employer branding is more than just a buzzword; it is the identity and reputation that a company portrays to the outside world. Just as a strong consumer brand attracts loyal customers, a robust employer brand appeals to first-class candidates who are seeking not just a job, but an experience. In a candidate-driven market, employer branding is the tool that differentiates your club from the rest, making it a preferred destination for the best talent.

Key Elements of Effective Employer Branding

  1. Authenticity: The foundation of any strong employer brand lies in authenticity. It’s not enough to just create a polished image; it must be grounded in reality. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, both of which are crucial in attracting top talent.
  2. Club Culture and Core Values: Candidates are searching for a workplace that aligns with their beliefs and aspirations. A well-defined club culture and strong core values will help candidates resonate with your club and envision themselves as part of your club’s story.
  3. Employee Value Proposition: It’s important to outline what your club offers to employees in terms of benefits, opportunities, and overall work experience. A compelling employee value proposition showcases the unique advantages your club provides and sets it apart from competitors.
  4. Employee Testimonials and Stories: Real stories from current team members can provide a genuine glimpse into daily life at your club. These perspectives serve as powerful endorsements that candidates can relate to.
  5. Engagement and Communication: Regularly engage with your target audience through various channels, such as social media, dedicated space on the club’s website, news releases, and educational opportunities. Identifying relevant brand awareness opportunities and committing to consistent communication nurtures connectivity and keeps your candidate pipeline informed and engaged.

In Conclusion

Cultivating a strong employer brand, especially in the competitive market of hospitality, will prove great return on investment in the areas of securing talent more quickly and lowering recruitment expenditures. A positive perception and strong understanding of the club’s values, culture, and unique offerings will earn a strong pool of prospects when positions become available and result in lower turnover due to the alignment you have already established. Going forward, making a strategic investment in your employer brand will make all the difference in building a thriving and enduring professional team.

Michael Herd is an International Consultant and Search Executive with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Michael can be reached at +44 (0) 7903 035312 and at

The Power of Employer Branding in a Candidate-Driven Market2023-11-30T16:51:02+00:00

CMAE Announces Premier Partnership With KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE


CMAE Announces Premier Partnership with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE

London, United Kingdom – October 9, 2023

CMAE is delighted to announce a Premier Partnership with the leading recruiting and consulting firm, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE (KK&W). Through this partnership, CMAE members will benefit from KK&W’s expertise in the areas of private club executive search and governance.

Commercial Director at CMAE, Craig Cotterill, commented on the partnership, “staffing and governance present significant challenges for club managers right now, and securing relevant insight and support in these areas through this Premier Partnership with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE will prove invaluable.”

KK&W’s executive search expertise includes GM/COO, CEO, AGM, Clubhouse Management, F&B, Financial, Golf, Culinary, Agronomy, Racquets, Human Resources, Fitness & Wellness, and Membership/Marketing. In addition to executive search, KK&W is a benchmark in private club governance and operational consulting.

Cotterill continues, “the partnership will see us work closely with Michael Herd, a well-known and respected professional, who has worked within this space for many years. Together our organisations will strive to identify industry needs and deliver solutions through education to better equip club managers across the CMAE family. As an association, we are delighted to welcome Michael and his esteemed colleagues at KK&W to our growing portfolio of Premier Partners.”

Michael Herd, Head of International Search and Consulting shares, “we are honoured to partner with CMAE and look forward to opportunities to educate on leadership, governance, and best practices. Additionally, we are thrilled for the opportunity to bring our firm’s unmatched process for delivering comprehensive executive search solutions to future candidates and private club clients seeking top-tier professionals for key leadership roles.”

Club Management Association of Europe

The Club Management Association of Europe (CMAE) is a non-profit making professional association with members involved in the management of sports clubs (golf, tennis, sailing, rowing, rugby, football, cricket), health & fitness clubs, leisure, city and dining clubs located throughout Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa.

The CMAE is also the pan-European ‘umbrella’ organisation for a variety of national professional associations for club managers and secretaries. National associations can affiliate to the CMAE, thereby giving their membership access to the CMAE education programme and other CMAE international activities and events.

CMAE is closely aligned with the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) and actively participates in the annual World Conference for club managers and other international events.


