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COMPARING TENNIS CLUB MANAGEMENT APPS

Which apps are right for you?

By Rich Neher

CONTEXT: I've been watching many tennis apps on the market for quite some time. We have also reported about some in the past. Many come up with a lot of hype and promises but can they actually deliver? It was decided to make it a 3-part series comparing apps. This month we're looking at Tennis Club Management Apps promising to run many or most of the functions in your club. Next month we'll examine Teaching & Coaching Apps and in November we'll look at apps that mainly Connect Players.

Trying to set up the criteria for comparing 'Tennis Club Apps' we were trying to figure out what's really important for our readers. From a long list of possible criteria, we narrowed it down to 7.

1. We wanted to know whether the app is readily available in the marketplace.

2. How many installations are there approximately? 

3. Can the app be branded so club members see their familiar club design/logo rather than a '3rd party' look?

4. Does the app offer a complete membership management module?

5. Does the app offer a well-functioning court reservation module?

6. Can users manage their programs (events, tournaments, leagues, clinics) through the app?

7. Does the app have an integrated POS system with payment processing?

8. Does the app provide In-App Direct Messaging for users? (Player-Player or Member-Member)

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SOME BASICS: I'm glad that Charly Ruddy from Foundation Tennis and Tim Owens from CourtReserve helped me clarify some of the issues that are important to know when it comes to the basics of tennis club apps. I learned that there are roughly 3 categories of apps and the most versatile ones fit into several categories.

  1. Branded/White Label apps that are best suited for businesses that want to grow their business or private clubs that wish to remain exclusive and private – and not share their customers with anyone. Good example: Chabot Canyon Racquet Club (App: Foundation Tennis).
     

  2. Apps that provide clubs and organizations a totally branded member experience while the app platform handles all backend activities. Good example: USTA National Campus (App: CourtReserve).

  3. Apps that have no branding ability. The user has to leave the club website and is required to work on the app platform. Good example: Playtomic. (However, Playtomic did not respond to repeated requests for information.)

The difference between the best apps lies in the amount of customization the user can expect, whether the provider offers a true mobile app downloadable on the app stores, and how many truly usable and wanted features are included.

Note: We did not want to look at the comparison from a 'Winner' point of view to find out which app is the 'Best' but rather aimed to compare what each app is capable of. You can read it and make up your own mind if you want to get in touch with that vendor for more information or a demo.

We started with a simple table listing capabilities and then go a little more detailed into the app and the organization behind it. All listed apps are available on IOS and Android.

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Event
Mgmt

X

Available
Now

X

User
Installations

700+

Branded
Solution

X

Membership
Mgmt

X

Courts

Mgmt

X

POS

Mgmt

X

In-App Direct
Messaging

-

Court Reserve

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Event
Mgmt

X

Available
Now

X

User
Installations

100+*

Branded
Solution

X

Membership
Mgmt

X

Courts

Mgmt

X

POS

Mgmt

X

In-App Direct
Messaging

-

Foundation
Tennis

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Event
Mgmt

X

Available
Now

X

User
Installations

?

Branded
Solution

On request

Membership
Mgmt

X

Courts

Mgmt

X

POS

Mgmt

X

In-App Direct
Messaging

In Circles

Str8 Sets
Tennis

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Event
Mgmt

*

Available
Now

Beta

User
Installations

Beta

Branded
Solution

X

Membership
Mgmt

X

Courts

Mgmt

*

POS

Mgmt

X

In-App Direct
Messaging

?

Tennis App
Suite

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Event
Mgmt

X

Available
Now

X

User
Installations

150+

Branded
Solution

X

Membership
Mgmt

X

Courts

Mgmt

X

POS

Mgmt

X

In-App Direct
Messaging

-

Play By
Point

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CourtReserve
"Helping tennis & pickleball clubs reach their full growth potential."

Disclosure: Court Reserve is an advertiser in TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS.

CourtReserve is a family-owned 6-year-old business based in Belmont, North Carolina, on the west side of Charlotte. Founder Tim Owens, the man behind the popular ladder software TennisRungs, writes on his LinkedIn page, "We simplify managing a tennis club! We help you become more efficient and profitable by providing you with a robust, easy-to-use platform to manage your courts, members, and events. Quickly becoming the go-to platform in the industry, we currently serve large universities, tennis facilities of all sizes, emerging pickleball clubs, and more."

