I’ve just had an industry revelation.

I saw something at SPATEX that absolutely delighted me. It wasn’t one of the many new products or even one of the new exhibitors. It wasn’t on a stand at all.

It was something I picked up while walking around the show and I’ve brought back home with me.

The best thing that SPATEX 2013 exhibited was a feeling of confidence.

Every show will leave you with particular memories; a great new product or an important new contact.

But they also leave you with something else; they leave you with a ‘general impression’ and that can sometimes be the most important thing.

Yes, it would have been nice if Brighton had more attendees, but the impression that I got from the people who were there was a positive one. Last year people were hoping that 2012 was going to be a better year, hoping for a better summer and a better business climate.

This year a lot of the people I spoke to were talking about work and projects that they already had lined up, new leads to be followed up on and new business to quote for.

And that was good to hear. It really was.

Recessions are all about ‘credit crunch’ and ‘money supply’ and all those other hard-to-understand economic things but they are also about confidence – or rather a lack of it; business confidence and consumer confidence.

And as we all know, confidence is sometimes easy to loose and takes a long time to build back up.

I’m not suggesting that we are out of the woods yet, but there are certainly signs that things are getting better. What are we all going to do to make the most of it?

Of course, we didn’t just take things away from SPATEX, we took some stuff with us too and one of those boxes contained a few hundred copies of our Wet Leisure Industry Survey 2013 Results document.

Have you read it yet?

“Well done for putting together this initiative I look forward to reading the results and seeing how my views compare with others in the industry.”

That quote is at the back of the 2013 Survey Results document and, as luck would have it, it pretty much sums up the feedback that we received on handing copies out.

There was an increase of over 40% in the number of businesses who responded to the survey questionnaires this year and that makes the results that bit more meaningful, the picture they paint that bit more detailed.

I won’t spoil the story by giving away too many details here. Why don’t you download the Wet Leisure Industry Survey 2013 Results and see for yourself what the industry is saying, but I will share one surprise.

The levels of business confidence reported in the survey from all sectors – pool, spa and sauna – aren’t that high but the reported sales figures are up on last year.

And that takes us back to the truth about business confidence that I touched on earlier. Things have to be better for a little while before people believe that they are better and might actually stay better.

But that doesn’t mean we can relax.

“Issues that have challenged us for the past few years are likely to stay a while longer. We will have to modify the way we do business to survive and develop into the future.”

That quote is on the back cover of the document and I believe it makes a very important point.

Tough times force people to change, to shake off old habits and look harder at what they do and how they do it.

Which brings me to my next point.

Its time to come in to the warm.

One of the industry wide changes that the survey pointed to was that more and more businesses are extending the sectors that they do business in.

That is, people aren’t just selling pools or limiting themselves to spas, they are active in all areas of the wet leisure industry and that means that more people are offering saunas to their customers.

In fact, sauna was one of the most talked about product lines at SPATEX.

The sauna industry is one that has seen a lot of changes over recent years and it is quite likely that, unless you are involved with saunas, you might have an out-of-date view of the modern sauna.

Infra-red saunas started the change a few years ago but a little more recently, saunas have really caught up with consumers’ lifestyles and demands.

The modern sauna is a good-looking piece of bathroom furniture, it might include steam and it might run at a lower, softer temperature than the Finnish sauna of old. Saunas have become more feminine, and we all know who holds the purse strings in so many houses and families.

Because of these changes in the market and the potential for growth that we see here, we have written and produced a Sauna eBook that is available for you to download for free and that includes pretty much everything you would need to know to see if expanding into the sauna market might be right for your business.

And while we are on the subject of change…

In February this year, we – Golden Coast – brought our relationship with Marquis Spas to an end and became the UK distributor of Sundance Spas.

Change isn’t easy.

We had had a long and happy relationship with Marquis Spas, we’d made some good friends there and we shall have some good memories.

Sometimes change is the right thing to do.

Sundance Spas had a good name in our industry and rightly so. In the last few years they haven’t been resting on their laurels, they have been innovating and keeping their well deserved place as the premium brand for people who realise the importance of investing in health, relaxation and hydrotherapy.

Sundance hold 33 patents in the US relating to hot tub technology from jets to waterfalls.

Their product and positioning is right for this market now and we are looking forward to a bright and successful future with them.