Planning For A Successful Succession

Planning For A Successful Successionplanning for a successful succession

Planning and managing a family succession can be fraught with emotion and impact on relationships away from the business, so if passions are running high or it is difficult to take the challenging decisions needed for a successful handover, Howe recommends bringing in outside help to remove emotion from the decision-making process and help all parties focus on making choices that benefit the long term health of the business.
Recognising this challenge is what led Andrew to join forces with other industry experts to create Bridge Leisure Management in 2008. 10 years on, the company provides day-to-day management of holiday parks for owners who want to successfully step away from their business.
He says: “As professional managers we can focus on the park, its success and development. We don’t have an emotional attachment so we can focus on what is good for the business and good for the owner.” Discussing the transfer of the business from one generation to the next can often unearth unresolved conflicts between family members, such as arguments over business direction, perceived family favouritism, or lack of confidence in abilities.
Planning4ASS2Rather than confronting and discussing these families are more likely to bury their feelings and beliefs, eroding trust and increasing their stresses during the succession process.
At this point, outside support can be invaluable in helping the process of handing control from one generation to the next, when any changes made by the younger group keen to make its mark can be seen as a criticism of the work done previously by family.
“We work alongside families to help get the best from everyone and maintain an absolute focus on the business Holiday park owners are spending so much time working that they are failing to plan for a successful retirement. Andrew Howe, chief executive of Bridge Leisure Management says that one of the biggest mistakes park owners make is to ignore questions of succession.
He says: “If your goal is to handover to family members, there can be many tricky questions to answer, made more difficult by the close relationships of those involved.
“For example, what if the next in line is not ready, not up to the task of running your business, or if there are several family members vying to take over a small park where there’s really just one job to fill?” Howe’s belief is that successful succession planning must start years in advance so business owners can identify and address the weak spots and potential problems of handing over to family members.

DEVELOP AND THRIVE

By clarifying the skills that your business needs to develop and thrive, you can decide who is best placed to take over responsibility for running the park and put in a place a training or coaching plan to account for areas where they are lacking. Giving family members a long-term view of the park’s potential can help them understand what is expected of them for a successful
handover, but for park owners who have grown their operations as the sole person in charge, it can be a difficult change in mindset to start having open and honest conversations about their business. Howe’s advice is to make family members responsible and accountable for the park’s growth by showing them the business challenges and future opportunities.and success. All parks are different and so our role is to find a management solution that works for each individual owner.” In many instances, holiday park owners may discover that their children don’t share their same enthusiasm for succession, and so their next step may be to look at selling.

EMOTIONAL TIES

AndrewHoweYet the emotional ties of a family business can often make this simply too difficult a decision; who wants to be the generation that sold the family business? Additionally, the commercial realities of a sale can create additional issues, especially when an owner has over-estimated the value of, and interest in, their business. Bridge Leisure worked with a caravan park owner who expected his son to take over when he retired. But after completing university, his son decided on a different career path. Says Andrew: “They thought of selling but were in for a shock when the agent’s guide price was far below what they expected and was at a level that the owner felt neither reflected his hard work nor the true value of the park.” Their response was to bring in Bridge Leisure to take over the park operations in return for a management fee and a bonus to grow the business, while the owner kept the profi ts and retained ownership of the park, ready to benefit from a future sale when profits and market conditions get better. “By bringing a degree of flexibility and freedom to the park owners, they could step away from park operations but still benefit from the true value of their business,” says Howe. “Wrestling with the ‘whys and wherefores’ of succession or a sale can put a stop to owners successfully retiring from their business, and making a decision on what next can be heartbreaking. “Putting a plan in place early, and taking control of the different options and outcomes, is the simplest way to make your next steps a success.”
Bridge Leisure Management
Tel: 01908 067 900
www.bridgeleisure.com

Wish You Were Here – Seven Oaks in Wales

Wish You Were Here - Seven Oaks in Wales

WishYouWereHere - 7OaksOne of the most picturesque caravan holiday home and luxury lodge parks in the UK can be found on the Welsh border with Shropshire. Overlooking the River Severn, Seven Oaks Holiday Park at Crew Green, between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, has been awarded the Visit Wales five star “exceptional” rating.

Most caravan holiday homes and lodges on the 40-acre park have river views and are bordered by mature trees, banks of planting and immaculately kept grass down to the riverside.

