What does SPATEX, the Wet Leisure Survey and German scientists have in common?

We are constantly trying to tell the future, aren’t we? But the future is made up of so many different things that the picture is often unclear. Well, the three sources above seem to agree on something.

Let’s start with SPATEX.

First of all, I enjoyed SPATEX this year. I liked the venue, I thought it was easy to get to and I thought it was well attended.

Our stand was busy, which is always good, but can sometimes mean that I don’t get a chance to walk around the whole show. This year I did, and I was impressed.

It seems that our industry is embracing new technology, new materials and new products. It seems in particular that we have realised the importance of energy saving products to our customers and the constantly growing interest in ways and means to make pools and spas more eco-friendly.

On our own stand we certainly had a lot of interest in our Triogen UV systems, EVA Optic LED’s and our own Custom Control Ppanels.

The Wet Leisure Survey picked all of these product categories up as areas of rapidly growing interest for our customers.

But that isn’t the thing that SPATEX and the survey have in common. I’m coming to that.

In talking to new contacts and old friends, both on our stand and around the show in general, I was impressed by the level of confidence and optimism that everyone was showing.

Of course there is always a temptation to ‘talk it up’ at these sort of events, but I found myself talking to people with full order books and every confidence in seeing them stay that way.

And that is the thing that my three, strange bedfellows in the beginning of this newsletter have in common.

They all seem to think that we are going to have a good season in 2014.

What does the survey have to say?

Copies of the Wet Leisure Survey Report were free to collect at a couple of places at SPATEX and, by now, you should also have received a copy in the post.

As I’m sure you know, the survey looks at a wide range of data and information about our industry but perhaps one of the most interesting areas is the one concerned with business expectations and the reality of the last year’s trading.

Well, 2013, according to the report, was a pretty good year. In fact, in the majority of cases, it exceeded expectations.

Of course, if you take a certain point of view, there is a reason for that.

2013 had the sunniest summer season since 2006 and the driest since 2003. We often talk as if very little makes as much difference to our industry as the weather, but the summer of last year – particularly compared to the three previous years – does seem to support that.

Read the survey and see if you agree.

Well, the survey also reflects the levels of confidence for the year ahead that I saw at SPATEX. Almost 85% of respondents to the survey think that 2014 will be at least an ‘OK’ year; 55% think it will be good or very good.

Which presumably means that they are expecting good weather in the summer. Is that a safe bet? After the wettest winter since records began in 1910?

El Niño to the rescue.

Perhaps it is.

German meteorological scientists have published a report saying that they are 75% certain that 2014 will be the hottest summer on record.

Their findings are based on studying El Niño; the ocean currents and climate pattern that can affect our weather.

And so, that is what connects those first three things.

The exhibitors and attendees at SPATEX are looking forward to a good year. The Wet Leisure Survey Report shows a clear link between good weather and a good season and the German scientists give us a 75% chance for optimism.

Of course, we British do like something to complain about and perhaps the forecast gives us an opportunity for that as well.

Just imagine if, hard on the heels of the wettest winter for over 100 years, we had a hosepipe ban!

Over 19 inches of rain.

That is roughly how much rain fell on the UK between 1 December 2013 and 19 February 2014.

And it isn’t over yet. Winter has about another 3 weeks left to run and the rain is still falling.

That amount of rain can do serious damage to an outdoor pool.

It’s safe to assume that the pool’s owner will notice if their plant room is flooded and give you a call to help sort out any problems there, but the damage caused by a rising water table may be harder for the lay man to spot.

If there has been flooding in your area or there is reason to believe that the water table has risen significantly, it might be an idea to get in touch with your customers and arrange to go and inspect their pool.

If there is any damage and there is repair work that needs to be done, then it’s an ideal time to suggest some of the retrofit options that can make a client’s pool more economical to run or more enjoyable to own.

We have put together a brochure containing a range of products that might be worth offering to your clients and that Retrofit Pool Products brochure is available for you to download. As you can see, it shows all the potential benefits from the customers point of view and, if you would like us to print out copies with your logo on the front then just contact us and we can talk about making that happen.

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

Spring is just around the corner.

So I’ll join you in keeping my fingers crossed for a good summer.

On the other hand, I know that relying on the weather here in Britain has never been the most successful plan and so we’ll be looking for every opportunity to ‘weather proof’ our business and I suggest that you do the same.