The Latest Outdoor Living Trend: Sell the Convenience Aspect

If the swim spa has ergonomically designed seats, let the customer know. Photo courtesy BonaVista LeisureScapes

By Jennifer Gannon

Those who own a swim spa find it easier to follow a fitness routine and, thus, make it part of their daily lives; however, there are several other features that should be discussed with customers to ensure they are purchasing the swim spa best suited to their needs. To do this, make sure customers remain happy with their purchase. It is important to make sure they have researched the product in terms of the swim experience, fun and fitness factors, comfort, design and massage, company/brand reputation, insulation, and ease of maintenance.

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The Latest Outdoor Living Trend: Marketing the Benefits of Aquatic Fitness

By Jennifer Gannon

For customers who are all about aquatic fitness and therapy, some swim spas are designed without side benches, providing swimmers the advantage of maximum arm and legroom—essentially converting the mini-pool into a mini-gym.

In this regard, retailers should stay informed about water aerobics and aquatic training programs as numerous exercises can be performed in a swim spa. In fact, the water’s natural resistance allows people to simultaneously exercise every muscle and joint in the body. Further, the water also serves to cool the body during the routine, which is beneficial during outdoor summer workouts. Many people who like to follow an in-water fitness conditioning program would be interested in these features.

When looking at demographics, in terms of swim spa sales and aquatic fitness, water aerobics is completely inclusive—age and ability are not factors. Therefore, not only is it important to be able to explain this to customers, but also to realize the market potential for these products. For customers who are unsure, it can be easily explained; water allows the body to be buoyant, causing less strain and stress on the joints and muscles.

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Moderate Growth Projected for Hot Tub Industry

The aging population understands the benefits of hot tub ownership—they nurture and renew relationaships with family and, for most, they cost less than a two-week vacation. Photo courtesy Coast Spas

Compiled by Jason Cramp

Similar to the swimming pool industry, which was down slightly in 2013, the hot tub market also saw a minor dip in hot tub product last year.

According to Chris Robinson, sheet business manager for Lucite International, an acrylic-sheet manufacturer in Cordova, Tenn., the total number of hot tub units manufactured in 2013 was approximately 25,000, representing a 3.8 per cent decrease compared to 2012. In fact, between 2010 and 2012, hot tub manufacturing has remained relatively flat, hovering around 26,000 units per year. He also says the exchange rate has favoured Canadian company’s selling into the U.S., whereby imports have been growing; however, this is reversing now.

Don Elkington, president and CEO of Coast Spas, a manufacturer of prefabricated portable hot tubs and swim spas in Langley, B.C., says the company’s dealers showed increases in hot tub sales overall.

“Our average sale to our dealers and, therefore, to the end-consumer was at a much higher price tag,” he says. “The consumer is finally starting to understand the value of a proper hot tub and the benefits of buying from a respected manufacturer. So it is not just about a cheap hot tub and a low price it would seem. Customer service and aftermarket service are important.”

Doug Gillespie, director of marketing for Hydropool Hot Tubs, a manufacturer of prefabricated portable hot tubs and swim spas in Mississauga, Ont., also says his company had a good year.

“Hot tub sales were up 20 per cent; however, despite the fact more units were sold, the shift in the average price went down. That being said, the swim spa market grew significantly. More people are starting to understand what the product is and are installing them above-ground, which eliminate any complications.”

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The Latest Outdoor Living Trend: Swim Spa Sales Increase as Retailers Focus on Water Therapy

The idea of a low-impact exercise routine for improved cardiovascular health is a big selling feature for swim spas. Photo courtesy BonaVista LeisureScapes

By Jennifer Gannon

For some builders who have traditionally found the installation of swimming pools to be challenging in some backyards—whether due to space or the homeowner’s budget—swim spas have opened the door to just about anyone looking for a large conventional pool. Swim spas, in a sense, are mini-versions of swimming pools, which can be installed just about anywhere, and accommodate swimming in place against a swift current. Where retailers truly benefit is the fact they can also promote the advantage of relaxation—especially after a swim or workout—in one of the jetted hydrotherapy seats these spas also offer.

Most swim spas are designed around jet pumps, which create a flat and uplifting current of water that enables continuous swimming up to 13 km/h (8 mph) without turning. The degree of resistance is also variable, which allows the swimmer to set the pace.

The idea of a low-impact exercise routine for improved cardiovascular health is a big selling feature for consumers. Further, swim spas are fun and safe for all ages and abilities; shallow enough for most children and non-swimmers, yet deep enough to satisfy the most serious swimmer, jogger, or water aerobics enthusiast.

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Commercial Versus Residential Spas: Understanding The Differences Between Two Similar Products

Traditionally, commercial spas were installed in hotels, recreational facilities, and fitness centres; however, over the past several years, the industry has seen condominium developments flourish, and along with this, so too has the demand for commercial spas. Photo courtesy Coast Spas Inc.

By Richard Hall

Commercial spas have increased in popularity over the years, primarily due to three significant changes. First, because they fit into certain applications where concrete or tiled spas do not meet the customer’s criteria or location requirements; second, residential spas are not deemed acceptable, primarily due to the different design properties of the various engineering firms responsible for specifying spas; and third, updated municipal, provincial, and federal health and building codes—along with new industry standards—have contributed to the shift toward specially designed, constructed, and engineered units.

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