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Measures that the Stour Center company is putting in place in order to attract a large number of new customers

The main aim of the project is to determine the various measures that the Stour Center company is putting in place in order to attract a large number of new customers as well as coming up with particular measures and means to maintain the existing group of loyal customers. This being the case, the major objective of the project circumnavigate on the various methods and measures that the company has to undertake to realize the underlying objective of attracting new customers and at the same time maintaining the loyal ones. The research objectives of my study were based on finding out the reasons and explanations on the Center’s competitive advantage, provision of services, and various employee and management problems. The outcomes of these questions would help me to evaluate the best tactics that the firm will erect so as to overcome the stiff competition that it is facing in the gym industry.

This report has been designed to examine some of the key factors enabling Stour Center to achieve a greater number of new customers and to maintain the existing members. In order to achieve the ultimate aim of the project, the following have been set as report objectives and questions.

1.1 Research question

What are some of the key factors that enable Stour Center to achieve a greater number of new customers while maintaining the existing members?

1.2 Research objectives:

This paper is constructed around the following objectives:

1) To examine and evaluate the current position of Stour Center in the market

2) To recognize key basis of competitive advantages for Stour Center

3) To determine the problems faced by Stour Center that has impacted on the cancelation of membership and the significant lack of contract extensions by the existing members.

4) Interview the manager, staff, current and former customers to find out where the problem lies

5) To make specific recommendations for the necessary improvements.

The report objectives were based on appropriate measures and marketing strategies employed by the institution while ensuring that it maintains customers’ from different classes of the society. PESTEL analysis method has been used to ascertain different opportunities and threats that faced by Stour Center in the fight to achieve a competitive edge. According to the study, it has been pointed out that

  • The institution has a fitness studio with a capacity that can accommodate over 60 participants every week with a vast area for sauna and flowing Jacuzzi stream that offers an adorable relaxation for clients.
  • The institution also has its main pool at designed 25m set according to the environmental standards of the council. The main pool has also been constructed with up to 6 lanes that accommodate sessions for swimming all week long.
  • The institution also provide a relaxation joint and excitement facilities for young children and adults thus providing returns to different classes of people including pool operators which is in turn healthy to the economy.

An appropriate and efficient measure or technique is set aside for implementation and further realization of the goal. Evaluation and adoption of the best measures to attract new customers lead to increased competitive advantage of the company in relation to its competitors. such as the gym, park club, and Bannatyne. AIDitionally, an increase in the number of new customers foster a feeling of self-esteem and hence an urge to do more. Maintenance of the loyal customers helps to boost the level of customer satisfaction as well as creating a better public image for the company. Information obtained from the project findings would help to me to answer the objective questions. Provision of unusual and unique services by Stour Center such as gym child care services will attract more customers.

2.0 Introduction

Having opened its door as a sport facility center in 1975, The Stour Center boasts as oneof the biggest sports center in France operated by Ashford leisure trust. The establishment wasset up in place for recreational facilities and to serve the increasing population of Ashfordinhabitants.The ultimate objective of this report is meant to determine effective measures that have beentaken by Stour Center towards achieving a greater number of new customers while maintainingthe loyal customers (Ashford Leisure Trust Sports & Leisure Centre, 2014). The report relays alot of focuses on promotion mechanism applied by the institution to achieve a competitive edgeamong other rival companies that operate in the same line of business. The evaluationmechanism would be based on several factors including customer support services and othermarketing techniques employed by the institution to meet customers’ need. According toAshford Leisure Trust Sports& Leisure Centre, (2014), the Center offers different kinds ofservices to customers not considering of ambitions, economic situation or disability. As such, theinstitution draws a large pool of customers including sports enthusiasts, pensioners, families,toIDlers and adults.

2.1 Research question:

What are some of the key factors that enable Stour Center to achieve agreater number of new customers while maintaining the existing members?

2.2 Research objectives:

This paper is constructed around the following objectives:

6) To examine and evaluate the current position of Stour Center in the market

7) To recognize key basis of competitive advantages for Stour Center

8) To determine the problems faced by Stour Center that has impacted on the cancelation ofmembership and the significant lack of contract extensions by the existing members.

