They say there is always potential to turn a negative into a
positive. What better example of that than HotSpring hot tubs,
under the guidance of US manufacturer, Watkins, part of the
Stung by the failure of its original UK distributor back in 2008,
the HotSpring team worked impressively quickly to reassure
customers that warranties and orders would be honoured.
Four years on, they have not only been true to their word;
they are now seeing a sustained increase in market share building
success on a solid foundation of three spa ranges.
“The challenge for Watkins was to re-establish a network
for the brand,” says Andrew Biggs, general manager. “At that
time, there were 32 HotSpring-branded showrooms and four
“The market generally has not seen growth but in an economic
downturn, we see the weaker players fall away.
“At a time when the market has shrunk, our growth is
coming through increasing market share. We are now back to 17
HotSpring outlets, soon due to be 19,” he adds. “
Watkins markets its HotSpring offering through two main
routes to market. The Watkins retail territory in central England
includes eight of its own stores, with two more about to be added.
All the stores are managed by Watkins employees under the
stewardship of Lynda Smart.
“I have a fabulous job; no two days are ever the same,”
enthuses Lynda Smart, UK retail sales and marketing manager.
“I manage all the retail stores’ personnel, setting sales targets
and providing all the marketing support necessary for both
showrooms and special events such as shows.”
Outside of the main retail area is open territory for
independent dealers; currently six in England and Scotland,
one in Ireland and two in Channel Islands with new dealership
As with all dealers, they are also able to buy direct from the
manufacturer rather than the UK distribution team, if they are
prepared to order by container. Dealers can also benefit from the
Watkins’ co-operative advertising programme where you can get
cash back on marketing spends dependent on sales performance.
“We are fortunate to have the backing of Masco that has
the investment power to be able to continuously innovate their
products; always coming up with new things and always giving us
something fresh to sell.
“We look after dealers, providing them with lots of leads and I
think we work very well together.”
There is still plenty of opportunity to join the HotSpring
dealership network with strategic gaps including Scotland, Wales,
the South Coast, the North West and the North East
“HotSpring has a strong quality tag backed by Watkins, who,
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ABoVE: General manager, Andrew Biggs, Lynda Smart, head of UK sales
and marketing and Ray Wells, logistics and customer care manager are
looking to add to the HotSpring dealership network.
Turning A Negative Into A Positive
as manufacturers, are fantastic,” says Ray Wells, logistics and
customer care manager, who oversees maintenance of stock levels
and purchasing with a steady stock holding of 150 spas in the
warehouse, more in mainland Europe and constantly more on the
“Watkins offers a very user-friendly system of selling; direct
access to on-line stock list with up to 200 spas available for sale
at any one time and bespoke orders taking eight to ten weeks.”
With 15,000 customers already in the UK, HotSpring currently
offers three distinct ranges; two premium levels in the HotSpring
High Life and HotSpring Lime Light and one middle level, the
HotSpring Hot Spot.
The HotSpring Limelight range is more visual with more lights
and sparkle and pizzazz while the HotSpring Highlife is more
Latest innovations include the ACE salt chlorination system
that aims to enhances the spa bathing experience by considerably
reducing the amount of chlorine required.
Andrew says: “Watkins Manufacturing invests a lot of time in
customer analysis which leads to product development that will
appeal to the target social groups.
“Generally we are finding customers take around nine months
to make a purchase having carried out extensive research via the
Internet,” he adds.
“In the current climate, it is still a buyer’s market and a great
time to snap up a good deal.”
Tel: + 44 (0)1245 490056