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

The Fun Factor

The Fun Factor - Water Play

TheFunFactor

Think swimming, then think fun, with water leisure attractions one of the biggest draws for the modern holiday park destination.
Consistently one of the top holiday choice markers, a resort that offers the additional splash appeal, will reap the rewards, with not only a booking but those all-important repeat bookings. “More and more facilities are looking for resorts that offer more than just a pool,” explains Simon Smith of World Leisure. “Knowing how crucial it is to customer appeal, pools should be offering so much more than a basic swim,” he emphasises. World Leisure recently completed a £1.5m overhaul of the swimming pool facilities at Ribby Hall Village Holiday Park in Lancashire. Last December Ribby Hall won an unprecedented four Gold Awards at the UK Pool & Spa Awards. The new pool features new slides including a 48m interactive play slide. Swimmers can climb a tower to the top of the slide, which then takes them out of the building and back inside again. As they come down the slide, they can play an interactive touchpad game on the inside of the slide, with scores recorded once the ride is complete. Scores can be uploaded to social media platforms, with the top three scores displayed in the pool area. World Leisure also refurbished the splash pool and added an interactive aqua deck play structure, with tipping buckets and integral slides. A themed GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) toddlers’ pool links into the splash pool, with a slide and steps to open the pools up to all ages. World Leisure also installed a new sauna, steam room and feature showers, with all new filtration and controls. Mark Leech, senior manager of Ribby Hall Village, said: “It is important as a business to continually invest and improve the facilities we offer to our customers" Mark added: “We believe the new interactive slide and new splash pool features will be real talking points that will bring family visitors back again and again.”
Park operators need to provide appealing facilities for all age groups, with a typical water leisure offering including cannons, waterfalls, rain curtains, fl oor volcanoes and wall-mounted massage jets to add more attractions to the pools. Achieving this – and still providing an acceptable return on investment – requires very careful planning at the design stage, particularly where space is limited. Water slides and flumes have always been popular, but they require a significant capital investment, huge amounts of energy to drive massive pumps and constant life guarding.

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PLAY OFFERS WATER FUNPlayOffersWaterFun

The main aim of aquatic play equipment is to allow kids to have fun in a safe environment. Playing with water is also a vital part of a child’s development. Hippo Leisure’s modular play equipment, including Water Factories, Interactive Masts and Play Platforms are all extremely versatile products and can be expanded or updated to help to encourage regular, repeat visitors.
“What you’re aiming for in your facility is a way to keeping the whole family entertained, regardless of age or ability,” comments Teresa Metherell, Marketing Coordinator for Hippo Leisure. “This can be achieved by installing a variety of interactive water play features that provide both low level sensory play for toddlers as well as high level anticipatory and big splash play for older children and even adults,” she adds.
“It’s important to keep water play areas fresh and appealing.”

Hippo Leisure
Tel. 01752 771740
www.hippoleisure.com

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SPLASH PADS OFFER FAMILY APPEAL

SplashPadOfferFamilyAppealThe naturally inclusive and adaptable nature of a zero-depth splash park makes it an excellent amenity for holiday parks seeking to increase family attendance. Ustigate is a partner of Vortex International of Canada, offering a product portfolio of over 300 aquatic structures specifically designed to meet any specification, from low water consuming products for once use systems to super soaking buckets which create tidal waves.
The range includes many interactive free-standing products, the Water Journey collection, inspired by nature’s streams, and the Elevations range, are play structures that provide great combinations of water features between platforms of varying heights, encouraging children to climb and move between levels while engaging with children on and off the unit. The Elevations can be installed inside or outside, as part of a splash pad scheme or in a wading pool – They are designed to take fun to the max and are offered with a choice of water slides for the ride down.
Vortex is a world leader in aquatic play solutions, having completed 7000 installations in 45 countries, all of the products are renowned for being robust and innovative. Vortex recently announced the Explora collection has won two International Design awards, taking Gold in Leisure Games and Fun and Silver in the Social Impact category. Like all Vortex products, the Explora collection integrates a strong active play component that keeps children moving, pushing, pulling, spinning and exploring. The price of a typical splash pad depends mainly on three factors; size of the scheme, the type of water system – either a once-use or recirculating – and finally the selected water features. A typical once-use system would cost about £100,000 and the majority of recirculating systems are priced from £250,000.
Ustigate’s splash pad designers divide all waterplay installations into three bays; toddler, family and teen, in which they place specific products that are designed for each age group, therefore increasing play value and popularity. “By effective selection, combination and positioning of aquatic play features for your scheme, it will speak for itself and attract and retain customers naturally,” says Ustigate’s Ernie Hemming. “In addition, by using a range of colours, sensations of water and sleek designs, there won’t be any member of the family who will be able to resist playing!”

Ustigate Waterplay
Tel. 01322 424445
www.ustigatewaterplay.co.uk

Homes For Life

HomesForLifeAmerican influences on a Lancashire group of residential parks...

