World Conference 2013 – Review

2013 – San Diego, California, USA – February 8-11

The 86th CMAA World Conference on Club Management in San Diego, California began with a thunderous roar of applause from club managers across the world at the official opening, which was headlined by the aspirational Tommy Spaulding.

Throughout the whole conference, the contingent of over 50 club managers from Europe was continuously surrounded by like-minded enthusiastic club managers from the USA, Canada and all over the world. This was most noticeable at the International Symposium, a popular four-hour workshop that gave perspective on global club management problems and solutions. In the concluding presentation, Links golf courses in the UK and Ireland were highlighted as being world leaders in the use of natural hazards and pesticide use. This was furthered by the identification that European Clubs do not need grand club houses to sell membership fees like American clubs, a positive note European club managers took away from this excellent workshop.

Some of the world’s best education seminars and workshops took place at the World Conference, with multiple colossal halls filled to the brim with club managers, all eager to learn about how they can improve their operation. Apart from learning new skills and benchmarking existing knowledge, the seminars and workshops made you think differently about club management. Key speakers asked questions and made statements that gave you a different prospective on problems club managers are constantly battling. This was most noticeable in the seminar held by Pipeline Marketing Group showing how clubs can learn from Apple’s marketing philosophy.

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One club manager stated; 

“I have learnt so much useful information and good ideas from the educational sessions and have been inspired to implement these in my work.” 

On top of learning new ideas in seminars and workshops, the world conference networking events presented a perfect opportunity to relax, catch up with old friends and meet new ones. One networking event that was attended by over 2,500 club managers was the Club Car sponsored tour of the USS Midway, America’s longest serving aircraft carrier. The open-bar networking event had live bands on the vessel; excellent opportunities to talk to veterans whom have served on the aircraft in past conflicts, showing club managers things the public can not have access to, flight simulators and other entertainment.

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In-between seminars and workshops, club managers had the opportunity to look round the ideas fair, a room filled with posters on possible ways to improve a clubs operation, increase revenue, membership engagement and create new unique selling points.

Overall, this conference is not to be missed and should be clearly marked out on all current and aspiring club managers’ diaries to attend regardless of the expense. First time attendee Andrew Whitelaw, General Manager of the Emirates club in Dubai said: 

“The CMAA World Conference in San Diego was a world class affair. This was my first world conference and the quality of the organization and attention to detail was fantastic. Having attended many other conferences, this conference definitely ranks as the best with the quality of speakers and the amount of new information and ideas that are passed through the workshops it is a must for any club manager looking to help move his club forward. Apart from the educational aspect of the week the ability to network with fellow Club Managers from around the world and share information is an opportunity no club manager should miss.” 

Hats off to the CMAA for holding yet another mind blowing conference, the CMAE and other European club management associations will be back for 2014! You can register your interest in attending the next world conference by emailing us where we will email you further information nearer the time on the next CMAA World Conference and Club Expo in Orlando, Florida, from February 4-8, 2014.