Leisure Administration and Development

Leisure Administration and Development Essay Sample


People management, financial management, and the programming of facilities are all vital elements in the management of Leisure and Tourism so it follows that the best way to manage leisure and /or tourism facilities is via a method which links these three aspects. Whatever approach is adopted, it needs to be flexible and adaptable in an ever-increasingly dynamic marketplace. An inflexible organisation or company will stagnate and eventually fail, either as an organisation, or its customers, or both. This report will look at these three aspects of leisure/tourism management and how to effectively link the three areas through a common management process to ensure the effective operation of leisure and tourism facilities.



Marketing involves developing and managing a product that will satisfy certain needs. It focuses on making the right Product available at the right Place at the right time, at a Price that is acceptable to customers, with the right People and service support. It also involves providing the kind of Promotion that will help customers decide whether the product will satisfy their needs.

People are important in the marketing mix. As marketers they manipulate the rest of the marketing mix and as intermediaries in the marketing channel they help make products and services available to the marketplace and reflect the level of customer service, advice, sales support and after-care. For many products and most services people (or personnel) have direct contact with customers and are seen as part of the product or service which has obvious implications for the provision of those products or services.

Marketing occurs in a dynamic environment and therefore is subject to many external forces each of which has a different effect on marketing and marketing strategy:

* Laws and regulations

* Political activities

* Societal pressures

* Changing economic conditions

* Technological advances


Five Key Steps:

1. Define the need

2. Specify the person profile

3. Set out the conditions

4. Select Advertising method (internal/external)

5. Select sensitively, carefully and methodically

Advertising a vacancy involves 3 phases

1. Job description

2. Conditions

3. Person specification

The process should be centred on finding quality employees by making valid, reliable cost effective decisions about whom to select.

The standard format is:

* Application form

* Shortlist

* References

* 1/2 hour interview


* Identify, define and assess present jobholders competences

* Analyse job content

* Draw up detailed job description

* Determine future competence requirements

* Draw up person specification

* Consider the cost implications for the company and the department

* Consult with other departments for ideas and thoughts on the recruitment

A Job Description should contain:

* Job Title

* Main purpose of the job

* Main tasks – using verbs

* Scope – how the job relates to overall work of the organisation, who the jobholder is responsible to, the size of the budget under their control

* Person specification – skills, knowledge, experience, Behaviours, Attitudes

Employers need to consider Local and national labour markets. On a local level, manual workers are reluctant to travel more than 10 miles a day to and from work whereas white collar workers will make use of public transport and/or their own transport.

Other local factors to consider concern the expansion or decline of other employers and local schools and colleges, new housing developments and changes in public transport.

Nationally, demographic changes need to be considered. The rise in female employment, drop in the birth rate, the increased take-up of further education and the change in the average age of the workforce will affect recruitment and therefore recruitment policy.


Can be offset by

* Improved training

* Improved staff retention

* Improved relations with local schools and colleges

* More flexible use of labour

* Positive attitude towards minorities

* Employing older workers


* Basic salary

* Insurance

* Holiday pay

* Occupational pensions

* Work space and equipment/machinery


Recruitment, selection and training costs of approximately �1,000.00 per person. Because a salary of �15,000.00 per year can cost an extra �5000.00 in recruitment costs (Cowling and Mailer, 1998) employment costs should be treated as quasi-fixed costs in accounting terms, rather than variable costs.


All employers need to be aware of the law in relation to recruitment and employment as listed below, particularly those highlighted:

Factories Act 1961

Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963

Fire Precautions Act 1971

Equal Pay Act 1970

Industrial Relations Act 1971

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974

Employment Protection Act 1975

Sex Discrimination Acts 1975 and 1986

Race Relations Act 1976

Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts 1944 and 1958

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Employment Protection (part-time employees) regulations 1995

Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1989

Employment Act 1990

Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992

Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993

Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

Employment Rights Act 1996

Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution Act) 1998

Employment Relations Act 1999

Employers should be aware of discrimination in recruitment advertising and General Occupational Qualifications; guidelines are available from the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality.

Failure to comply with any of the above Acts can result in fines and/or legal action which can have several detrimental consequences, not least of them being the termination of the business.


There is a relationship between training, education and industrial performance. The United Kingdom’s lack of economic performance has been blamed on low investment in education and training. This has been acknowledged through the setting up of the Manpower Services Commission in 1973 which later became The Training commission and then the Training Agency.

