Fit For Purpose - Holiday Hot Tubs
Hot tubs are the must-have ingredient in the recipe to holiday booking success it has been revealed. According to self-catering specialists Hoseasons, a private hot tub is the number one searched for item on the website, accounting for more than 100,000 searches each month. With thousands of models to choose from, selecting the right hot tub for a holiday let can be a potential minefield. Holiday home owner Lucy Dawson recently invested in two new hot tubs for her two rental properties at Easter Ellister Farm, situated on the Rhinns of the Isle of Islay - an island off the west coast of Scotland.
CEDAR HOT TUBS : Lucy first invested in a circular cedar hot tub for her property – An Linnean – in 2008. The hot tub proved to a be a very popular addition with guests, so Lucy decided to upgrade the hot tub this year and has also purchased a second hot tub for her other property – Easter Ellister. “Having run the two self-catering houses of similar standard and in the same location, I can say without doubt that the house with the hot tub is more popular than the one without. I would say I get at least 25 per cent more bookings for An Linnean and the property is booked up most of the year round,” says Lucy. “This is the main reason why I have decided to install one at Easter Ellister too.
People just want that little added bit of luxury on holiday and for some reason a hot tub hits those buttons!” Lucy purchased the hot tubs from Eagle Leisure, based near Glasgow. She opted for the seven-seater Freedom model and the six person Vantage model out of the Coast Spas stable. Both have full foam insulation and insulated covers to help retain heat. They also feature Coast Spas’ 50sq ft cyclonic pressurised filtration to ensure the guests are sitting in the cleanest possible water. Each of the hot tubs cost around £7,000, but Lucy estimates that she can make most of this money back within ten weeks of rentals of the property.
“It is a big investment to install hot tubs but I believe them to be an essential part of my business in attracting customers,” says Lucy. “I would always advise other holiday property owners to do their research before taking the plunge though. I paid the price in choosing an internet ill-researched purchase the first time around and had countless problems with the tub over the years. It was very costly to maintain and run. She continues: “You need to make sure you are buying good quality, well made tub that is well insulated and good filtration system. “I would advise going to a reputable spa retailer who knows their stuff. I was incredibly impressed with the customer service and installation service from Eagle Leisure, something you just don’t get when you order online.” Eagle Leisure recommend the Coast Spas range of hot tubs for holiday properties. Their bestselling models for this market are the 7ft and 8ft options, which seat up to six and eight adults respectively and are available from £6,995.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
“There will be some customers looking for a low end hot tub just to say that they have one,” explains Debbie Ekins, Commercial and Communications Manager at Eagle Leisure. “These usually retail between £2,000 - £3,000, but personally I don’t think there are any great quality holiday hot tubs on the market place within this price range. If something seems too good to be true it probably is.” Debbie continues: “On the other hand, we get some holiday owners who realise that a hot tub purchase of £7,000 - £8,000 is an investment. Adding a hot tub allows the property owner to a) charge a higher rental rate and b) rent out the property to full capacity – so should be able to quickly make their money back. Plus they get the peace of mind knowing they have a quality hot tub that the guest will be happy with and that will last them a long time.”
Over the past ten years, a significant amount of holiday park operators and holiday let owners have purchased and operate what are in fact domestic hot tubs only designed for home, and not intended for commercial use. Commercial spas, the type found at health clubs and spas, are generally much larger than the average portable spa with bigger and better filtration and sanitation systems along with other features that suit much heavier bather use. “It can be tempting to purchase cheap imported tubs but it can be a very expensive mistake if you experience service issues,” reveals Jason Smith, Sales Director at RotoSpa. “Holiday hot tubs drive revenue so they need to be reliable. If they are not you will regret it. My advice is to buy quality, buy once and buy British.”
The British-made RotoSpa range is ideal for holiday use given its durability, low cost, UK support and the ability to specify bespoke features tailored to the individual risk assessment for the site. The RotoSpa Quatrospa and DuraSpa are among the UK’s bestselling holiday let units, which feature Individual auto dosing sanitiser systems and individual sand filters. The autofill and quickdrain system is operated by the touch of a button and enables the water to be completely changed in less than ten minutes.
In terms of life expectancy, RotoSpa recommend that hot tubs are changed every five years, however, the company has installed tubs on holiday park sites that are still going strong some ten years later. When selecting a hot tub supplier, Jason advises: “Choose a hot tub supply partner with a long pedigree of manufacture and service - someone who will listen to your needs and offer solutions to them rather than try and force you into an overpriced unit from their stock with features unsuitable for high demand use. Use someone who will work with you as a partner not just sell you a tub.”
HOT TUB HAZARDS
From an insurance claims perspective, hot tub-related slip and trip injuries are not uncommon. If a holidaymaker slips in a wet area, or even inside the hot tub itself, there’s a potential for them to be quite seriously hurt. “Skin irritation claims are also quite high up on the claims list, from minor rashes to quite serious skin conditions,” says Tom Dallow, Customer Claims Manager at Compass Insurance. “We were particularly surprised by a claim made in relation to a baby getting a rash from a hot tub - but this is certainly not the only claim we’ve received relating to an individual who shouldn’t have been in a hot tub in the first place!”
Further highlighting the vital importance of managing water health and safety correctly, Compass has had one allegation of Legionnaire’s Disease having being ‘caught’ from a hot tub on record, as well as several claims made related to injuries sustained by suction from hot tub outlets. Says Tom: “Thankfully for all involved, Compass doesn’t receive hot tub related claims in high numbers. Of those we have dealt with, park owners will be interested to note that in many cases no negligence was found, so no pay-out to the claimant was made. “However, we must stress that insurers will struggle to defend parks where written evidence of appropriate hot tub management is not available. A compliant, common sense approach is critical.” If parks carry out appropriate risk assessments, follow relevant health and safety regulations to the letter, keep relevant documentation up-to-date and display clear rules on safe usage for users to adhere to, then there’s no reason why hot tubs should be considered a commercial hazard. You should speak to your insurance advisor to discuss your individual circumstances.
COMPASS INSURANCE Tel. 01452 511 430 www.compass.co.uk
EAGLE LEISURE Tel. 01355 264466 www.eagleleisure.co.uk
ROTOSPA Tel. 0121 354 3428 www.rotospa.co.uk
WELLIS Tel. 01246 559071 www.wellis.eu
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