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By Gary Thill, PSP/Deck Expo 360 News
Post-pandemic, the staycation is here to stay. Forced to hole up in their homes, many people developed a new appreciation for their outdoor spaces. And for pool and spa pros that has produced a bonanza of business.
Pool builders say the surge in requests is unlike anything they have seen—and national statistics bear that out. According to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 2020 saw historic growth for the industry—up 24%. And it appears to be continuing into 2021.
“Our members are telling us that they are contracted out well into 2022,” Janay Rickwalder, a VP for the alliance, said in the same article. “Calls from prospective customers increased in volume significantly [last year]—from 150 to 700-plus calls per week.”
The story is the same nationwide:
“This is the biggest demand we’ve ever seen for our products in recent memory,” said Randy Budd, owner of Budd’s Pools & Spas in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s unbelievable.”
But along with a glut of new business, many pool builders are discovering that their customer’s expectations have changed as well. No longer are simple kidney or rectangle pools enough. Today’s staycation-focused consumers want to feel like they’re living in a resort in their own homes. In short, it’s all about the backyard experience.
According to a January 2021 survey conducted by the International Casual Furnishings Association, people are doing more relaxing, grilling, gardening, exercising, dining, playing with pets and children and entertaining outside.
Among the findings: Americans do not just want their decks, patios and porches to be aesthetically pleasing showpieces, they want to get real use out of them. Over half of Americans (53%) want to create enjoyable and functional spaces. Other top reasons include the ability to entertain (36%) and to create a private retreat (34%). Only a quarter want to upgrade their outdoor spaces to add value to their homes (25%).
Pool and spa pros who understand this new mentality stand to profit handsomely. But thinking in this new backyard way may not come naturally to pool and spa pros. That’s why it’s so helpful to look to our sister industry—commercial pools.
Hotels, waterparks and resorts have been creating the kind of backyard experience today’s customers demand for years. And there’s no better place to see the latest trends—and get inspiration for your customers— than the 2021 Aquatics International Dream Designs. From the sophisticated luxury of the Omni Las Colinas of Irving, Texas to the fun theme-park-style of the Tidal Cove Waterpark of Aventura, Florida. there’s something for every taste and budget.
So take some time to scroll through the images of these amazing sister-industry pool and spa creations—and get ready to want to renovate your own backyard!