At Your Own Risk

At Your Own Risk

at own risk main picThe marmite of the holiday industry, holiday letters either love hot tubs or they loathe them. A necessary evil, the plus side of hot tubs is that they will increase ‘letability’ offering the opportunity to put premium prices on accommodation offered with a spa. In fact, seven out of ten bookers are looking for a hot tub with their holiday let, while accommodation promoted as being supplied with a hot tub ,will generally sustain increased rates of around 25% -30%. On the down side, hot tubs are high maintenance on changeover days; a pain to heat up, with inevitable customer complaints. The in-coming visitors are chomping at the bit to take the plunge and social media the ‘in the tub’ photographs to show all their friends how they are living the dream. As hard as you try, damage and tampering by clients, especially on covers and controls, however well meaning, can be costly in terms of ongoing maintenance. There are also huge health and safety responsibilities on regular water changes, safe water balance and generally demonstrating your duty of care. A relatively new set of guidance, namely HSG282, has split opinion with many specialist suppliers hot-footing it to play the compliance card. “It is recognised that hot tubs and spa pools can be a source of diseases caused by infectious agents including the organism that causes Legionnaires’ disease, primarily Legionella pneumpohila,” advises industry expert and PPG national sales manager, Jimmy Lamb. “There have been a number of outbreaks linked to hot tubs and spa pools in leisure centres, hotels, holiday homes, on cruise ships and on display,” he warns. There was limited information applicable to hot tubs/spas located in holiday lets before the HSG282 was produced. HSG stands for Health and Safety Guidance. One of the opening paragraphs in HSG282 reads: This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But, if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. In the event of an incident, Health and Safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance. Jimmy again: “I have noticed a number of hot tub supplier and manufacturers marketing their hot tubs to the holiday park/let market as ‘HSG282 Compliant’. “The use of the word compliant in my opinion could suggest that HSG282 is law but it is not legislation – it is guidance.” Suppliers, like Darlly Europe, the inventors of the Slipstream in-linefiltration system, believe the guidance is helpful to the holiday let sector. “Though we can understand why some owners and operators would view it as being a sales tool, given that, before its introduction, there was no specific regulatory framework covering the use of domestic type hot tubs in holiday let environments,” says Darlly 's Gil Gingell. “So, to at own risk pic 3go from a situation where there was perceived to be no restrictions to where there has to be a level of compliance will be seen by some to be bureaucratic and imposing unnecessary costs by those of that mind-set. “In the absence of any specific guidance, it was only a matter of time before a serious public health incident occurred which could have potentially devastating repercussions on the industry and public perception of it, as well as, of course, the unfortunate people affected, Gil Gingell." “It therefore benefits owners and operators, who will have the peace of mind, that if they follow the guidance - and are seen to be following it - they won't have any issues which could potentially harm their customers. Leading hot tub supplier Rotospa agrees: “The new guidance allows holiday parks to make an informed decision when choosing the right spa for their park, in order to ensure the product is compliant and fi t for purpose, whilst also meeting their own needs,” says Rotospa’s Charlotte Hotchin. “The document also puts emphasis on the supplier of the product to ensure a compliant and fi t for purpose product is supplied, to ultimately ensure the safety of its users. “When the spas are in this particular context, there is also an obligation for the supplier of the spas to provide training and instructions to its customers to ensure the customer is knowledgeable on the correct use of spas,” says Charlotte who adds: “Both of our holiday park specific spas are fi t for purpose and fully HSG282 compliant.” One of the country’s leading hot tub retailers, Gareth Jones of UK Leisure Living believes HSG282 is a positive move. “It is good we have some standards to work to and something to ensure a reasonable quality tub with a reasonable spec is being fitted in the holiday sector,” says Gareth.