9) Interview the manager, staff, current and former customers to find out where the problemlies

10) To make specific recommendations for the necessary improvements.

Following the literature review as discussed in the other sections of the research study, the reportwill examine all the effectiveness of the research question and objectives through the applicationof PESTEL model (Goodin., Rice & Saunders, 2005). The final report will be compiled based ondifferent objectives. The report will clarify on the methodology and the marketing strategiesemployed by Stour Center in ensuring that they get more potential customers. In order to achievecomprehensive result, the report will be compiled alongside thorough audit of the market forcesand the institutional performance. Moreover establishing a link between the progressiveachievements of the obstacles that are met by the business in the course of marketing, report willjustify findings as drawn by PESTEL model. Adequate suggestion while giving strategicmeasure on what should be implemented and techniques that should be used by Stour Center to achieve a greater number of new customers and will be looked into.

3.0Literature Review

Stour Center being a popular resort and service owned by Borough Council on behalf of the Ashford Leisure Trust provide varied range of range of services to different people. As such, the report would try to ascertain different mechanisms that have enabled Stour Center strategy to achieve a greater number of new customers while ensuring maintenance of loyalty among the existing customers. Stour Center has a fitness center with magnificent facilities ranging from contours health club that has been integrated by cardio resistant equipment characterized by an automated tracker. Besides, the institution has a fitness studio with a capacity that can accommodate over 60 participants every week. Moreover, it a vast area for sauna with a flowing Jacuzzi stream that offers an adorable relaxation for clients. Besides the provision of eloquent facilities, Stour Center has received applause for best customer service that involves customers

to get assisted by a supportive team so as to encourage them to make more visits (Goodin, Rice& Saunders, 2005).Stour Center, therefore clarify of different marketing mechanisms that have beenemployed by the organization to sustain the organizational competitiveness and maintain itsreputation as one of the best fitness center ever to have been owned by Ashford Council. Withthe aid of the PESTEL model, various factors have been employed by the company to achievethe organizational objectives. However, the Stour Center report is updated and expanded basedon other previous reports. The role of Stour Center business objectives are all analysed inaccordance to the organizational internal and external environment (Goodin, Rice & Saunders,2005).

3.1 PESTEL Analysis of Stour Center

3.1.1 Political

Positive and pragmatic management of Stour Center by Ashford Leisure Trust on behalf of the Ashford Borough Council has led to the economic development of United Kingdom and the local town of Ashford Kent in particular. Physical fitness centers are some of the main potential companies in the United Kingdom. Since Stour Center falls in an a hospitality industry, the institution has done its best by collaborating with the government of the united kingdom by adopting all the legal requirements that would see the company fulfilling all the requirements of the environment. For instance, the center’s main pool at 25m set according to the environmental standards of the council. The main pool has also been constructed with up to 6 lanes that accommodate sessions for swimming all week long. In aIDition, the fitness center has also been graded as a unique learner’s pool that is safe both for learning and swimming a way in excitement (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2009).

3.1.2 Economic

Stour Center stays a head in terms of spa treatment hence it has provides a discretionalincome to facilitate growth of council economy. Due to special spa, Jacuzzi and warm consistentstream offered by the institution, the organization has sustained the development of competitiveform of expenditure for the societal discretional income. Since the center is often associated withhigh level of demand especially during public holiday, the Stour Center usually gains high levelof returns both from the personal in personal service and through funds gained through the venuefor higher. Besides, the institution also provide a relaxation joint and excitement faculties foryoung children and adults thus providing returns to different classes of people including pooloperators which is in turn healthy to the economy. According to the official reports obtainedfrom the Ashford council, the number of clients that have been that comes to Stour Center toenjoy their services have increased in the past few years which is a clear indication of a growingeconomy.

Ultimately, Stour Center has been design been designed with modern state of the art with endowed furniture that area all substantial for different classes of the society. For instance, the pool has allocated safe circular teaching pool characterized by bubble pad for young children. Ultimately, the institution has developed a wide range of supper value preposition for every budget for training gears and equipment of different ranges (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington 2009).