The best employers are aware that trained employees are an asset. New approaches to training include:

* Competency based training

* Team working

* NVQs

* Tailor made training courses

* Work based learning

* Continuous professional development

* Flexible and/or distance learning packages

* Computer aided learning

The benefits to employers of trained employees are:

* Improved competitiveness

* Improved productivity

* Improved quality of service to customers

* Training own staff costs less than recruiting fully trained people in the long term and increases staff retention (lower staff turnover)

* Gives trainees the desires skills, attitudes and behaviours

* Results in higher skill/knowledge levels

* Reduced recruitment costs

* Greater commitment to the organisation

* Improved responsiveness to customer needs

* More flexible and adaptable workforce

Training can be defined as all forms of planned learning experiences and activities, e.g.

* Traditional training – (delete this dash..)

* Education

* Vocational

* Management development

* Organisational development

For training to be effective management needs to:

* Identify the need

* Plan and design training to meet needs

* Implement training

* Evaluate training outcomes


The leisure industry affords a lot of opportunity for unacceptable behaviour so disciplinary procedures must be well planned and transparent. Employers must specify:

* Discipline rules

* Who employees can appeal to

* How to appeal

* Appeals procedure

These are the basic elements of a grievance procedure:

* There should be a formal procedure

* The procedure should be in writing

* Management should agree with employee representatives the procedure for raising grievances and for prompt and effective settlement

* If there are separate procedures for grievances and disputes these should be linked

An individual grievance should be settled as close to the point of the origin as possible, as quick resolution allows for a quick return to focussing on the essential everyday business of the organisation.

Discipline at work should be seen as an opportunity to help and encourage workers to self-improve. Sanctions against unsatisfactory workers should only be used when problem solving, support, counselling and training fail to achieve the desired result. These latter strategies can be viewed as part of a positive management approach to workers’ problems which can help improve staff/management relations.


Planning manpower is essential – it needs a flexible approach in 6 main areas:

1. Training – skills flexibility

2. Mobility – Location flexibility

3. Organisation – department flexibility

4. Numerical – job flexibility

5. Financial – wage cost flexibility

6. Attitude – employees view of flexibility

This approach to manpower planning is characteristic of the Flexible Firm Model. In this model the flexible attitude of the employee is of crucial importance. It is crucial that the organisation focuses on the employee as a key asset not a cost. Manpower planning is concerned with preserving flexibility in uncertain situations.


It is essential that all successful leisure-based businesses, which operate timetabled pursuits or any form of leisure facilities should carry out carefully planned programming, scheduling and timetabling. This is a vital process in organizing activities, facilities, personnel, marketing and finance.

Programming is part of a leisure manager’s role and without it leisure provision would be chaotic and substandard. A leisure manager should also provide equal opportunities for customers and provide a structure and assurance for customers to work with. It should include a range of leisure activities, which includes active, passive and creative activities and it should also include club activities and provide provisions for special events, competitions and specific activities.

For instance a sports centre that has facitlies like a swimming pool, sports hall and squash courts, should provide the following sports and activities for their customers:-


* Mother and Baby classes- Morning classes, run all year round

* Diving Club activities – Evening classes, run term time only

* Early learning swimming classes- Afternoon session, run term time only

* Pensioners swimming Club- Mid morning session, run all year round

* School activities & group bookings- Afternoon session and term time only

* Swimming competitions – Evening sessions, run term time only.

Sports Hall

* Aerobics- Morning sessions, run all year round

* Step- Afternoon sessions, run all year round

* Dance classes-Evening classes, run in term time only

* Badminton Clubs- Evening sessions, run all year round

* School activities- Pre booked day time session, run term time only

Squash Courts

* School classes- Pre booked day sessions, run term time only

* Adult classes- Evening classes, run all year round

* League Games- Weekend sessions, run all year round

* Beginners competitions- Early evening sessions run all year round


There are various methods of programming, many of them are very similar but for the purpose of this report three methods have been analysed.

1. Letting policy

This consists of people pre-booking for a particular time and activity. Traditionally this is the usual method for a small village hall where there are limited facitlies and the community can hire the hall for dance, badminton or keep fit classes. This method would not be suitable for a bigger leisure centre or sports club where there are more facilities on offer.

2. Action, investigation and creation plan

This consists of investigation and research, which is carried out in the community and the demand for a particular activity is examined. For instance a government run leisure centre might carry out research in the local community, various activities would be introduced and these activities will be assessed on a regular basis.

3. Community leadership approach

This consists of community inputs and is made possible through an advisory board. For instance a Golf Club would invite selected members to join a committee and they would meet several times a year to discuss what special activities and competitions they could organize throughout the year.

Clearly it is critical that all leisure managers obtain regular feedback from their customers and not only should questionnaires be carried out, but also feedback should be taken once seasonal activities are underway.

The leisure manager job is to find the right mix of activities and continually assess the programmes. A good manager must be realistic and use whatever options and solutions are available to meet needs and demands effectively.

