The Affect the Marketing Mix Has on a Consumers Choice for Local Authority Leisure Facilities in the United Kingdom

Ian Arnott

Abstract


United Kingdom local authority leisure facilities are beginning to move into a developing era of demand by the consumption
of those who wish to use it due to the promotion of a healthier lifestyle. Because of this there is an increasing demand for
those facilities to compete with private and not-profit organisations who have experienced and trained marketing departments
to attract and publicise their products and services to the consumers out there. Therefore to stay in the market place
and compete with the different sectors of the leisure provider a clearer understanding of the consumer base needs to be
understood.
For the effective marketing and the facility management of those leisure facilities practioners need to understand more and
more about what decisions are made when the leisure consumer makes a choice of a particular leisure facility over another
and in what way marketing influences this choice?
Therefore this study looks at Leisure Divisions within three Local Authorities and to support this it draws upon marketing
and consumer behaviour literature. The primary aim of the research was to investigate from the consumer’s perspective
what external marketing variables affected their choice on a local authority leisure facility. To establish this information, data
was drawn upon visitors from facilities spanning across three local authorities situated and then a qualititative analysis was
conducted in form of interviews to establish what decisions were made from the leisure consumer’s perspective when
making choices on a leisure facility.
80 were administered in a face to face questionnaires at each of the facilities by the researcher which were then completed
by March 2007.
The consumer’s abilities ranged from the recreational/ infrequent consumer through to the regular/ physically active
consumer and the questionnaire contained ten questions incorporating a variety of ordinal and nominal questions as well
as likert scale questions.
The response rate was fairly high at 100% (N=80) respondents represented the sample frame a cross section of gender, age
and abilities. The quantitative data was analysed via SPSS 13.0 which is a statistical package. This revealed a variety of
statistical results of approximately twenty with statistical findings (P>0.05) conducted then a further 5% (N=4) was used for
a qualitative analysis.
The most influential things that were found were that leisure consumers selected facilities based on locality and the most
powerful marketing tool was word of mouth. .
In discussing such findings, a number of recommendations have been made as to the future management and marketing of
the leisure facilities as well helping to develop this subject matter further.
Keywords: Professionalisation of marketing, Facility objectives, Word of mouth

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International Business Research  ISSN 1913-9004 (Print), ISSN 1913-9012 (Online)

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