3.1.3 Social/Cultural

Stour Center sale considerations within Ashford council in the previous years have in thepast shown concerns for consumer buying power of clients to the institutions. With thepotentiality and economic development of Ashford region, Stour Center has embraced marketingstrategies to popularize the institutional services across the entire United Kingdom. Theinstitution has designed facilities and different fitness services that suit the taste and preferencefulfilling the needs of different clients. Since most UK citizens are practicing healthier lifestyleshence the society has often been affected by the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle by acceptingthe presence of sensitive pricing so as to sustain their physical fitness. Such a cultural aspect hasenhanced Stour Center potentiality to institute hiring facilities such as a very big hall that offers asitting capacity of over 300 occupants. In aIDition, the institution the institution has developed aspecial type of studio that suits both private and public groups. Furthermore, the institutional alsohas some special and private swimming pools that can be hired for confidential clients. Suchspecial services that also coincide with cultural aspects of citizens of the United Kingdomenables the institution to generate adequate returns compared to the closest rivals that also operate in the same line of service (Kruger and Casey, 2000).

After discovering that some of the services may have not proven better for some customers of Stour Center, the institution has responded by setting up an online customer’s support system that responds to customer’s queries 24 hours around the clock. Besides, the institution has continued develop and improve ways of service delivery at the institution in terms of service and delivery that appeals to customer preferences. Besides, quality service, ample response to customer feedback and security that have been employed by the institution, Stour Center also relays a lot of focus on customer satisfaction by revitalizing the institutional strategy to adapt the social needs of customer preference. Stour Center has set in place policies to refund customers who feel that they have not received the right services they had paid for (Kruger &Casey, 2000).

3.1.4 Technological

In most organizations, information technology (IT) is very important at important at influencing the business operations. However, being a physical fitness center does not employ a lot of technological applications a part from the few that have been incorporated to help in the administration and support service to customers. It is most important to note that Stour Center employs information technology infrastructure to aid the smooth flowing of information across various departments of the institution. Moreover, the implementation of technological appliances by the institution has contributed to central management of the institutional services (Kruger and Casey, 2000).

Technology has also greatly influenced the promotion of Stour Center most especially the institutional venue for hiring since it informs potential clients about the existence of such facilities at Stour Center. Most of all, clients can have access to the company portal where they simply log in, carry out reservation and proceed to make payments online without any physical appearance at the institution. The Stour Center has also maintained a user friendly interactive website where customers can check on the latest services offer by the institution from any part of the world. Ultimately, the institution uses technological system with as synchronized database to communicate to customers regarding emergence of new products or the once in promotion, but most all the institution uses portable technological devices such as IPAD and tablet processors to popularize products and services on offer (Kruger and Casey, 2000).

3.1.5 Analysis external and internal environment

The environmental aspect analyses the organizational response to both national andenvironmental issues. According to the Stour Center policies, the institution is highly cognizant and very compliant to legal environmental measures as required by Ashford council. All the institutional facilities are closely monitored by to ensure that they meet environmental requirements as imposed by the law (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2009). In accordance to the environmental law, the institution has continued to embrace the environmental practice through different means including planting of vegetation around the premise as a sign of solidarity to the environment. Ultimately, the institution ensures that all the pool waters are in constant motion to make it healthy while reducing chances of survival for bacteria and disease causing microbes (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007). Some of the internal and external environmental factors that has instigated the success of Stour Center has been summarized in the below SWOT analysis table.

Strengths·         Stour Center workers are

enthusiastic at welcoming


·         Wider and abundant pool that offers training throughout theweek.

·         Stour Center expatriates areskilled in different areas.

Weaknesses·         Low customer turnout during

summer vacation

·         Inventory systems requires upgrade

to suite all the departments

Opportunities·         Personalized services for long

term customers such as private


·         High delivery that suits customer needs

Threats·         Presences of more cheaper


·         Some competitors offer dynamic

services that suites different climatic conditions


3.2 Competency framework

Competency framework of Stour Center is characterized by cost leadership strategy that mainly seeks s at offering services at an affordable cost to customers. The center offers a varied number of services that suits customers of different ages. Having been established at the CBD of Hereford city, the center utilizes all economies of scale to keep the charges as low as possible so as to attract more potential customers.