People Focused, Quality Driven. When you work with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, you can expect an experience that will be centred around the well-being of their clients, the candidates they place, and the industry they love. Their process has been perfected since 1996 and involves merging more than 500 years of combined expertise with a comprehensive understanding of stakeholders’ needs. Their Board Dynamics/Model has been presented to over 1000 private clubs and communities. They are an award-winning executive search and consulting firm and a trusted partner dedicated to the success of the organizations they work with. For more information, visit

Follow us! Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram | Podcast

For more information please contact:

Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, CCE, ECM, Managing Partner
(412) 670-2021 |

Michael Herd, Head of International Search & Consulting
+44 (0) 7903 035312 |

CMAE Announces Premier Partnership With KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE2023-10-11T16:02:32+00:00

Choosing Leaders, Not Just Jobs


Within the world of private clubs, candidates are on a quest for more than just employment – they’re in search of leaders who embody the essence of these respected establishments. Central to this evolving trend are general managers, the individuals who wield significant influence over the charm and resonance of these well-established properties.

In the following sections, we’ll explore how candidates’ decisions are shaped by the dynamic leadership of general managers. Through their vision and guidance, general managers play a pivotal role in attracting exceptional talent and creating a work environment that surpasses competition.

Join us as we highlight the trending elements bridging candidate aspirations and skilled leadership in the captivating landscape of talent strategy in the private club industry…

The Ascension of Leadership-Centric Decision Making
Gone are the days when candidates accepted positions solely based on monetary rewards. Today, candidates are drawn to leaders who build camaraderie and curate experiences that extend far beyond fulfilling job descriptions.

A Leader Sets the Tone
The impact of a general manager in a private member club transcends their role. The way they handle member interactions, anticipate desires, and resolve challenges motivates operations throughout the entire club. Top candidates for core management roles gravitate towards general managers with genuine charisma, resulting in a membership and team who feel confident they are well-balanced parts of the whole.

Inspirational Pathways and Personal Growth
Private member clubs of today need to offer not just jobs, but a journey. General managers, at the helm of this voyage, are sought-after captains of inspiration. Their ability to navigate uncharted waters, stimulate creativity, and nurture personal growth are the underpins of appeal for candidates aspiring toward a remarkable career path.

Alignment of Ethos and Ideals
Leading candidates seeking opportunities with private member clubs are driven by identifying shared values. The ethos upheld by a general manager, be it a dedication to luxury, philanthropy, or cultural pursuits, become resonant chords that strike a harmonious note with candidates’ ambitions. The commitment of a general manager to the tenets of club culture has become a pivotal factor in candidate deliberations.

Trust and Openness
In the discerning world of private member clubs, trust is a currency of paramount value. General managers who cultivate openness, transparency, and honesty attract candidates seeking not just a position, but a workplace centered around integrity. The assurance that voices will be heard, and contributions will be acknowledged respectfully creates an irreplaceable draw.

Candidates, like aspiring apprentices, seek leaders who are invested in their personal and professional evolution. The prospect of being nurtured under the supervision of a seasoned general manager can be the compass guiding candidates to their chosen destination. Leaders who are not afraid to develop talent will establish a strong pipeline of the best to work alongside them.

Michael Herd is an International Consultant and Search Executive with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Michael can be reached at +44 (0) 7903 035312 and at

Choosing Leaders, Not Just Jobs2023-09-21T18:26:54+00:00

High Tech Achieves High Touch


Recent events have presented an opportunity for private clubs to continue advancing and investing in technology. This trend will gather further momentum as “next-gen” board and committee members anticipate technology being utilised to enhance their experiences, both as club members and as volunteer leaders, and as club managers demand more technology-based tools to help them and their staff deliver on those expectations.


Clubs that persist in a mindset of being “too traditional” regarding technology will continue to lag behind, but now at an accelerated pace. The ongoing shift towards embracing a high-tech operation is a means of establishing the foundation for an elevated and high-touch club environment. In the past, new technology took the form of physical equipment and techniques, such as security cameras or member profiles and preferences on the point-of-sale system. However, members didn’t necessarily need to see it, and there were times when you preferred members not to know it existed. Nowadays, members don’t mind encountering technology or having to use it themselves. The top priority is ensuring seamless engagement with the club by harnessing high-tech solutions to create a high-touch experience characterised by extensive customisation, convenience, faster service, improved accessibility, and members feeling they have greater control over their user experience.