 

Tim's wife Ashley, the company's Director of Sales and Marketing, says, "CourtReserve has organically grown to 700+ organizations all over the world. We are privately owned and all of the features and functionality are developed by the racquet and sports organizations that are currently CourtReserve Customers." Another Owens family member is actively involved in the business: Daughter Bettanie is an Account Executive.

List of capabilities:

  •  Branded App

  • Court Scheduling

  •  Player & Membership Management

  •  Programming & Event Management

  •  Instructor/Coach Scheduling

  •  Online Member Portal

  •  Player Mobile App

  •  Admin Mobile App

  •  Integrated Email Marketing

  •  Integrated & Online Payments

  •  Website Builder & Content Manager

  •  Unlimited Admins & Organizers

  •  Unlimited Programs, Lessons

  •  Unlimited  Special Events

  •  Reports & Analytics

  •  Embeddable Widgets

  •  Self Check-In Kiosk

  •  Player Match Making

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CourtReserve has a unique feature called an Idea Board. Ashley Owens describes it like this, "Ideas are placed by customers, voted on and implemented. So owners, directors, instructors/pros have developed the product to do what they need it to do on a daily basis to run their clubs, programming, etc. When tennis and pickleball clubs review CourtReserve it has the features and functionality they need because it has been developed by their colleagues!"

CourtReserve provides all of its users (clubs, public facilities, organizations) with the ability to "brand" the member experience. A very good example of what this branding looks like is the USTA National Campus in Orlando. https://app.courtreserve.com/Online/Portal/Index/6415, It is also consistently presented on the mobile side in a truly native mobile app (without any reference to CourtReserve) - that can be downloaded via the mobile stores.  CourtReserve also offers the mobile experience / mobile app at no additional charge.

Diving a little deeper into Branding and the Privacy needs of users, Tim explained. "CourtReserve was built to be a B2B SaaS platform that could be as "open" or "closed" as a racquet sports organization wants to be.  We provide all the necessary "levers" to be very private where the entire club experience is very isolated to the outside world.  Then we have customers like public municipalities, universities, and public parks, that want to be easily accessible by the public.  We support both models and give you the configuration options to decide which best fits your business model and revenue stream. We even have independent pros that use our platform to manage the programming in their area. In addition, as part of our end-user agreement, CourtReserve never solicits or sells/distributes a customer's end-user data."

An in-app direct messaging feature is currently in development. Also in development is a module to help stringers at a club make their job easier by handling stringing requests and jobs. The module will know what type of string, tension, pattern, and other configurations to string the racquet are required. It will also maintain the history of all stringing jobs and make it easier to integrate pricing for string and stringing labor.

Customization: Customers have the ability to customize nearly anything to fit their needs. (from a testimonial)

The reporting functionality is extensive and seems to cover everything a club and an organization may ever need.

Appearance: The CourtReserve app/website has a very modern look and is very functional with a great GUI.

Pricing: CourtReserve is customizable based on the size of the organization. CourtReserve has no term contracts as they are month to month which really helps seasonal organizations. A 4-court, one-teaching pro facility starts at $63 per month which includes all the features listed above.

Customer Testimonials: https://courtreserve.com/client-testimonials/

Improvements they're working on: In-App messaging, Stringer module

Contact: Ashley Owens can be reached at (844)-407-3737 or use this contact form

Call: Click to Schedule a Call with the CourtReserve Leadership Team

Website: https://courtreserve.com/

Blog: https://courtreserve.com/blog/

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Tennis App Suite
"TBD Wingfield Award-winning innovators and disruptors of the tennis business
ecosystem"

Based in Santa Barbara, California, Cesar Octavio Andrade founded the TennisAppStore in 2016 and laid the basis for his vision of "delivering mobile technology for tennis club & USTA teams/CTAs and sponsor organizations in branded, monetizable apps for players and organizers of leagues & tournaments with on-court score-keeping and NTRP/WTN/UTR match history data support and player matching, plus court reservations/management." This vision resulted in the creation of  TennisAppSuite or TappS for short.

Because Cesar wanted to put as much functionality as possible into TappS and make it available in different languages, it took years to develop the app. He recently announced that it is now in Beta testing. He says, "We have multiple BETA sites in 4 language regions. These are confidential at this stage and will progress to disclosure in due time."