CONFUSING MESSAGES
“However I feel some of the requests are not feasible for owners and puts lots of parks and cottage owners off ownership. “Also, I think there are some situations that are in between the guidelines at own risk pic 5and again provides confusion for owners.” Gareth says he and his UK Leisure Living team try to help their holiday let clients navigate through the maze of options and ensure, as much as reasonable practicable, safe hot tub ownership. “We have a variety of spas that we sell into the holiday market. All spas will come with an ozone, inline chemical feeder as well as some form of way of locking the control panel off. “We tick as many as we can, some clients want more depending on their site regulations. We fully communicate with the client the specifi cation and ensure they are compliant in spec and in running the spa afterwards.”Gareth warns: “Extra bookings don’t always equal extra profi t, as the operator needs to consider the management of the tub and factor this into the pay back. “However we feel a £5-6k hot tub, should pay for its self within one to three years with a good quality booking agent. “Some people charge an extra £50-£100 a booking for having the hot tub and then factor in a 25% up lift in bookings, and that gives you a great payback,” he estimates. If you speak to any online booking agent they will usually place a hot-tub in the top three options search or ticked. But rushing into a purchase, to tick the hot tub box, could be a mistake if operators do not follow the latest advice. Dan Johnson of the American brand, Marquis Spas, markets a fully compliant range of hot tubs for the holiday let market. Dan reveals: “Many of the smaller holiday park operators, I have spoken to, left me feeling they had no idea of the HSG282 guidance but felt that filling out a risk assessment exempted them somehow? “I think the big operators are paying attention, as they understand the power of the HSE and thus the importance of following guidelines – it is built into their management infrastructure,” Dan continues. “While some dealers have been specifying or retro-fi tting continuous feeders to outdated models, the bather capacity and water turn-over rates, will still make many hot tubs fall foul of HSG282,” explains Dan who calls on personal experiences. “I recently booked an October break for my family online. I was offered an inflatable hot tub more than once – how does that get anywhere near being compliant – the operator didn’t know, nor care.”

FIRST EXPERIENCE
Dan says: “Many clients report their first experience as coming from a weekend away with a hot tub – It really helps people overcome the lack of understanding of just how great you feel after bathing in hot tub and how it helps the modern ‘disconnected’ family reconnect,” Dan observes. “I am now encountering people who go away to a stunning location, only to find a woefully poor performing hot tub, compared to their own at home. “Trip Advisor, and the likes of, will, in my opinion, start to see a rise in moans about this,” he adds. “My point to holiday operators and letters, would be not to forget why you are buying a hot tub in the first place – for guests to enjoy!”

Hot News For Changeovers
at own risk pic 4As an industry standard, using conventional methods, a holiday hot tub, with a normal 3kw heater, will heat water on changeover at one degree an hour, that is up to 24 hours to get up to optimum temperatures. So take note of a ground-breaking new state-of-the-art product, called the Climacube that will heat a hot tub at seven to eight degrees per hour. The Climacube will heat hot tubs in around 4-5 hours from cold with a consumption of only 1KW per/hour with a COP of over 3.5 in minus temperatures. If I then told you the Climacube guarantees to cut energy costs by 70 to 80 percent and can be used to provide hot water and power to your holiday lodges themselves….yes, keep calm and form an orderly queue. RETRO-FITS Available as a stand-alone unit, the ClimaCube can be retro-fitted to all makes of hot tubs. It is also available as a pre-installed feature in a bespoke range of hot tubs by ClimaCube’s creator, Park Leisure Solutions. Launched at the start of the 2018 season; good news travels fast. Big names like Parkdean, Shorefield and Hoburne Holidays have been the first to snap up the new technology that already features on over 70 hot tubs at holiday parks in Poole, Norwich and Skegness.

Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 1166
www.parkleisuresolutions.co.uk

 

The Smart Cover Option

Smartop Upright with Brown Tweed DecoThe spa cover you have always wanted and the last you will ever need, the Smartop, by Leisure Concepts, combines strength and good looks as the first choice for the holiday let sector. An array of colours and finishes to choose from, the Smartop will not develop mildew, mould or odour over time. Its durable and rugged materials handle outdoor elements with ease yet is feather-light to manoeuvre. Custom-designs are available on large orders – so you can have your hot tub cover, company
Park Leisure Solutions
Tel. 01202 69 1166
www.parkleisuresolutions.co.uk

 

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Tomorrow’s World

tomorrows world

The holiday park swimming pool is one of the main features that keeps the visitors coming back and a potential ticking time bomb for operators legally obligated to show ‘duty of care’.

Tomorrow's World

Automatic control will dramatically reduce the risk of human error in the management of holiday park swimming pools advises Christina Connor…

Swimming pools are the marmite of the holiday park industry.

A liquid paradox – the swimming pool will be one of the main features that keep the visitors coming back.

On the other hand, if poorly maintained, that same swimming pool presents a ticking time bomb of problems for visitors, staff but fundamentally for the holiday park operator who is legally obligated to show ‘duty of care’.

“Ten years ago, many holiday parks operated on a wish and a prayer when it came to water treatment,” comments Tim Bareham of leading commercial swimming pool specialist, Cresta Leisure.