River fishing is available and there are two coarse fishing lakes for the exclusive use of owners. Non anglers are able to relax on one of the many benches dotted around the lake and enjoy watching the abundant wildlife.

WishYouWereHere - 7Oaks2The park’s facilities include a dedicated reception, laundry, a state-of-the-art fitness suite, crown green bowling green complete with pavilion and pitch and putt golf.

Twenty riverside pitches were added on an elevated terrace three years ago, taking the total to 119. Open from March to January every year, the park is especially popular with caravan owners from the Midlands and North West England.

“We are not just selling a caravan holiday home here, we are selling a new way of life,” says Margaret Brace, who manages the park with her husband, Ron.

Seven Oaks Holiday Park
www.sevenoakscaravanpark.co.uk

Holiday Snaps From Alison Watson

Holiday Snaps From Alison Watson

HolidaySnaps - Alison WatsonOperations Manager At Bridge Leisure Management - a company that provides professional management and consultancy for the caravan holiday park industry.

What was your career path into the industry?

In 1989 my friend and I decided that we would do a summer season as children’s entertainers for a bit of fun and I ended up never leaving. I have worked in every department from Entertainment to Retail but mainly in Caravan Sales and General Management

How has market changed during your time in the industry?

The biggest thing I have noticed is that holiday guests are looking for more breaks per year and the seven or 14 day holiday in the UK has pretty much disappeared, to be replaced by more, shorter breaks.

How do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?

One of the things I love about this industry is its resilience in the face of economic adversity. Private letting is one to watch as there has been a bit of a shift to external booking agents such as Airbnb and Booking.com, which could become even more prominent moving forward.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?

“Invest wisely now to save later.” I think of this anytime I am deciding on a major purchase.

What do you most like to spend your time out of working hours?

I love spending time with my family, eating out and keeping fit.

My favourite past time is cooking, whether it’s baking fresh bread to cooking for friends.

Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?

I like variety so probably Tina Turner who would belt out a tune, Peter Kay as he is one of a few comedians who makes me laugh out loud and probably my Great Aunt Elizabeth, who was an inspiration to me from an early age.

Do you have any claims to fame?

I am a grade 8 musician and have played the trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn since I was around eight years old.

Where do you prefer to take your holidays?

Anywhere hot. I love the Canary Islands, a good beach holiday with a few day trips suits me down to the ground. I also love the US and would love to explore there - Route 66 is on my bucket list.

 

 

Themed Play Design

ThemedPlayDesignThemed Play Design

Climbing is one of the best ways to stay active. In addition to running, hopping, jumping and throwing; climbing is a fundamental form of human motion. UniPlay is designed to immediately grab the attention and interest of older children – and keep it! With fresh, modern components to delight every child, UniPlay provides healthy exercise and is the perfect way to work off energy. To children it feels like pure excitement and fun! The UniPlay colour setting, organic shapes and smooth curved lines have a timeless appeal. There are loads of standard units to choose from, or you can just create your own themed bespoke design depending on your budget and needs.

HAGS
Tel. 0845 260 1655
www.hags.co.uk

Hassle Free Part Ex’

HassleFreePartExHassle Free Part Ex'

Celebrating 20 years in 2018, Quickmove help people buy on parks with speed, convenience and certainty. They specialise in property part exchange so that buyers avoid all the uncertainty and up- front costs of selling an existing property on the open market. Quickmove services are delivered by a dedicated team of in-house property specialists, with significant experience in dealing with park operators, park home manufacturers, customers, estate agents and solicitors, making the process smooth and hassle-free for all. To request a site visit from one of our area sales managers please get in touch.

Quick Move Properties
Tel. 0800 328 2168
www.quickmoveproperties.co.uk

Easy Movers

EasyMoversEasy Movers

Multi-Mover electric tow tugs enable you to move trailers or caravans easily, safely and precisely over a flat or even a slightly sloping surface. Instead of exhausting and time consuming physical effort you can move trailers independently, rapidly and now more easily. Due to special tyres and a strong drive, the Multi- Mover can be deployed on hard and soft surfaces.

Multimover
Tel. 01952 771264
www.multimover.co.uk

Stand Out Features

StandOutFeaturesStand Out Features

Have you thought about a stylish, self-contained wooden sandpit for your play area? Or how about beautiful wooden planters/raised beds to brighten up your entrances, communal areas and plots?