Asked about the difference between TaapS and the competition, Cesar wrote, "In a nutshell, we are a global multilingual SaaS, all in one, mobile suite that enables tennis providers services, brand sponsorships income growth and tennis player participation exponential expansion."

As far as in-app messaging is concerned, Cesar says they offer "dual messaging, in-App, together with parallel email as a byproduct of most actions and use of TennisAppSuite™ services."

* Court Reservation, Tournament, and League modules will be ready for Beta clients in the fall of 2022.

List of capabilities:

  • Integrated software suite

  • Provider's brand monetization

  • Multilingual

  • Branded app

  • Digitally linked virtual club enabling

  • Global digital community

  • Multiple player ratings

  • Self-running challenge ladder

  • Self-service matchmaking

  • Self-service court reservation*

  • Teams & Captains support*

  • Automated player substitutes*

  • Match live streaming to authorized pay-per-view subscribers

  • Online pro-shop w/POS & Stripe

  • Website Builder

  • Tennis lessons pro bookings

  • Outbound player messaging & emails

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Pricing: It's a little hard to see the pricing structure but this may be just a result of the app being in Beta testing right now. It appears there may be no charge for using the app. One sentence we found on the website may be a hint: "Increase your tennis services income and earn sponsor payments without increasing YOUR workload !" We were not quite sure what to do with this but couldn't figure out more since we found the website is generally not too user-friendly and sometimes loops you back to the place where you started instead of giving you answers. This will probably be ironed out when the app comes out of Beta.

 

When we asked about the price plan, Cesar wrote, "Our business model is configured to improve the income of your readers exponentially: 

  • Enable Tennis Providers to monetize their services at a lower cost of labor, logistics and communications l.e. A Provider can set up a self-service LADDER in less than 30 minutes and then derive income from all challenge matches without having to do any further work, the players self-serve themselves to the entire Ladder season\sprint. A league or a tournament can also be configured in less than one hour to include the schedule of players and court assignments for the first round, and from round two on, TennisAppSuite™ will automatically apply all the event rules and results and configure and communicate the schedule of players and court assignments, plus keep all the score records and draw results. The event director can always edit\modify the automatic data. 

  • Enable Tennis Providers to Tennis business brand & services to exponential new income levels to include local sponsors digital banner ads, events naming, and match streaming services to pay-per-view family and friends clients.

  • Players and Providers do not pay app user license fees at all. 

  • A very modest POS transaction fee share of 2%-5% is autopaid to TappS™ in Stripe, for all purchases made through its services. All prices set locally by TappS™ users. Share %s are country PPP-adjusted and recognise nonprofits, schools, and other categories of tennis provider missions. 

  • A reciprocal share of sponsor advertising income is negotiated on a case by case basis for both TappS global sponsors income and local TappS client sponsor income."

Appearance: The TappS website has a very modern look but appears a little confusing when you're looking for concrete information in one view. Again, it is to be expected that this will change once the app comes out of Beta testing.

Customization: Cesar wrote, "TennisAppSuite™ is designed from the ground up by tennis professionals who have specified their real-world requirements, with extensive user customization options built into all applicable functions so clients can configure features to their needs, such that should a client need a feature not built in, we evaluate the requirement and determine [1] if it is a feature already in our product map for future release, we look into accelerating release at no cost to the client or [2] if it is a very unique feature required, we provide a custom modification price quote in a case by case basis."

TappS is the winner of the 2021 TBD World Conference Wingfield Award  (Best Tennis Business App).

Testimonials: The app is in Beta testing

Contact: Inquiries via this page

Call: To request a private conversation please select a time and date for a call with the TennisAppSuite® product team director at https://calendly.com/admin-687/tennisappsuite-llc-team-partners-meet

Website: https://tennisappsuite.com/

Do you like our content? If you do so, please consider supporting us.  For as little as $1 a month, you can help ensure the long-term future of TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS.

Click here to support and please share this with all the tennis lovers you know.

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Foundation Tennis
"Build your business on solid foundation."

Foundation Tennis is based in Cohasset, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. The business was established 5 1/2 years ago and was recently acquired by Connexa Sports Technologies, the parent company of Slinger and PlaySight. Founder and CEO Charlie Ruddy was nice enough to help us learn about the complexity of Foundation Tennis and its many features. He thinks his job is to promote his customers' business and says, "Note that we do not promote a ‘generic’ app for our tennis (B2B) customers.  Each customer has their own business and their own app and their own website which is the destination that they promote to their customers."