3.2.1 Main local competitors of the Stour Center

Stour Center main competitors include Bannatyne Park club that has taken control of over 20% of the industrial market. Bannatyne Park Club Company owns varied number of outlets and franchise at different countries across the world including United States and the Asia (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington, 2009). Despite the company experiencing a lot of financialchallenges, it has maintained active operation in most of its outlets thus posing serious rivalry to Stour Center (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington, 2009). Another competitor is David Lloyd Leisure that has over 200 fitness outlets in the United Kingdom. Having ventured into the center of fitness, the company focuses at operating multiple fitness centers within a small radius.

3.2.2 Critical Success Factors

For fitness service providers in the United Kingdom, it is critical point out that most clients tend to love a center where they feel they are functionally supported to with realarmed services that would always make them desire for more (Malpas, 2011). In order to accommodate withstanding ratio and consistent flow of clients at the institution, Stour Center has increased priority for employees and placing them to help in the execution of the organizational activities at the expense of satisfying both the customers while enhancing the generation of returns to the organization. Some of the top considerations that has enabled Stour Center to achieve a competitive edge include:

3.2.3 Location

Stour Center boasts as one of the best fitness center to have been located in a serene environment of Ashford town. The institution is centrally located within the town center thus making it accessible to most residence of the city. In aIDition, the institution has been located on a vast land with a bigger and ample parking lot accommodates a bigger number of customers from different quarters. That vast land where Stour Center has been established allows for mobility of different services and activities hence acting as a key motivational factor to the success of the institution. Ultimately, the location of the institution is strategically located on a specials topography that allows outdoor cycling for both groups and individuals and adequate space aside as a fan space for children and contours gym (Malpas, 2011).

3.2.4 Safety

As part of health and safety regulatory compliance, Stour Center has designed the institutional facilities in accordance to the government and safety act of the United Kingdom. For instance, all the training pools have constructed out of standard dimensions that is 25metre for the combine pool and leisure poor thus offers adequate space for those who are undertaking swimming practices or just for relaxation. Moreover, the institution has invested heavily on cardiovascular equipment of different weights tailor made to suit the need for each client. Stour Center has been properly planned properly arranged and efficiently operated on a timetable to accommodate effective flow of traffic all week long. For instance, the company has instituted a special reserved pool for those who require an advanced level of privacy because it gives such clients an opportunity and a feeling of security regarding the activities they are undertaking (Porter, 2011).

3.2.5 Revenue

As discussed in most business articles, revenue forms an important of the business since the quality of a product or service would determine the amount of revenue return. To Stour Center, the rates of positive recommendations that have been achieved from clients enable it to increase the amount of returns. Over 65% of the Stour Center services have been graded as positive. As such, the rate at which new clients come in for services eat the institution is a clear indication that the business is positively building the revenue growth. Therefore, it has always been the mandate of the institutional management to maintain a good customer background so as to achieve a better competitive edge (Porter, 2011).

3.2.6 Five forces analysis of Stour Center

The five forces model of competition has given a better understanding of Stour Center.The five forces model includes threat of new entrants, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of substitutes and rivalry among competing firms.

Threat of new entrants

Being a physical fitness and health center, Stour Center is experiencing high threat of new entrance in the industry because the industry is still very young and there are chances of new firms in the United Kingdom joining in for the same line of business. As such, it contributes to a low switching cost (Kruger and Casey, 2000).

Bargaining power of suppliers

The bargaining power of suppliers is relatively low since the industry only needs very few suppliers. In such a case, the primary use of suppliers may only engage the supply of equipment. However, Stour Center has done its best by seeking for supply of very unique equipment for the fitness center thus influencing a good number of potential customers (Kruger & Casey, 2000).

Bargaining power of buyers

On the other hand, Stour Center is experiencing high level of bargaining power of buyers because of its nature to the fitness center industry. As a matter of fact, Stour Center rely on the revenue collected from customers from the services that they offer. Therefore, the company experiences low switching cost as a result of members loyalty. However, the company offers affordable costs charges to customers hence benefiting customers at the expense of the expense of diminishing industry returns (Kruger and Casey, 2000).

