The growing popularity of hot tubs could pump an extra £27 million into the North Wales economy over the next decade.
North Wales Tourism, which champions the interests of the region’s tourism and hospitality sector, says an increasing number of holiday cottage owners are seeing that bubbling spas are a must-have feature to boost their bookings.
UK Leisure Living – part of the multi award winning Carbon Zero Group based in St Asaph – is rapidly cornering the region’s hot tub market after putting in around 100 of them in just the past year.
Managing Director Gareth Jones says a good proportion of these have been fitted at holiday cottages like the two owned by David and Rachael Vasmer in the countryside just outside Pwllglas, near Ruthin, in Denbighshire which have already seen an increase in bookings as a direct result of having the tubs.
Gareth reckons that based on his experience of how much extra cash a tub can bring in over its 10-year lifespan and the number of them his company will install in the next decade, an extra £27 million could be generated for the North Wales tourist accommodation sector.
The value of hot tubs has also been seen by Deborah Nettleton, from North Wales Tourism, of which UK Leisure Living is a member.
She said: “Hot tubs are becoming increasingly popular and we often have holiday makers asking specifically about cottages which have them.
“After asking a few of our members for their feedback they confirmed that having a hot tub has definitely increased their bookings.
“In fact, those who have more than one unit found that the unit with the hot tub was the most requested and they told us that when they can afford it they will be adding this luxury item to all their units.
“Today’s visitors’ perception is to expect a hot tub as a standard piece of garden furniture.”
Gareth said: “Since we set up UK Leisure Living just over a year ago and it began operating from its base in Mochdre there’s been massive demand for our high quality hot tubs.
“We’ve fitted nearly 150 so far and a good proportion of these have been at holiday cottages across North Wales. This is an area of expertise for us and it’s a huge part of our business going forward.
“People coming to stay in the region now see them as a major part of the holiday experience, which means they can increase occupancy rates by an average 60 to 85 per cent a year.
“This means they are an investment for cottage owners who can break even on their outlay in the first year.
“Based on the fact a hot tub can generate upwards of £45,000 in extra lettings revenue over a 10-year lifespan and the rate at which we are currently fitting them, the tubs could easily pump a total of around £27m into the North Wales accommodation economy.
Gareth added: “We’ve had tremendous feedback from holiday cottage owners we’ve done installations for.
“One said that since having the tub their bookings had gone through the roof and in three days they were full for the entire summer.
“Another owner told us the tub had made a huge difference to their lettings and that they were now also fully booked.”
Among the owners reporting a jump in business since having two hot tubs installed by Gareth’s company are David and Rachael Vasmer who over the past few years have spent a small fortune on stylishly renovating their two holiday cottages overlooking the Vale of Clwyd not far from Pwllglas.
The largest of them, named Y Beudy, was once a cowshed and now includes seven bedrooms over three floors which can accommodate up to 14 people.
Next door is the smaller Ysgubor property, a former barn which on its two floors offers three bedrooms capable of sleeping up to five people.
David said: “As we were designing the two properties we took a look at what would make them more attractive to customers and decided we had to have hot tubs as part of the offer.
“Letting agents like the one we use all recommend fitting them as they add to the appeal of a property. In this market people are looking for something that’s a little more upmarket and that’s what we’re providing.”
He added: “We had two tubs fitted by UK Leisure Living – one outside each property – and we’ve built wooden canopies over both of them so they can be used in all weathers.
“Since we started letting in March we’ve already had evidence that the tubs are a key selling point.
“One lady who brought a large family group of 14 people to stay in Y Beudy said they’d definitely booked it because of the hot tub outside.
“I think the tubs, which are mentioned prominently in our advertising, are definitely helping with lettings and we’re now booked solid all the way through until September.
“We used UK Leisure Living because they came recommended and they’ve done a very good job for us. I’m very satisfied with the installation.”
Gareth said the two tubs installed for David and Rachael are both high-end Aria models hand made by Aspen in America of which UK Leisure Living is the official North Wales supplier and installer working with Elite Spas in Yeovil.
Each is fully insulated and holds 1,700 litres of water which is kept at a comfortable temperature of about 37C. They have in-line chemical dispensers essential for holiday cottages and keeping the water sanitised and safe.
“They also include an insulated retractable cover because with our company’s `green’ background we wanted them to be as energy efficient as possible without compromising on quality,” he explained.
UK Leisure Living, based in a modern 1,000 square foot unit on the Old Creamery business park in Station Road, Mochdre, is the latest venture by the Carbon Zero Group which already runs businesses across a number of sectors, including energy conservation, home improvements, leisure and training.