“In the majority of cases, water chemicals were dosed manually and the water balance tested with the most basic comparator, invariably intended for residential use.”

BALANCING ACT

Juggling swimmer numbers – or ‘bather load’ as it is known in the trade – presents a perpetual balancing act.

“It was very common to receive a visit or a call from a swimming pool or leisure manager at lunch time to collect vast quantities of chlorine reducer after he had tipped 40 litres of chlorine into the pool to remove the pea soup which had materialised during very heavy bather loads that morning,” recalls Tim.

“What a disaster! High chemical costs, customer complaints, bleached swimming costumes and degradation of the internal finishes of the pool.”

Forward thinking park operators with swimming pools should have automated not only the chemical dosing, but PAC (polyaluminium chloride) for continuous coagulation and Ultra Violet disinfection units to remove combined chorines and help prevent cryptosporidium.

“A holiday park with the smallest of pools will still be classified as a commercial pool,” advises Jimmy Lamb of the Pollet Pool Group, exclusive UK distributors of Bayrol automatic dosing equipment.

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HOLIDAY HOT TUBS

HOLIDAY HOT TUBS

Hot tubs can add value to holiday lets but operators need to look before they leap.

Hot tubs now regularly feature on the wish list of holiday makers looking to book a range of holiday accommodation from cabins, lodges and chalets to some of the more luxurious ‘glamping’ packages at holiday sites throughout the UK and Eire.

For holiday park operators, the addition of a hot tub is a tempting prospect. It makes a lodge stand apart from a comparable cabin at a competing location, while creating the option for a premium price level for ‘superior accommodation’ with hot tubs. It also adds to the kudos of the site generally as a ‘five star’ holiday venue.

A handful of the bigger holiday park operators have invested in ‘adapted’ portable tubs with remote commercial filtration and chemical dosing for their luxury lodges. These 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 use in theme parks and health spas.

But, over the past ten years, a vast majority of smaller holiday park operators and holiday let owners, have just purchased and operate what are in fact domestic hot tubs only designed for home, and not intended for commercial use.

WELCOME BOOST

While holiday park operators rush to meet the demands of prospective customers and a welcome boost to sales – hot tub suppliers should make clear about the health and safety considerations that come with every holiday hot tub installation – advising customers appropriately and not succumbing to lower standards for the lure of quick or bulk sale.

“Any pool of water being used by a paying customer would bring it under the category of commercial use. It is the case for hot tubs installed into a holiday lodge. They are there for commercial use,” advises Jimmy Lamb, UK Bayrol product manager for the Pollet Pool Group, and a leading expert in hot tub care.

“It’s not as straight forward to simply plonk a hot tub into any log cabin, chalet or holiday lodge and expect the hirer to get on with it. If the water is not maintained properly things can quickly go wrong,” warns Lamb.

“One risk is the fast dissipation of the disinfection residual as the holiday maker, his family and all of their friends embark on the inevitable hot tub party.

“Once the disinfectant is allowed to diminish, bacteria are allowed to multiply exposing the risk of cross contamination between bathers. Rashes and skin complaints will result in an unhappy holiday maker seeking some form of compensation but, we all know that other waterborne diseases can develop in poorly treated pools that can become a lot more serious than just a rash.”

And he stresses: “A legally-required risk assessment should highlight the requirement for operating procedures of such an installation to include regular draining, disinfecting of the tub, pipework and filter after each letting.”

The HPA (Health Protection Agency) has produced a booklet called ‘Management of Spa Pools’. This booklet offers advice on the installation of what is generally a product designed for domestic use being installed into a commercial facility. It states that if there are a number of premises sharing the pool then a commercial spa is required. The British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association also offer member fact sheets about these installations and have further advice within their standards.

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Shark Packs Bite

Shark Packs Bite

The Hayward Tiger Shark, available from the Pollet Pool Group, boasts industry-leading technologies to ensure pools are cleaned more efficiently but with less effort.
For a pool that sparkles from rim to rim, the Shark’s unique on-board computer and reinforced cartridge filter, enables the powerful pump to suck up dirt and debris while roving the bottom of the pool; the walls, inclines and steps.
The microprocessor control optimizes cleaning routine for each individual pool size and shape.
Completely automatic, with no installation or attachments, you simply drop the cleaner into the pool and turn it on.

Pollet Pool Group
Tel. +44 (0)1635 234038
sales@polletpoolgroup.co.uk
www.ppgeurope.com