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List of capabilities for
Member/Player

  • Court Scheduling plus invitation of players with push notification

  • Manage invitations, create circles

  • Book clinics, classes

  • Manage member profile, contact staff

Pro/Admin/Staff

  • Send broadcast push notifications

  • Mass block courts

  • Invite players

Branded app

  • App store listing

  • Chose accessibility by member type

  • Customized navigation

  • Embed web pages into the app

Foundation Tennis has 100+ commercial B2B customers.  Half of them have a branded app.  The ‘users’ of the app are spread across all the customer apps…. so there is not one concentrated site or aggregate number. The company has just over 700,000 players in its network representing 'the customers of our customers.'

The main Foundation Tennis users are Tennis Providers (facilities, owners, coaches) with a financial interest in promoting their business, and private clubs with an interest in offering app-based enrollment and booking capabilities while maintaining their customers' privacy.

The guys behind Foundation Tennis have a new feature scheduled for late fall – which is in-app direct messaging.  Charlie Ruddy explains, "Much like a private label Messenger/What’s App built into the system.  The advantage is that a player/member is already connected to the Contact Manager database and therefore can communicate with others (in allowed/secured Circles) without having to share their personal mobile phone and email address.  This is going to open up team captains looking for players and subs, Mom’s groups arranging carpools, and more."

Appearance: The Foundation Tennis app/website has a very modern look and is very functional with a great GUI.

Customization: Chalie Ruddy says, "For every customer, we customize the store listing, the app home page (with customer supplied graphics), the front page quick navigation links including connecting any user-defined web pages, the hamburger menu labels, and security by member type." All of the above requires customer-supplied artwork. We can help a customer with the artwork at standard service rates (usually $85/hour)  

Pricing: $90-180/month based on optional modules requested.  Core pricing is $30/month for the Court Scheduler module, $30/month for the branded app platform, $30 month for a dedicated customer website, $30/month for the Events and Enrollments module, $30/month for the outbound Group Email Marketing module, $30/month for the Foundation Core (staff/teaching pro’s).  That's $180 for everything.  There is an annual app publishing fee of $250 that covers publishing a customer’s app in the app store(s) and keeping it up to date.  They also offer other products such as hosted business email @ your domain name, website hosting, design and development, and domain name registration.  In short – a complete umbrella for web, app, email, marketing, and customer self-service. Terms: month-to-month.

Testimonials: https://staging2022.foundationtennis.com/solutions.cfm

Improvements they're working on: In-App messaging

Contact: Inquiries via this page

Call: Sales 617-981-6890

Website: https://www.foundationtennis.com/

Support articles: https://foundationtennishelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/4403696673179-The-Mobile-App

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Str8 Sets Tennis
"Love Tennis?"

Str8 Sets Tennis Founder and Director Hesham Soliman is based in Melbourne, Australia. Hesham writes on the website that his app helps...

  • Club managers manage their club efficiently and provide a superior tennis experience to their members.

  • Players who love the game, want to keep track of their performance and play against different people.

  • Competition organizers who want to streamline the competition and make it easier for players to participate while saving their time!

Str8 Sets Tennis doesn't publish the number of installations or users. Hesham says they do have clubs in the US, Europe, and Australia. Asked what sets Str8 Sets Tennis apart from the competition, he replied, "Our approach to tennis management covers the entire spectrum of club administrators, players, and coaches. Str8 Sets created a system that doesn’t just manage club courts but enables players and managers to run their tennis lives. This is captured in two ways. First, Str8 Sets covers areas that go beyond the usual court management, clinics, and membership fees like communication, match arranging (Matcha), leagues, and social interactions between members. Second, all these features are not built in silos, they’re all connected to give users a seamless and intuitive experience."

Pricing: Str8 Sets Tennis prices for private clubs are available at www.str8sets.com/#clubs . Public courts and cities are also supported based on their operational model. (Note: Monthly and annual rates are based on the number of members in a club or organization.)

Branding: Hesham says, "This is subject to a number of factors that can be discussed with the club at the time of purchase."

