The weather report or the Wet Leisure Survey?

Looking forward to next year, both of these two things are going to be important for managing your business but to be honest, you can only really influence one of them.

The great, British obsession.

The British are obsessed with the weather. It’s a national trait that we are renowned for. (And looking back at what I have written about in this year’s newsletters, I’m no exception to that rule.)

We talk about the weather, we blame the weather and we reminisce about all the times that the weather used to be better.

To be fair, it is perhaps because we seem to have so much of it. Weather, that is. Just a few months ago we were enjoying the best summer for 7 years and just a few days ago we were buffeted by winds as high as 90mph.

You might put the cause down to global warming, climate change or increased sunspot activity; one thing is undeniable, unpredictable and ‘extreme’ weather are what we have experienced and what it seems likely that we will continue to experience for the next few years at least.

And that is no climate to run a weather dependant business in.

If we can’t predict the weather, what can we do?

Just as the weather changes, all businesses change too.

Trends, fashions, the economy; these things will affect your business in ways that are outside your control.

We have seen consumers taking things into their own hands in order to protect their enjoyment of wet leisure from being rained on. Pools have gone down into basements and saunas have moved into the bathroom. Spas take shelter beneath umbrellas and gazebos.

The challenge to running a growing and successful business is to see which trends to follow and which ones to avoid.

For that you need information, knowledge about what other businesses in our industry are doing, how they feel about the year ahead compared to the ones gone by.

Without that information, it’s like trying to forecast the countries weather by looking out of your own front door. It can’t be done; you need a bigger picture.

Which brings me to this year’s Wet Leisure Industry Survey.

“I look forward to reading the results and seeing how my views compare with others in the industry.”

That was a quote from last year’s survey and it sums up exactly how we wanted people to feel.

Everyone in our industry gets the benefits of the survey – we distribute a printed report at SPATEX or you can download a version – so it would be great if everyone contributed by simply filling in the questionnaire.

The questions are designed to give an overall picture of the wet leisure industry and when the results are compared to previous years, as they are in the report, you can see market trends as well as getting a sense of how your own business is performing compared to the industry as a whole.

It also gives you a chance to speak out and be heard by the whole industry as the report includes quotes that capture a mood or illustrate a point of view.

Your words of wisdom won’t make you famous however, as all the survey forms are anonymous.

Looking in the rear-view mirror.

Having asked you for your experiences of 2013, it feels only fair that I share something about the year here at Golden Coast.

I think the year began for me at SPATEX where I picked up a real feeling of optimism and enthusiasm in the industry for the year ahead that I hope has proven to be justified for everyone. (I guess the survey will tell us.)

I suppose the other major event for us at the start of the year was signing the deal with Sundance Spas to become their sole distributor in the UK. We have certainly been pleased with that decision and continue to be impressed with their product and the company.

We have also formed new partnerships with Darlly, Triogen and EVA Optic.

The thing about products though, is that they are only of value if they appeal to your customers and answer their needs.

To that end, we have started to look at trends in the market and put together product ranges that appeal to your customers in today’s world. The first one of these is our Retrofit Pool range that makes it easy for an existing pool owner to see – from a dedicated brochure that can be branded with your own business logo and details – how they could improve the experience of owning a pool in any number of ways.

If that idea appeals to you, just contact us and we can explain in more detail.

Other ranges are in the pipeline and will be launched next year.

So we were keeping our head down and our chin up as we approached the middle of the year and guess what, we had the longest unbroken spell of good weather that the UK had seen since 1976.

We had a proper season. We were ready to make the most of it and we did. Golden Coast is one of a few of the larger companies in the wet leisure industry that has actually grown their business this year.

So, a big ‘thank you’ to you, and indeed all our customers.

I’m proud of our achievement and we are all looking forward to next year.

I don’t know what the weather will bring, but I know we aren’t going to rely on it. I don’t know what the Wet Leisure Survey report will say, but I know it’s going to be worth studying.

Anyway, now is the time of year to look back on the past and plan for the future. I wish you well with that and if there is any way we can help you and your business, please just ask.