(Torkildsen 2005)

It is also critical that leisure managers work closely with staff rotas and monitor availability of staff that are qualified in particular areas. For instance, a manager of a leisure centre scheduling a junior swimming class for 4-6 year olds should provide 1 adult per 12 pupils, plus one life guard. Therefore they must make sure that when he organizes the class he has the appropriate staff on duty.


There are numerous things to consider when planning activities and many mistakes can be made. The most common being:

* Demands and needs are not assessed

Leisure managers fail to see the need to ask customers and the community what activities they would like.

* Activities are too traditional and static

For instance a Dance Club may have been running ballroom and ballet classes for many years and have not introduced the newer forms of dance like, Jazz or Disco.

* No consideration is made to the target groups in the community

For instance a manager of a local Leisure Centre has never carried out market research and established that 60% of the local community are over 60 and retired. He has continued to organize evening Step and Kick Boxing classes instead of introducing daytime activities like keep fit and silver swimmers activities.

* Advantages and disadvantage are not considered when accessing day or year membership.

For instance a private Sports Club which is based in Salcombe a popular tourist destination has continued to offer yearly membership only, rather than day passes and has missed the opportunity of encouraging holidaymakers.

* Seasonal activities are not taken into consideration

For example a corporate Sports Club run on site has continued to run Tennis activities all through the year and has not introduced winter games like Badminton or Basketball.

* Popular activities are not expanded sufficiently

For example a local Tennis Club has been organizing summer teenage fun games, which incorporates a social event afterwards and has seen numbers of participants double in just six months. However instead of introducing an extra evening in the school holidays has opted for adult classes which are purely attended by older adults.

* IT and new technology are not used to the best advantage to aid efficiency

For instance a busy private Sports Club who has over 10,000 members still operates a manual entry system for members and this has caused long queues during busy times. If they had however introduced electronic membership cards members could use turn style speed entries, which would allow many more members to enter at one time.

(Torkildsen 2005)


The management of money is an essential aspect of all successful businesses. Whether it is a commercial, public or voluntary sector company, its ability to manage money effectively is of paramount importance to its future success. Being able to control the income and expenditures of a business is all dealt with through the financial accounts. Most if not all businesses use trading accounts, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets to help understand the financial status of the business.

Each business sector will have very different goals and aims that they will want to target. Although the financial planning of a business is all about knowing their exact current position in order to plan for the future, each sector will have very different methods in achieving this. For example the commercial sector are driven by money and usually focus their attentions on a return on their original investments. The primary tactic that is used in the commercial sector is the ability to generate enough popularity to allow them to corner the market, therefore creating the opportunity to become a monopoly and ultimately having complete control of that business sector. Businesses will usually achieve this by generating price wars with their existing competitors. Through this, businesses become more competitive and will gradually lower their prices to attract more customers. Eventually the strongest business will beat its rivals and gain an even greater share of the market by out pricing them in the price wars. The commercial sector’s main goal is to maximise profits, therefore income will exceed expenditure and this is achieved through generating sales and in turn creating a rich company with asset- rich properties.

On the other hand a public sector company has very different goals, which it aims to achieve. Unlike the commercial sector the public sector will obtain some subsidised funding from various bodies, which allows them to have a deficit in their financial accounts. This deficit is compensated for by subsidised funding and means that their expenditure exceeds the income that they have generated from the sale of their goods and services.

Voluntary sector businesses will generally rely on the generosity and good will of people to help out in their stores. However this sector of the market has very different motives in generating financial rewards. Most of the income that is created by the goods sold is equal to the expenditure that they have already incurred. The voluntary sectors usually aim to collect the minimum amount necessary for their members therefore financially breaking even.


Capital Expenditure is used to help companies fund major purchases like new facilities, or major items of equipment. Normally these types of funds are raised through borrowing or through the sales of the companies’ assets. It has been known for local authorities to borrow money over a 40-year period, when the lifespan of the purchase was less than that. A usual capital expenditure budget identifies the financial status of a business over a longer period of time than other financial accounts; this can be anything from between 2 – 5 years. Arnold and Turley (1996) describe a capital expenditure budget as one that indicates the expenditure that is required for a business to cover their existing capital projects and those that they are hoping to undertake in the future:


Revenue Expenditure deals with the ongoing annual expenditure of a company, looking at the wages that a business issues to its employees, as well as the usual costs that are incurred for the utility bills and also the dealings with any supplies that the business may require. The financial accounts deal with the annual revenue expenditure and those financial documents are divided into various budget headings within a profit and loss account. The financial figures contained within a profit and loss account clearly identify businesses’ expenditure and compares this against the gross profit that the company has earned. Usually the energy and employee costs that a business incurs can be extremely high, therefore a business will need to pay careful attention to these factors.