Why choose Garden Paradise?
• Available in a range of shapes sizes and depths (and custom designs)
• Seriously strong • Easy to assemble
• British-made • Can be placed on ANY surface
• 5 and10 year guarantees

Please contact the team to see the full range. We also offer beautiful wooden ponds too!

Garden Paradise
Tel. 0800 0430880
www.gardenparadise.net

Under The Sea

UnderTheSeaUnder The Sea

Hippo Leisure has installed an ‘under the sea’ themed water factory and splash toys at the new children’s pool at Basingstoke Aquadrome. Hippo have provided a range of eye-catching, interactive water play features including a waterball, water wheels, tipping buckets, fish water squirts and interactive sensory wall panels. The features are designed to encourage children to learn through play and increase their water confidence as they explore and discover their aquatic environment. The new play features are sure to attract both returning and new visitors to Basingstoke Aquadrome this summer and provide ‘splashtastic’ fun for young children and toddlers.

Hippo Leisure
Tel. 01752 771740
www.hippoleisure.com

Pontoons And Docks

PontoonsAndDocksPontoons And Docks

The Pontoon and Dock company are leading suppliers of EZ Dock pontoons in Europe. EZ Dock is designed to be fully customisable. Whether you need a commercialgrade dock to run boat tours, a kayak or pontoon launch, or a swimming dock for your lakefront home, we can help you design the exact dock for your needs.

Pontoon and Dock Company
Tel. 01283 208891
www.pontoonanddock.com

Test Pilots

Test Pilots - Outdoor Essentials

Test Pilots

Let your guests be the judge of your outdoor improvements...

What better time than peak season to carry out an audit of your outdoor amenities. From weather-proofing al fresco entertainment areas, to checking the popularity of new playground features; your guests are the ultimate test pilots. It is your customers who will ultimately decide on the return on investment of your winter improvements; voting with their feet, this year’s – and crucially – next year’s holiday budget. Now is the time to start the appraisal process, You need to spot what look like winners or losers. Modifications may be needed and some may have to wait until the winter months. But it may not be prudent to wait when a stitch in time could reap rich rewards in the form of repeat business and maximising spend.
Quick fix amendments could be something as simple as adding more bins or sprucing up your signage, or garden displays. If outdoor spaces are well maintained, they will encourage user-participation by inspiring visitors to be outdoors in the grounds, making full use of the facilities,” points out Christine Virginie, Marketing Manager for Test Pilots 2Fordingbridge, who are key suppliers when it comes to maximising outdoor space. “This can create great word of mouth and repeat business from visitors having just had a great experience at your park,” Christine continues. “Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing and the best aspect is, it’s free! “If your equipment is covered by a canopy, it also increases the life span and therefore reduces maintenance and replacement costs,” adds Christine.

Offering customer-friendly outdoor dining is a no-brainer. An inviting al fresco experience with smart furniture and heaters for chilly evenings will increase the number of covers you can serve and ultimately increase your bottom line. One of the key decisions when planning to utilise external areas, is whether the space is for activities, that can generate income or that simply add value to your overall offering. “Presentation of all areas is important, whether a playground, a dining area or a wild flower meadow – they all need to be maintained,” says Simon Williams, Commercial Director at Bridge Leisure Parks. According to Simon there is also a growing trend of people wanting to reconnect with nature and to be active outdoors – and this has been an area of focus for Bridge Leisure Parks. “Our recent outdoor developments include foot golf, archery, dog agility courses, pitch and putt and crazy golf. At Ashbourne Heights in Derbyshire, we’ve recently invested in a foot golf course for one of the fields and developed a nature trail through the woods.