Threats of substitutes

The Stour Center faces serious competition from other substitute companies outside the industry such as companies engaged in the recreational activities or outdoor sports. While Stour Center has set up specific charges for all activities that offered within the center, the competitor’s prices are mostly cheaper and do not have scheduled time commitment. Moreover, they offer aIDitional services like biking and running that are suitable for all weather (Kruger and Casey, 2000)

4.0 Methodology

Report Methodology would talk about the research design with a lot of focus on thefocusing on the deductive approach. Moreover, it introduces the study design, data collection andlocation and the reasoning of the targeted population (Kuiper, 2009). Besides, it will alsoencompass the approach to gathering the needed data or information. Other various concepts willalso be employed in this chapter used to determine strategy used by Stour Center to achieve agreater number of new customers.

4.1 Research Design

The report has been designed comprehensively the aid of descriptive design. Thedescriptive aspect has been adopted mainly to facilitate the formulation of knowledge that is alsovital in ascertaining problems that affects the targeted population of the research. In order to getan insight of the entire study, research questions will be analysed independently while analysing their impact to the institution. Deductive study design was mainly chosen because it facilitatesthe rate of data of collection (Kuiper, 2009).

4.2 Sampling and Data Collection

With the aid of the deductive approach, the report is aimed at seeking the perception ofStour Center employees and administrators concerning measures that have been put in place atenhancing the population of customers. Moreover, it also seeks to ascertain how the institutionmaintains the loyalty of the already existing customers. Since very few or no customers werebeing involved in the survey, it was perceived that institutional employees and the managementwere sufficiently enough to provide the relevant information (Kolodzy, 2006).Since Stour Center has had most of the institutional information recorded into the

Information Technology (IT) system, getting some of the pieces of information had been madeeasier. However, at some given point it was necessary to get information from customers toallow for comparison between the information obtained from the administration and what is taking place on the ground. As a consequent, all the respondents were supplied by questionnairesto be filled in and returned within a period of 2weeks. However, respondents who were servingin the IT block were made to respond to their questionnaires through survey money. Due tolimitations associated with time, it was decided that questionnaires would be most efficient wayto collect data.

4.3 Population of the Participants

According to Kolodzy (2006), population is described as a group of persons used by theresearcher to acquire a given concept of the study. Due to limitations associated with study,institutional employees and administrators were targeted as the center of information. Employees from different departments were deemed vital to form part of the sampling. However, the researcher was interested in this population because it was employees who were being used inthe execution of the organizational strategies towards the maintenance of the customers’ loyalty to the institution. The assumption is that IT infrastructure was being used by some of therespondents to implement positive strategic measures to the organization.

4.4 Research Setting

Stour Center as a fitness as an institution has been established in Kent city one of theUKs cities that is located between Gediton and Whilesbrough. The Center is owned by Ashfordleisure trust, but managed by Ashford borough council. Moreover, the Center has been designedto offer both recreational and leisure services for toIDlers teenagers’ and adults residing eitherwithin or around the city environments.The report therefore is targeted at obtaining data to analyse the reasons concerningstrategies use by Stour Center to achieve a greater number of new customers and to maintain theexisting members. Besides, it is aimed at determining some of the delineating factors that haveacted as barriers to Stour Center from achieving a competitive advantage. The report is purelybased on Stour Center, but for issues of data comparison, it can be slightly extended to cover some of the closest competitor to the institution.

4.5 Data Analysis

Data analysis is a very important part in report study and evaluation since it is used tosuccessfully obtain the objectives of the study (Shafer, 2007). The data will be evaluated andinterpreted using descriptive statistics. Moreover, frequency tables and pie charts will beemployed to draw conclusion in terms of percentages, but most of all, a broader section of data will be analysed with the aid of graph and charts.

4.6 Limitations to Study

Despite the fact that the report was designed with positive intentions aimed at achievingcredible figures, the process of evaluation was characterized by several delineating factors someof which included confidentiality. Some of the respondents felt that giving of information tooutsiders is more likely to be used by the rivals at the expense of their competitive advantage.Besides, there was flawless in the data collection procedure as some of the respondents couldsimply fill into the form without meaningful consideration to bypass time. Ultimately, the reportwas characterized by a lot of time constrains since majority of the respondent were employees ofStour Center thus had very limited time in availing the data.




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