Dispelling the illusion of the “hot tub & swim spa show”
August 8, 2019 – If you’re in the market for a hot tub, you may have noticed an increase in traveling shows or expos that seem to be popping up regularly on weekends here in our area. They have in-your-face advertising touting amazing deals for “one weekend only!”.
If you look deeper at the majority of these shows, you’ll find they’re nothing more than an attempt to mislead the consumer into buying the hype and hopefully a hot tub. They normally advertise these as “national events” and imply all major manufacturers are present.
What really goes on? A team arrives in town—likely with no local way to support you and your hot tub after they’re gone. They are staffed by high pressure “show teams” who pack up and disappear, off to the next town on the circuit. Here are some truths about traveling shows.
- First, anyone touting that all major manufacturers are there is not being truthful from the very start. The world’s number one selling hot tub brand is Hot Spring Spas, with well over 1 million hot tubs sold. Guess who offers that brand exclusively in our market? Olympic Hot Tub—for 37 years. If Hot Spring is not there (and they never will be), the deception has already begun.
- Advertising that there is a battle amongst brands? Another marketing tactic, and nothing more. In truth, these shows are simply put on by a hot tub company in our market that is not even locally owned any longer. The “battle” is between how many hot tubs, barbecues, swim spas and other products they may choose to bring to the tent get sold. If it’s a fight amongst themselves, I would hazard a guess the only real loser could possibly be the folks who fall for this tactic.
- In my years in this industry, I’ve heard over and over from customers how difficult it was to decide on a hot tub going through endless aisles of displays with no place to retreat and get some peace and quiet to make an informed decision. You get this wonderful processing time when you visit one of our showrooms. Or, better yet, when we come to your home for an in-home consultation and let you ask questions and gain confidence you’re making the right decision. No service like this is offered at a traveling show.
- You can sit in a tub dry at a show—and that’s it. It’s not how hot tubs were designed to be used, and not necessarily the only way you should be deciding on the tub that’s right for you. At Olympic, we originated the idea of test soaking and “trying before buying”. Most of our showrooms have at least 5-10 tubs full of water. This lets you in on a lot of details traveling shows dread you discover: how quiet the tub is, how hard theirs may be to keep clean, what the water will smell and feel like…that’s just the start!
- Hot Spring—and only Hot Spring—has an integrated salt system designed to work in concert with the tub’s filtration and control systems. Anyone else who tells you they have a salt system available “just like Hot Spring” or “just like Olympic”? Walk away!!
- One thing you’ll surely enjoy at a show like this: high pressure sales tactics. If you don’t buy today? They can’t help you further, because they work on commission. You’ll be pressured into buying what’s on hand, because orders are frowned upon—and could take months to finally get delivered. If there’s a slogan you can believe at a traveling show, it would be “Sell today, gone tomorrow!”
- Expos claim big discounts—that are often times just their regular prices. Big markups and big markdowns to make things look like incredible deals rarely are. Sometimes expo or show prices are higher than regular prices to help cover show expenses and sales team overhead.
- Who helps you once they’re gone?? You need local support and service. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from a customer that says they “made a mistake and bought this hot tub from one of those traveling shows, and now I’m stuck”. No one to answer your questions, no one to help you with water care, no one to provide service when needed. Your hot tub should help relax you, not stress you out.
- Speaking of service: Most folks do not realize that, in the State of Washington, you must have service techs that are licensed electricians do the service work on your hot tub. How is a traveling show—with no local service or support—going to adhere to this mandate? (A legal one, I might add.) Answer? (Well…you know the answer!)
I could give you a list of questions to ask if you choose to go to one of these shows. BUT—The questions will only reinforce the reasons I listed above why you should not buy from one of them.
Forewarned is forearmed! I can promise you this: You’ll be grateful you bought from a local company over a traveling show or expo. Parking lots are for cars, fairgrounds are for the fair. They are not the right place to hope for a great hot tub at a great price with great service from a solid reputable local company.
Visit one of our six showrooms. You’ll be glad you did!
Author: Don Riling
Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 27 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through water.