Test Pilots 3

Bridge Leisure not only provides active areas on its parks – the operator also promotes ranger activities to take advantage of their parks’ surroundings, providing expert knowledge about the local landscape and wildlife. This is complemented with on-park signage providing more detail about the plants and animals that can be found. There is no better way of enhancing and enriching an outdoor space than by investing in play equipment. Creating an innovative play space that fi res a child’s imagination and creates a pleasant environment for parents to get together is a winning formula for holiday parks. If you are looking to breathe new life into your play offering then HAGS boasts a huge portfolio and bucket-loads of experience. The company provides a turnkey solution with services including landscaping, fencing, decking and even artificial rock faces. The play specialists manufacture a vast range of products including play equipment for all ages, outdoor gym and fitness equipment, multi-use games areas, skating, ‘parkour’ and furniture. Camber Sands Holiday Park is a typical example. The park owners wanted separate areas for toddlers and juniors and a wide range of equipment. HUGE HIT They enlisted the help of HAGS-SMP to design and install the scheme, which included themed multi-play units, dynamic equipment, a zip line, sunken trampolines and a trail with an 8m traverse wall. The play area has proven to be a huge hit with customers, and according to HAGS, the only complaint from site has been to ask how to keep the adults off the equipment! “Theming seems to be a constant favourite with our clients. From pirate ships to fairytale castles you can add real play value to your areas by engaging a child’s imagination,” comments Simon Wright, Head of Sales at HAGS. Simon advises: “If your budget is tight you might consider planning your scheme in phases, this way you can add to the playground over a period of time that suits.” Specialists in recycled furniture, NBB’s furniture designs are enjoying unprecedented interest this season. “They not only look great and are eco-friendly, but they’ll also will save the park owner money in the long run!” exclaims the company’s Group Marketing Manager David Dean. “In today’s world we all need to be more aware of the materials we use and ensure sustainability is on the agenda. “All of NBB’s recycled furniture products are manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic milk bottles. Purchasing a standard A-frame picnic table, for example, will save over 2,000 milk bottles from entering our waste chain,” adds David.

TOP TIPS

Maximising Your Outdoor Space :

Provide weather protected outdoor spaces.
Offer safe and secure bike storage for visitors.
Have all weather sports facilities such as MUGAs and covered green gyms.
Provide shaded areas for seating and dining.
Use walkway canopies to offer weather-protected connections between buildings.

 

WEATHER-PROOF SOLUTIONS

Weather Proof SolutionsSpecialist design and built contractors, Fordingbridge is a one-stop shop when it comes to outdoor weather-proofi ng solutions. A typical installation recently took place at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach provides water sport activities on a wide expanse of lake. The owners wanted to create a weather-protected, outdoor dining/spectating space where friends and family of those participating in the water sports could dine and watch in comfort, sheltered from the elements. After conducting a free site survey, Fordingbridge proposed a twin-span, barrel-vaulted timber canopy to provide 128m2 of covered space overlooking the lake. The Opal 60 fabric roof covering was designed exclusively for Fordingbridge and is known for its longevity, high tear strength and UV resistance. The install team delivered the project in four days, keeping disruption to a minimum.

Fordingbridge
Tel: 01243 554455
www.fordingbridge.co.uk

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PLANET FRIENDLY FURNITURE

Plane Friendly FurnitureGreat for park operators and the planet, increasingly the holiday sector is choosing recycled plastic furniture over traditional wooden furniture. The reasons are clear. Not only will it never rot, splinter or rust but it is guaranteed against rot for 25 years. There are no long-term maintenance commitment such as painting or sanding down. It’s waterproof and not affected by exposure to chemicals, severe weather or intense sunlight, meaning it can be left outside all year round without any effect on its look and feel – and no unsightly green algae. New for this season from NBB is its London Dining Set – a contemporary table and bench set manufactured in grey plastic, seating up to six guests and saving nearly 4,000 plastic milk bottles from going to landfi ll.

NBB
Tel. 0800 1777 052
www.recycledfurniture.co.uk

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CHARGING POINTS DEMAND

Charging PointsRolec Leisure is seeing a growing number of parks installing charging stations for electric vehicles. Something that park operators are probably encountering more and more are visitors with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs). “Demand for EVs and PHEVs is at an all-time high in the UK, with year-on-year sales having increased by more than 27% explains,” explains Martin Georgeson, Sales Director of Rolec Services, the award-winning company is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of EV charging points and accessories. “We are aware of a number of disgruntled visitors to other leisure parks around the country who have aired their disappointment at the lack of EV charging points on EV internet forums, highlighting the fact that demand is out there,” warns Martin. Rolec’s EV charging points are specially designed to be easy and economical to install, safe, and adaptable to a holiday park requirements.

ROLEC
Tel. 01205 724754
www.rolecserv.com