The Ski Club of Great Britain has a vacancy for the General Manager role

Full Time
£80,000 plus up to 20% performance bonus

This is an exciting role for anyone interested in winter sports, the outdoors, and making a difference for thousands of people.  From a business perspective, this is a great opportunity to take a large membership organisation and have a big impact on its membership, the services offered, its holiday operation, and in creating a great legacy for thousands of winter sports enthusiasts for years to come

General Manager Job Description and Requirements

Objectives of the Ski Club of Great Britain (SCGB): The Club exists to encourage skiing, snowboarding, and other snowsports; in particular, recreational skiing and to help members improve their technical and safety skills. The club is passionate about providing members with great experiences on snow and in the mountains and is uniquely positioned to provide a wide range of opportunities for like-minded skiers of similar ability to ski and learn together.
 
Current Situation: The Ski Club is a large membership organisation with around 13,000 households and c. 22,000 individuals, this number has been in decline over the last ten years. The Club provides these members with a range of opportunities to ski together and other benefits related to their time in the mountains. The Club has undergone some large changes in personnel in the last two years with several of the more experienced members of the team leaving. There has also been a poorly conceived and executed plan which has resulted in two years of substantial losses in 2018/19 and 2019/20. However, the situation is now under much better control, there has been an overhaul of the holiday model and pricing, the Rep role, substantial cost reductions and a plan to move away from the expensive office rental   Spending is now under control but there is a need to build on the work done already to agree and execute a vision, strategy and a strengthened membership offer for the future growth of the Club.
 

Key Operational Aspects of the Club:

 
Member Services: This is the area of the club that concentrates on the benefits and value which comes with the membership fee. Its activities, including the membership fee, amount to c. £1.7m Revenue, all of which is spent on Member Services.
 
  • In resort services from the c.200 Ski Club volunteer Representatives (Reps) in 17 resorts, including 11 resorts with Instructor-Led Guiding.
  • Partnerships which source discounts for members and advertising/sponsorship for the Club.
  • The Membership team manage the renewal process and the new member process as well as managing the Ski Club Travel Insurance service.
  • Publishing which manages with Marketing the member publications – newsletters and Ski & Board Magazine. 
Ski Club Holidays: The holiday brands Freshtracks and Mountain Tracks have revenue of c. £3.5 - £4.0m (in a non-Covid year).
 
  • Freshtracks: This is the core holidays brand of the Club, offering Members the opportunity to travel with other members and ski in similar ability groups. 75% of the holidays have Instructors or Guides to add to the adventure and the learning experience.
  • Mountain Tracks: This is a much smaller brand which appeals to the most adventurous skiers plus it offers Ski Mountaineering, Summer Mountaineering and Trekking. It was bought a few years ago to help build an as-yet unrealised vision of expanding club trips into the summer.
Marketing: The Marketing team supports the other revenue generating parts of the business using the paper and online magazines, the website, email marketing, social media and a small amount of PR and conventions.
 
Finance Team: Self-evidently, this team looks after all the financial management of the Club.
 

Objectives of the role:

The General Manager of the Ski Club acts as the Council’s “Senior Employee” as set out in the Articles of Association of the Club. This incorporates any part of the operation which Council delegates to the role. The position reports through the Chairman to Council.
 
In practice, this means the day-to-day operations of the Club and input to and execution of the Club’s strategy, and the creation and execution of the annual plan/budget. In particular:
 
  • Manage the Club responsibly for the membership by ensuring it meets their needs and remains operationally and financially viable for the future. This will include sound financial oversight, operational control, understanding of the membership's needs and wants through strong listening skills as well as quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Build a trusting relationship with Council: This essentially means that the role is one of “working for the Council” rather than “managing the Board”. The Club Council is not like a non-executive Board; the Club is organised such that the Council is responsible for both strategy and its execution, but chooses to delegate much of those activities to the GM. As a result, while reporting through the Chairman, the GM has also to work with the Council as a whole, rather as if a line manager. This requires tact, listening skills, good communication skills, and a sense of urgency to ensure that the Council is confident the Club is in safe hands.
  • Retain and build membership: through good value services which appeal to existing and new members. This will require a good understanding of the operation across holidays, in-resort services, partnership benefits and income, and the out-sourced travel insurance product. In addition, an ability to be creative or to manage others who are creative in terms of refreshing some of the services and inventing new ones.
  • Be a “servant leader” for the Ski Club team: The team has seen a lot of change and the ones who remain both know what they need to do operationally and are very committed to the Club. They do not need wholesale reorganisation or replacement, they need a leader who displays empathy and who takes people with them, a team player who wants the whole team to win.
In more detail, these are the key tasks:
 

Strategy

  • Help develop, communicate, and execute a three-year strategy that will support the Club’s core values and objectives, and deliver surpluses that can be reinvested into the business
  • Implement and ensure execution of short, medium- and long-term plans, which will support the Club’s ambitions.
  • Bring new ideas to the table and encourage new ideas from the SMT.