These technological features that were not in use a decade ago have become commonplace in clubs today:

  • QR codes for menus, events, and club information.
  • iPads for ordering, displaying wine lists, and booking tee times or lessons.
  • Member apps for interacting with the club and accessing club-related information.
  • App-based/interactive security cameras.
  • Staff scheduling software.
  • Video training modules for employees, boards, and committees.


Top candidates for key positions that clubs are recruiting for assess the technological tools in place to support their success and that of their teams. Clubs that do not invest in technology for their operations and amenities will struggle to attract and retain top talent. In today’s private club landscape, club executives and department heads simply cannot thrive without a proactive technology budget and plan.

Top job candidates prioritise private clubs that embrace technology when considering their next career opportunities. Questions often revolve around the tools, resources, and amenities available. Candidates also inquire about the sophistication of existing online security measures and the types of cybersecurity protections in place. Communication platforms and technological solutions that enhance club facilities’ compliance with regulations for members and employees are also of growing importance.

Other high-tech aspects that candidates now seek include:

  • Access to industry trends, data, and analytics.
  • Human resources and performance-review software.
  • Communication platforms for members and boards/committees.
  • Survey and feedback collection platforms.
  • Progressive member amenities, such as:
    • Off-course golf entertainment
    • Wearable fitness/wellness features
    • On-demand/virtual fitness/wellness classes
    • Health data collection for progress tracking
    • Flexible office features like wireless printing, high-speed internet, and other conveniences enabling remote work


Using technology to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their governance model leads to positive outcomes for clubs. Technology in club governance enables boards and committees to be better informed, resulting in increased productivity. Embracing technology from a governance perspective also reduces the burden on volunteer leadership, thus providing an overall better service experience.

Here are some examples of how technology is now being applied to club governance:

Club managers can easily distribute articles, podcasts, and other relevant media to ensure board and committee members are well-informed about the industry as a whole, rather than solely focusing on club-specific matters. Access to industry insight equips board and committee members to make more informed, educated, and well-rounded decisions.

Secure portals with dashboards displaying key performance indicators and other critical data offer real-time insights on progress. Leading clubs now use key performance indicators at three levels: board, committee, and per operational department. This enhanced reporting is more accessible, enabling board and committee members to be better informed, leading to more efficient meetings.

Secure and live communication platforms help boards proactively address problems as they arise, rather than waiting for meetings to resolve challenges. Real-time messaging is a more personal approach to addressing member and staff issues, allowing prompt resolution. In addition to improving communication, technology also enables club leaders to track feedback and situations, document plans, and close the loop, making it more comfortable and consistent for members and staff to handle difficult situations.

Access to board and committee training materials is the way forward. The era of large binders and paper packets is behind us. Virtual onboarding and training for roles and responsibilities save time and provide volunteer leaders with the convenience of reviewing instructions on-demand. This ensures that live retreats are more efficient when participants come prepared and offers accountability tracking for the club. This is particularly advantageous from a legal-verification standpoint and allows for a review of each individual’s commitment to the club’s best practices.


In general, clubs will need to increasingly adopt high-tech solutions in the future to provide the high-touch member experiences that members enjoy and expect. Here is a list of technological features that we believe most clubs will need to integrate within the next decade or even sooner:

  • Online voting.
  • Beacon technology.
  • Geofencing.
  • Two-way text message communication.
  • Platforms for instant member feedback about their club experiences.
  • Advanced software for data analytics and reporting to collect, track, and analyse data for decision-making support.
  • HR/management and performance review software.
  • Advanced security cameras offering easy-to-access footage, the ability to search for specific objects or individuals, and immediate breach notifications of security parameters.
  • Staff recruitment software allowing applicants to communicate via text and instant messaging.
  • Kitchen display systems replacing printed tickets and tracking performance statistics.
  • Mobile point of sale.

Technology is a critical element that significantly influences both member and employee experiences. While it must be unobtrusive and non-restrictive, technology is the key to caring for members and creating exceptional experiences for all.

Contributed by Richard Kopplin, Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM & Thomas B. Wallace Ill, CCM, CCE, ECM

High Tech Achieves High Touch2023-09-21T12:59:43+00:00
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