The control of income is of paramount importance for all businesses regardless of what business sector they are in. Although different business sectors may have a variety of goals that they want to achieve, they all have one thing in common. Any business will want to safeguard the income that they have earned. This is why monitoring business finance through profit and loss accounts, trading accounts and balance sheets will provide them with a way of aiding and controlling their performance. Income, similar to revenue expenditure is divided into various budget headings. However there is individual accountability for the person who receives any money on behalf of the business.


The budgeting of a business’ income is crucial and forms the basis of any company’s financial planning. Budgets like these can be based on one of two things. The first is ‘zero based’ meaning that a company is basing their finances on no records from the previous year’s budget. Alternatively a company can base its budget on its ‘past performance’. This method looks back to the previous two or three years’ accounts and should include:

* Under-estimates expenditure

* Over estimate income

* Selective perception

“The purpose of a budget is to predict the movement of money – resources, both inputs (income) and outputs (expenditure) over a given period, normally a ‘financial year’ This period can be a calendar year, or maybe coincide with a ‘tax year’ or whatever dates are convenient to the organisation.”

(Grainger – Jones 1999)

For larger companies budgets may need to be broken down into sections called segmented budgets. Inflation is an important consideration for all businesses and mechanisms must be used to monitor their budget.


Cash flow is an aspect that all businesses have to monitor and control and is vitally important to a business’ success. Cash flow monitoring keeps track of the money coming in and out of the business. Some of the payments that regular customers incur must be paid on time and on a regular basis. A company potentially runs the risk of going under if it does not receive the required payments from clients within a sufficient amount of time. If it has difficulties in receiving payments on large sales of its goods or services, then a company will naturally have difficulties in paying it’s staff or for crucial items of expenditure e.g. utility bills. Any company trading in the leisure industry must be prepared for periods of low income as most types of business in this sector of industry is seasonal.


This report demonstrates that all three areas which include the management of people, finance and programming are undoubtedly closely linked together and are the key factors of a successful leisure and/or tourist based business.

It has shown that a leisure and tourist organisation is a business whose purpose is to include the creation and distribution of services, programmes and activities that are used by individuals and groups. Leisure and recreation management is therefore the process whereby a manager works with resources to achieve their goals and objectives through all three functions.

It can be viewed that a strong operations management system is vital to the success of any business and the importance of a careful approach to facility management can also produce exceptional financial returns as well as outstanding performance in key leisure industry aspects, such as member retention, customer satisfaction, programming revenues per membership and labour productivity.

The main aim of all three roles is to firstly improve financial performance, improve customer satisfaction and encourage staff commitment and motivation with continued training, development and management support. The main objective of any organization should be to combine all three responsibilities so that they work in perfect harmony with one another, therefore producing a thriving and successful business.

Programming is one of the most important functions in leisure management but at times it is an under-rated skill and creating services and activities, which satisfy the consumers needs is often forgotten. This report demonstrates that introducing the appropriate services and activities into a leisure business and carrying out extensive customer research and feedback is vital to the business’ success.

Staff and personnel is also an important aspect of all leisure and tourism organizations and their cost should be regarded as an investment rather than an expensive item of expenditure. It is clear that the right staff need to be employed, trained, nurtured and encouraged to perform well for their organization. This is a time-consuming and skilful job which needs regular and constant evaluation to achieve the best team of employees.

The management of money in the leisure industry is another vital function and the preparing of business budgets and goals will help any future growth. It has also demonstrated that regular evaluation of the business through its history of accounts and projected cash flows is another way of realising the businesses’ true potential.

Flexibility in all three areas is the key to successful management in the leisure/tourism industry. Flexibility makes it easier to adapt to changes internal or external to the organisation or company. Any change in any of the three areas will have an effect on the others. It can be concluded that all three departments should work closely together to achieve their goals and objectives, bringing financial resources, personnel and programmed activities together to create perfect customer satisfaction which in turn will result in a profitable business.


Arnold, J., Turley, S., (1996). Accounting for Management decisions. Third Edition, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Badmin Pat, Leisure Operational Management, 1992, Essex, Longman,

Bramham John, Practical Manpower Planning, 1988, Institute of Personnel Management: Berwick-upon-Tweed

Capon.C., 2004. Understanding Organisational Context. 2nd edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Cowling A. and Mailer C., Managing Human Resources, 1998, London: Arnold

Dibb S., Simkin L., Pride W.M., Ferrell O.C., Marketing Concepts and Strategies, 2001, Boston, Houghton Mifflin

Grainger – Jones, B., (1999). Managing Leisure. Oxford: Butterworth – Heinemann.

Myddelton, D., R., (2000). Managing Business Finance. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Torkildsen, G (2005) Leisure and Recreation Management Fifth Edition, Oxon

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