At Your Own Risk
The 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 go 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.
“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 and 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.”
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
As 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
The Smart Cover Option
The 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