The sauna market is becoming increasingly lucrative for the wet leisure industry but how can you increase that revenue stream?
Saunas can do wonders for your bottom line.
The sauna market has been a gradually growing one in the UK for many years and as more and more people become familiar with their benefits, it seems likely that the market will reach a tipping point and their popularity will see a dramatic upsurge.
The UK population is becoming more and more health conscious and saunas are uniquely positioned to take advantage of that.
Consider this; pools are perhaps 50% about health and 50% about fun and lifestyle. Hot tubs and spas, even with the increased emphasis on hydrotherapy, are perhaps 60/40 on the health/lifestyle divide. But the motivations for buying and the reasons for owning a sauna are probably over 80% based on their health-giving properties.
The sauna heritage goes back far, far beyond spas and in terms of private ownership goes back beyond the swimming pool.
It’s true that for many years they have been seen as a somewhat niche product and not all the publicity that they have attracted has been positive – or even deserved – but that is definitely changing.
Today’s saunas match today’s market.
With an increase in spa hotels, health and fitness centres and health clubs and gyms, more and more people have experienced the feeling of a sauna bathing session.
Added to that is the fact that the sauna manufacturing industry have changed their products to keep in step with modern expectations.
A sauna of old was not that much more than an insulated wooden box with benches and a heater. The sauna bathing experience was just fine but there was little in the sauna design to catch the imagination of the customer.
Today’s saunas are more akin to a luxurious piece of bathroom furniture. They are designed with curves, glass panels, lighting features and an attention to detail that makes them a feature in even the most stylish of homes.
At the same time, saunas have put their more overtly masculine image to one side. Women are key decision makers when it comes to buying products that are focussed on health and wellbeing and the modern sauna reflects that.
Not only is the design more attractive but also the sauna itself is often designed to run at a lower temperature and perhaps with a higher humidity, which is much more appealing to women.
Saunas, ‘Soft Saunas’ and steam showers are products that women see and say, ‘I want…’.
So how do you make the most of this growing opportunity?
Look the part.
Businesses in the pool or spa industry have begun to explore the sauna market but all too often this has simply been a question of putting one or two saunas at the back of their showrooms.
Of course, like most business opportunities, the more effort you put in and the more investment that is put in, the greater the outcome.
Saunas are, as we have said, visually very appealing. Lit from within, they exude a Scandinavian sense of design and clean, healthy living.
Four or five saunas in a showroom make an impressive display, show your commitment to sauna and most importantly fit in with the way that women like to shop. Women like to browse and compare and a range of saunas leads them down the route of thinking, or saying, ‘Oh, I like this one more than the others.’ Which is the beginning of a sale.
Act the part.
People who regularly use a sauna become almost evangelical about the benefits and how good a sauna bathing session makes them feel.
So make sure that you and your sales staffs use a sauna regularly.
Apart from the health giving benefits to yourselves, it will turn a ‘sales pitch’ into a personal story about how sauna has benefitted your own lives and what could possibly be more motivating than that.
Know your market.
The Internet is full of stories about the health giving properties of sauna and it must be said that many of these are connected to Infrared saunas and the claims often seem too good to be true.
There is a lot of marketing effort put behind Infrared saunas and you may choose to carry one in the range that you stock, however most people who experience the two styles of sauna will ultimately choose a traditional sauna.
There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is that IR saunas have to be dry and one of the great sauna pleasures is to splash water on the hot coals and experience the burst of steam that ensues, either with or without aromatic oils.
As there are in the spa market, there are companies selling products cheaply online however, because the sauna is so based in health and wellbeing, people are less motivated by saving a few pounds and more keen to see that the investment that they are making is the best possible one and that they are choosing a quality product.
Know your marketing.
Saunas and hot tubs have a lot in common and can be sold to very similar customers but the marketing messages are subtly different.
Sauna customers appear to be less interested in price and more focussed on the health benefits. The recreation and ‘family time’ aspects of spa ownership apply much less to sauna.
Knowing about the ‘rituals’ and heritage of sauna bathing and sharing that knowledge with customers will allow them to trust you as an expert in the field.
Have a firm grasp of the very real health benefits of sauna bathing and share that knowledge too.
Women tend to take a slightly longer journey from enquiry to sale than men do and they resent the ‘hard sell’ much more. Women are also much more likely to ask the opinions of their friends and others than men are and so, if you use social media, the testimonials and recommendations of other satisfied customers will be doubly important.