The world is in a funny old place at the moment and even through rose-tinted glasses it can look a bit gloomy. And then a thought struck me…
Don’t mention the ‘B’ word.
When I sat down to write this the first thing that came into my mind was a list of things that I didn’t want to talk about. More than that, I wanted to avoid them like the plague. Near the top of the list was our relationship with Europe. You know, that thing that we’ve been talking about for over thirty months. Well, when I say ‘talking’, perhaps squabbling, arguing and vilifying each other would be slightly more accurate.
For two and a half years this subject has dominated the media to the point that even the slightest mention of it on the radio or the TV will now make me change sides even if that leaves me listening to The Archers or watching Pointless.
I don’t think I’m alone in this either. Even hard-liners on either side have moderated their views to, ‘Look, I really don’t care. Let’s at least just do something and get it over with.’ Probably the only people who are still passionate about it are the ones who are paid to be. Oh. Like David Davies and Dominic Raab. See what I mean.
Don’t use the ‘T’ word.
If ‘B’ is about our relationship with our friends across the Channel, ‘T’ is about the American President’s tenuous relationship with reality and his friends over the border, down Mexico way.
Just to remind ourselves, this is arguably the most powerful man in the world and our reaction to him is essentially nervous laughter. Or we simply turn away and try to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
When I was growing up, I can remember people complaining bitterly about those who attempted to ignore bad news, people who ‘stuck their head in the sand’. ‘Behaving like an Ostrich’, that was the phrase that was used. Well it looks like we all want to be Ostriches now, and with good reason.
And don’t talk about…
Global warming or plastic in the ocean. A stagnant economy and everyday sexism. Pollution, Putin, fake news and reality television.
I could carry on, but then the list would be longer than this article. You get the picture; the world is a difficult place full of tension, stress and anxiety. And the thought that struck me was that our industry sells an antidote to all that.
I know we are all aware of the benefits of pools, spas and saunas as places to relax and unwind but I think they stand repeating. We all have stresses in our busy and hectic lives – personal ones and those that affect all of us – and it is so easy to forget just how meditative it is to do ten or twenty laps in a crystal clear pool, how calming it is to sit in the quiet of a hot sauna or laugh with family and friends in the jets and bubbles of a hot tub.
I can’t think of a time where more people were more in need of the benefits that our industry can bestow.
Pools, saunas, spas and surveys.
The results of the Wet Leisure Survey will be shared with everyone at SPATEX and I think it’s safe to assume that Brexit (Damn, I used the ‘B’ word.) will be seen as one of the biggest challenges businesses have to face this coming year.
I also think it’s a fair bet that the weather, the economy and the internet will be the three top things that people feel have had an influence on their business in the last year. They always are.
And I think that is an important thing to remember. Listening to and looking at the stories, views and opinions that the media pushes towards us every single day, it’s easy to feel that we are facing a uniquely challenging time with problems that are nigh on impossible to overcome. But if you think about your day-to-day experience does that ring true? If you look at last year’s sales figures, does it look true?
There is always a difference between perception and reality. In a recession, a lack of consumer confidence is more of an influence than a lack of consumer cash. We are living through events that we are told are negative or threatening but in all likelihood they will have less of an impact on our businesses than the state of the weather next June.
Always look on the bright side of life.
I’m not suggesting that we all wear rose tinted glasses, that we behave like Ostriches and ignore real problems, but I am suggesting the we are in a good business and that business is good. That what we sell benefits our customers in a host of different ways at a time when those benefits are exactly what they need and are looking for.
See, I told you; thinking about pools, spas and saunas has cheered you up already.