Operations and Finance

  • Oversee/manage the operational and financial performance of the Club against plan, take corrective action if/when appropriate; revise the plan in light of any market changes.
  • Ensure financial information and management reports are appropriate.
  • Track performance against agreed KPIs to ensure delivery is on time and to budget.
  • Ensure the organisational structure remains fit for purpose.
  • Ensure the Club has the processes, IT capability and talent required to operate successfully and securely.
  • Review health and safety, on-snow operations, training and remuneration policies.
  • Report regularly to the Council on both strategic and operating performance.

Leadership

  • Lead and develop the Club’s employees and c.300 volunteer snow-sports leaders.
  • Give clear direction and priorities as well as coaching and developing the team in place.
  • Guide the new recruits and the senior management team so all are fully supported.
  • Encourage new ideas and initiatives and reward outstanding customer service.
  • Assess employee performance against objectives and establish clear development and succession plans for senior employees.
  • Build a cohesive, engaged, results orientated team.

Commercial

  • Ensure the Ski Club continues to meet existing and future members’ requirements.
  • Identify new opportunities and product and service enhancements.
  • Take an active role in developing and managing new and existing partnerships.
  • Refresh services and propositions to grow the membership base among an appropriate target audience – either demographic (40-50 year olds skiing “post kids”) or attitudinal (“love snow sports and really want to get the best out of my time on the mountains, ideally whilst improving my skills”).
  • Steer the development of direct marketing, PR, sponsorship, events, and co-marketing deals to raise the profile of The Ski Club with all stakeholders, members and non-members both at home and internationally.
  • Improve general awareness and communication of benefits and services available.
  • Develop branding, marketing, pricing, and packaging of Freshtracks and Mountain Tracks holidays ensuring they remain unique and competitive.

Stakeholder management 

  • Identify and pro-actively manage and build successful relationships with key partners, suppliers, and other organisations upon whom the Club depends for goodwill, e.g. ski resort tourism authorities, ski schools, professional mountain guides, and representative bodies.
  • Work in conjunction with the Honorary President, Chairman, Treasurer and Council members as a visible and respected figurehead for the Club.

Risk

  • Review implications of market, competitive and regulatory changes on the Ski Club’s activities and develop plans to adapt and evolve offers and services accordingly for customers wanting to ski in Europe and beyond.

Key Performance Indicators and measures 

  • Delivery of the objectives in the Strategic Plan
  • Income from subscriptions and paid members
  • Member Satisfaction and feedback
  • Acquisition of new members, in particular, younger profiles
  • Income across all revenue generative activities, sufficient to increase the reserves of the Club and ensure at least break-even each year.

Professional Experience

  • It would be useful to have a recreational, sport, leisure, travel or similar business background, with knowledge of holiday and recreational markets; membership clubs, tourism, on-line marketing, digital media and/or publishing.
  • Either an established MD looking to apply skills in a smaller operating environment or a talented and commercial operator looking for their first MD role.
  • Results-oriented demonstrating success in consumer, revenue, and financial growth as well as higher brand/business awareness.
  • Likely to have experience in operations or commercial.
  • Financially literate; have owned a P&L and have day-to-day profit protection and operating budget management experience.
  • Strong stakeholder management; evidence of success as a consensus builder and bringing together disparate stakeholders.

Personal Attributes & Abilities

  • Ideally, love snowsports and have participated in them. It would be difficult for a non-skier to easily fit into the Club and its membership.

Team Leadership: 

  • Empowering in style and interested in coaching and
  • Mentoring individuals.
  • Someone who brings others with them, doesn’t leave them behind. Actively seeks out and embraces diversity in the team.
  • Consistent in their behaviour so that team members can predict the way in which you react, you don’t have emotional outbursts and you don’t change your behaviour.
  • Committed: you demonstrate a commitment to the organisation which provides a demonstration to others what you expect.
  • Positive: you create a positive atmosphere where you portray the confidence that problems can be overcome and do not allocate blame, rather look for solutions.
  • Integrity: a mix of both honesty and openness, a desire to never mislead, to own up when things go wrong and to act without a hidden political agenda.
  • An ability to flex across diverse concerns and functions.
  • Keen to and able to work in a small operating environment; hands-on when need be and resourceful; able to stretch resources a long way.
  • A ‘can-do’ attitude: good at finding practical solutions, bringing ideas to reality, and making the complex simple.
  • Entrepreneurial: whilst delivering to the agreed strategy and accompanying projects, always be on the lookout, or thinking about, additional opportunities.
To apply please submit your CV and Cover Letter to recruitment@skiclub.co.uk by Monday 8th February 2021.