6 Jan 2015 by Charles Manners
Summer Schools - An Opportunity or a Nuisance?
I have never understood those who are reluctant to take summer schools. When managed well they can provide much needed valuable income to all concerned.
However; this much relied on income is under threat, and many have experienced challenging school numbers.
In recent years the sector has been at the mercy of many uncontrollable impacts which are both hard to forecast and even harder to control including Icelandic volcano’s, Europe’s economic crisis, Bird flu and the Ukrainian situation this summer.
Coupled with current factors which are likely to impact on summer 2015, and beyond are the Russian sanctions, the US have engaged In numerous Arab trade deals to encourage school groups to travel to the US which traditionally would have visited the UK, continuing European economic uncertainty, private schools and conference centres now target this sector, and the high value of Sterling.
So why do we value this sector and continue to operate in this market place, the reason is Summer schools remain the backbone of many commercial team’s income.
Trends from the smart operators include:
- Long term contracts – offering rooms on three year contracts with 5 -10% deposits, Estates planning – keep as many blocks and classrooms available
- Profit margins – ensure the profit is shared by all departments.
- Target audience – challenge the academic, international offices or recruitment to understand how they can market your university to this target audience.
Personalisation is a word often used, however one which the summer schools are adopting, and each are aiming to create unusual packages which sets them apart through creating Art academy’s, football academy’s and wellbeing specialist courses. A tri partnership with your university core offer can be adapted to create some exciting and inexpensive offers which positions your location as a preferred choice above others.
Charles Manners FIH, FCSI
Director – Turpin Smale Catering & Conference Consultants