A trip to Florida in 2003 with a group of fellow park owners proved pivotal to Michael and Julie Ward, owners of four residential park homes in Lancashire.
“We travelled to the States to enrol in two courses at the Disney Institute including ‘The Disney Approach To Quality Service’ and spent time visiting parks and manufacturers, including a park in Sebring,” Michael explains.
“At its centre was a huge leisure complex with swimming pools, tennis courts, a function suite, computer rooms… the park owners were promoting an active retirement and we were hugely inspired.”
This American park became the catalyst for Michael’s vision for a new development: Acresfield.
Acresfield Park opened in 2010, an exclusive development of just 43, easily maintained, two bedroomed, detached bungalow-style properties, specifically designed for the over 55’s. The park is ideally located close to the historic market town of Garstang, where residents can enjoy shopping, golf, fishing, bird watching, as well as beautiful fell, canal and riverside walks. Acresfield is also situated just 30 minutes from the brighter lights of Blackpool and the coast.
HomesForLife2Nevertheless, Acresfield residents need never leave the park as it provides everything they need for entertainment on-site. Four years ago Acresfield Health Club & Spa opened. The club boasts a 15m swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, a state of the art gym, a multi purpose hall for dance and fitness classes, indoor bowls, badminton and table tennis. There is also a bistro, hair studio, and a spa with three luxurious treatment rooms.

Club Membership

The Club is open for membership to the general public, however fi rst time purchasers of new homes on Acresfi eld Park receive free membership and homeowners on the other parks receive highly discounted membership. Michael refers to Acresfi eld Park and its attendant Health Club & Spa as the ‘jewel in the Residential Parks portfolio crown’. He is justifi ably proud. Last year, Acresfi eld Park and its adjoining sister park, Wyre Vale, featured on a Channel 5 documentary series. The episodes featuring the parks attracted between 1.2 and 1.4 million viewers, and resulted in many converts to the park home lifestyle.

“The TV series really showcased park home living at its very best,” says Michael. “We were inundated with enquiries and I think that this is probably one of the best pieces aired on TV, which depicts the excellent sense of community which park home living affords.”
It’s not all gloss and no substance… the Ward family are committed to providing their residents with ‘homes for life’. The parks, and their homes have been developed with a constant regard for the fact that the British population is an ageing one. The family is not only keen to promote an active retirement for residents, but they have also taken steps to ensure that they are providing homes that are accessible for those who suffer from disabilities, or the infirm. “To meet this challenge we designed, in association with two leading park home manufacturers, Prestige and Stately Albion, the Acresfield collection of homes,” explains Michael. “The homes have been very subtly adapted with wider doorways and turning circles for wheelchairs. Walls have been strengthened so that grab rails can be fitted if required, now or in the future, and low threshold shower cubicles or wet rooms are fitted as standard.”
HomesForLife3The homes also come with a 24-hour emergency call system and each home is fitted with a key safe to assist emergency access. Care for the environment and resulting cost savings have also been taken into consideration in the design and installation of the homes. “All of the homes are economically heated by mains gas; additionally, some have solar panels with under fl oor heating,” says Michael. “They are incredibly energy efficient and exceed the British Standard. Homeowners are also free to purchase their utilities from the supplier of their choice to find the best deal possible.”

Award Winners

The Ward family purchased their first residential park home estate in 1968. Michael and Julie are the second generation, becoming involved in the business in 1985. Winning Residential Park Owners of the Year, an unprecedented three times, over the years, their Parks have also won numerous Gold David Bellamy Conservation Awards including a Special Distinction Award. Michael and Julie own and operate four residential parks, one Holiday Park and a Health Club & Spa with the help of their daughter Sophie and son Alex. Their parks are all located in Lancashire: Gawthorpe Edge Park in Burnley, Lodge Park, Wyre Vale and Acresfield Parks in Garstang, and Merlewood Country Park, which is situated in the picturesque village of Little Eccleston.
Together, the parks extend to some 475 pitches. The close proximity of the parks means that the family can take a very personal interest in their day-to-day operation. They are supported by a loyal team of almost 40 people, many of whom have worked on the parks for over 30 years. “We really understand the importance of offering a quality service to our homeowners,” says Michael. “In this day and age, people are eager to criticise and less keen to commend, which is why we are so proud of our multiple resident-nominated awards.” The Ward family believe strongly that park homes such as these represent the perfect solution for customers of a certain age. As the demand for park homes increases, Michael believes that the Government needs to change its attitude towards park living.
Residents recognise park homes as acceptable, affordable housing and it’s time that the powers-that-be did too,” says Michael. “Park homes are an important provision within the housing sector for an ageing population and offer considerable flexibility, energy efficiency and cost savings. Local authorities need further encouragement to allow parks to expand and new parks to develop.”

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

High Quality Pools

HighQualityPoolsHigh Quality Pools

With a wooden pool kit, an affordable, a high quality pool is within reach of more people.

What comes with the wooden pool kit?
• Filtration system
• Stainless steel ladder
• External wooden ladder
• Blue liner with mosaic tile band
• Solar cover • Winter debris cover
• Wooden tops
• Maintenance and water treatment kit
• Installation guide and DVD

For more information about our full range and to request a demo section of a wooden pool to have in your showroom, please get in touch.

Plastica Pools
Tel. 01424 857802
www.plasticapools.net

Problem Solvers

ProblemSolversProblem Solvers

Rinnai, the world-renowned innovator for every possible type of commercial site, has revolutionised the supply and delivery of hot water units and systems since the launch of its fully electronicallycontrolled gas-fired continuous flow product ranges. One major part of the Rinnai Infinity condensing water heaters is the Solo range - a highly effi cient Heavy-Duty gasfi red re-circulatory water heater with a completely insulated stainless steel storage cylinder. The combination of continuous fl ow units with a storage cylinder for preheated hot water allows for periods of peak hour use. This is of importance at those sites where limited gas services may dictate the use and application of water heating systems.

Rinnai UK
Tel. 01928 531 870
www.rinnaiuk.com

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