United States

A look at the 85th CMAA World Conference

ECLUB NEWS  | 

The Club Managers Association of American (CMAA) hosted yet another impressive conference in New Orleans February 24-28. The McGladrey team was thrilled to see so many familiar faces and make new acquaintances.

The opening session set the tone for an energized conference with a warm welcome from now Immediate Past President Kevin Carroll, CCM, CCE, delegates from around the world, remarks from candidates for the board of directors and updates from CMAA committees. McGladrey's Tammy Tassitano was proud to join representatives from other CMAA Corporate Advantage Partners for recognition of the support provided to the association and the education of its members.

The closing session was an impressive display of pride and celebration. Be sure to join everyone at McGladrey in congratulating the winners of this year's elections. The commitment of newly elected President Lawrence J. "Skip" Avery, CCM, CCE and all of the winners and candidates is impossible to overlook.

What transpired between the opening and closing sessions was a combination of education, camaraderie and fun. With so much material covered in so few days, one can only imagine that attendees had to make several difficult decisions about which sessions to attend.

For those who missed the conference, missed the McGladrey sessions or just want to share the highlights with their peers, below are brief synopses of the sessions.

Running your club like a business: What it really means
Led by Philip Newman and Bob Salmore, the McGladrey team offered some thoughts around what has become a mantra in the club industry—to run like a business. The discussion was based on the premise that there is more to operating like a business than reducing expenses and even questioned whether that is the best course of action for many clubs.

The presentation explored several questions that businesses need to ask themselves on a continuous basis as presented by Forbes magazine and applied them to the club setting. From marketing to operations and human resources, the discussion challenged attendees to consider all areas of a business. Clubs were asked to consider who their investors are, seek a better understanding as to what profitability and return mean (especially in a not-for-profit setting) and consider the stakeholder view of business. While synergies between true business methodology and club operations were explored, attendees were reminded of many of the unique facets of the private club industry. For more on the latter, revisit Private Clubs: To be or not to be - a business? from the January issue of this newsletter.

Running your club like a business: What it really means
Download CMAA World Conference 2012 presentation

Setting the story straight: The economic realities of food and beverage operations
Presented by Tammy Tassitano and Philip Newman, this session addressed the perception that clubs are losing money on their food and beverage (F&B) operations. A frequent point of frustration for club management as they attend board and committee meetings, the subsidy of F&B operations is not the only amenity that is supported through dues. While there is reason to challenge the statement that "clubs are in the dues business," the presentation offered a supply of data for supporting the more directed claim that F&B is an amenity like golf, fitness and others.

While many in club management are asked to define themselves by the standards of restaurants, elements of privacy and policy are among critical differences discussed at the conference. These and other factors, such as lack of repetition, quality and quantity considerations, pricing, staffing and labor and capacity were introduced in a concept known as the circle of truth. To provide further water to extinguish this perpetual fiery debate, statistics were offered that even challenge the success rate of most restaurants.

Setting the story straight: The economic realities of food and beverage operations
Download CMAA World Conference 2012 presentation