For many in the industry, swim spas have always had something of a reputation for a fisherman’s tale. With marketing and sales hype advising companies not to miss out on a sales boom, it is difficult to know which brands were truly landing the biggest catch.
“Swimspas are nothing like reps and importers would like you to believe,” warns Stephen Weller, managing director at Master Spas Europe. “To claim it is a booming market for all is wrong. Those positioned well with shows and high footfall display sites are seeing good and profitable sales but overall the UK market is probably around 400 full size units.”
Issy Rickards Sanger of Elite Spas disagrees: “Without a doubt, the swim spa market is on the increase,” she urges. “Customer awareness has been increasing rapidly in the last three years and we estimate that approximately 1000 to 1500 swim spas are sold annually throughout the UK.”
While views on exact statistics diff
er, the industry does agree it was first made aware of the swim spa concept over 25 years ago, with the demonstration of Rio units at the annual National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) shows. Many of today’s swim spas look much the same as the original Rio unit; with a traditional spa layout at one end and a swim tank with jets at the other end.
One company that persevered, buying a number of moulds from what was Fort Wayne Pools, was Hydropool of Canada who introduced their units at the Ideal Home Show in the late nineties. Hydropool continued to develop the lines and sales over the next decade mostly under the radar of their competitors who had no idea how well they were selling. However, as awareness of Hydropool’s sales in Europe grew, other companies started looking for units or asking their manufacturer to produce them.
“What other companies missed was how Hydropool sold them,” says Stephen Weller, of Master Spas.
“They chose consumer shows, where they were usually the only company showing, while using sales techniques completely beyond the abilities or experience of other pool and spa companies,” comments Stephen. “They had created a market and were fantastic at protecting it.”
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