Struggling to sell your holiday park? How professional management can help

Andrew Howe, chief executive at Bridge Leisure Management, gives his tips on how holiday park owners can improve their chances of selling their business.

Advice for selling a holiday park

“Business owners tend to bristle at the suggestion that outside help can make their business better, yet I am convinced a good consultant can provide support to improve your park and make your business a more attractive sale proposition.

My partner and I both come from holiday park backgrounds, and we launched Bridge Leisure Management because we were meeting park owners who told us they were stuck in the day-to-day operations of their business and not achieving their long-term goals.

Over the past seven years we have worked with individual park owners, small groups and corporate holiday parks owners to achieve a number of objectives, including getting park business ready for sale.

Our team have spent years working at all levels within the industry, and that expert knowledge gives us the ability to provide a helicopter view of how park owners can make their business more saleable.

We have provided support to the holiday park industry for seven years now, and here are six tips to help park owners work successfully with consultants.

1/ Find the right fit

The most common reason to hire a consultant is to get expertise that is not available in your team, coupled with the benefit of seeing your park with fresh eyes.

Working with an industry expert will help you to find solutions that cut right to the heart of your business rather than shine on paper but fall flat during implementation.

We believe that holiday park expertise is essential to providing hard-headed advice, which is why the Bridge Leisure team is made up of industry specialists.

For example our newest hire, operations manager Alison Watson, has worked for 25 years at holiday parks across the country, helping grow businesses and create outstanding experiences for customers. She knows the sector inside out and has already brought a wealth of knowledge to our partner parks.

2/ Define the project’s scope

Being clear about the boundaries of a project is the best way of ensuring good results, and a scope of work statement is essential to identify objectives, agree what is included (and what is not), and to describe what a successful outcome will look like before the work starts.

Spending time at the beginning of a campaign to set a crystal clear direction, and then returning to the plan regularly, will help to ensure a project delivers on your expectations.

3/ Understand fees, pay for quality

High-quality assistance can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, which means that paying more for expert advice is a much better investment than paying less for bad counsel.

Understanding how fees are structured and linking them to clear performance goals at the beginning of a project will help you to measure the value of support you are paying for.

4/ Put the details in writing

No matter how friendly the relationship or small the project, have a contract in place to avoid unwelcome surprises further down the line.

A contract should cover more than the whys and wherefores of who will do what; there should be details of confidentiality requirements, customer data, acceptable expenses and travel requirements (if you are expecting monthly face-to-face meetings, say so here), and set a clear payment schedule.

5/ Plan to be involved

As the park owner, don’t expect to sit back and let your consultant do all the work. You know your park better than anyone and you should expect to be an ongoing resource providing information about operations, people, practices, culture, and all the issues that are common in a business.

However, there is a fine line between being involved and being domineering. Remember that you brought the consultant in to make use of their expertise and fresh outlook, and so you must allow them to reach their conclusions without the pressure of your preconceptions.

6/ Commit to a successful collaboration

Now that you have made the decision to bring in outside help, commit to making the project successful with time, money and any other resources needed to achieve the result you are aiming for.

Losing energy and enthusiasm for a project will only see you waste the time and money you’ve already put in to making it work, and is usually a sign that your expectations are not being met because the planning process has failed.

Be rigorous about steps two and three to be specific about what you need, in what time frame, and what the finished product should look like, and then fully commit to success.”

Want to know more? For advice on selling your holiday park business, click here to contact Andrew and the Bridge Leisure Management team.