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List of capabilities:

  • - MATCHA (skill-based ranking system)

  • - CLINICS (Event management)

  • - COURT BOOKINGS

  • - MEMBERSHIP FEE COLLECTION

  • - MEMBER COMMUNICATIONS

  • - POINT OF SALE (set up a club store)

  • - LEAGUE MANAGEMENT

  • - CIRCLE (create a circle of friends with messaging capabilities)

  • - PLAYER PROFILE (monitors player performance)

  • - MATCH DIARY (record all your matches in one places)

Communications with members happen through push notifications. Members can message others that are in their Circles only.

Customization: Hesham says, "It’s impossible to give a price for customization without knowing what it is. Anyway, we don’t customize on a per-client basis. We get feature requests that we make available to all clients. We don’t charge for feature requests."

Appearance: The Str8 Sets Tennis app/website has a very modern look and is very functional with a great GUI.
(Note: The term 'Clinics' is used for all events Admin can set up, such as tournaments and others.)

Testimonials: scroll down here https://www.str8sets.com

Contact: Inquiries via this page

Call: Inquiries via this page

Website: https://www.str8sets.com

FAQ Page: https://www.str8sets.com/faq

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Playbypoint
"Unleash your club's full potential"

Andres Robelo, based in Miami, Florida, is the Founder and CEO of Playbypoint, the app that provides "a seamless customer experience with our customized, all-in-one booking solution," for tennis, pickleball, padel, swim clubs, yoga, tennis academies, & multi sport facilities.

Andres writes on his LinkedIn profile about Playbypoint: "A SAAS Platform that provides the best in class payments solution for the club management industry. Playbypoint is the fastest growing technology provider in the industry-leading the transition to a digital-first world."

We were quite impressed by the number of high-profile installations listed on the Playbypoint site, many of whom are Cliff Drysdale Tennis-managed resort facilities. Andres says they work with over 150 clubs nationwide and in Canada. A partial listing can be found on their website under Partners (just scroll down on the main page.)

Asked about the most important difference between Playbypoint and the competition, Andres replied, "Playbypoint is a complete end-to-end management solution that provides a seamless experience for club owners/managers to handle all their operations. We provide a mobile app, website, court scheduler, POS, and full reporting capabilities. Over the years we have learned that every club is different and our software can accommodate any specific needs of clubs and can customize it to their needs. With Playbypoint they don't just have software but a full support team for their operations. From a simple booking system to a fully professional operation we can help you! In addition, our software is extremely easy to use and helps operators offer all their services on a single login."

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List of capabilities:

  • Mobile App

  • Court Scheduler

  • Branded Site

  • Robust Booking Rules

  • Pro Bookings

  • Pro Schedule

  • Game Match (level based matchmaking)

  • Lesson Packages

  • Commission Reporting

  • Membership Management

  • Member Billing

  • Priority Access Booking System - Point-Based Court Assignment

  • Communications Platform (email, SMS, push notification)

  • Event Management

  • Junior Academy Registration

  • Waitlist for Program and Court Bookings

  • Clinic Registration

  • Pro Shop Management

  • Point of Sale Integration

  • Program Roster & Tracking

  • Robust Reporting

  • 24/7 Customer Support

Pricing: Playbypoint prices go from $199.99 to $699.99 and beyond per month. (We assume Premium Plus is for large clients, includes everything, and needs to be negotiated). New clients can take advantage of the current promotion starting at $149.99 for 2022. Add-ons are $29.99 for a Card Reader, $49.99 for Direct Messaging, $29.99 for TV Screen, $49.99 for Direct Access System, and $99.99 for a Club Account System.

Branding: "We provide all our clubs with a branded website and experience for all members. For an additional cost, we provide a branded Mobile App for their club."

In-App Messaging is offered between club admin and members. Not available player-to-player.

Customization: "We offer clubs endless customizations to set up their booking rules and policies for program registrations. If we don't support a rule or an operational procedure for bookings we will set it up for them at no additional cost.

**A specific feature request that requires a custom build-out is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and if our team believes it will benefit all of our tennis clubs we will build it for them at no cost."

Appearance: The Playbypoint app/website has a very modern look and is very functional with a great GUI.

Testimonials: scroll down here https://www.playbypoint.com/

Contact: Scroll down and click on Contact us https://www.playbypoint.com/

Call: Top right corner. Click on 'Talk to Sales' https://www.playbypoint.com/

Website: https://www.playbypoint.com/