Could you use some help getting your spa business to run more efficiently? What about coming up with new ideas to improve profitability? The information is out there, but it’s a lot of work to find it, or wait for it to be delivered to your mailbox. Now that critical trade knowledge and small business information are compiled for you in one place.
Spa Business Trade Publications
Industries are often rich with trade resources aimed at supporting business ownership, management, and operation. Since you’re reading this article, chances are you’re somewhat familiar with trade publications. This popular type of resource includes articles that aim to entertain or educate the reader, sell a product (via advertising and/or sponsored content), or promote a particular viewpoint. According to thebalance.com, “People consider trade magazines to be where they go to talk shop, see who’s who, learn who’s new, and find out what’s new.” And with the digital age, the information shared in these resources is more accessible than ever.
We’d like to highlight for you the most relevant resources available to hot tub professionals. Each publication offers useful info for growing your businesses, whether it’s reporting news, highlighting dealer success, identifying trends, or offering valuable tips and tools for success. So here’s a rundown of each trade publication and how they might serve you and your spa business. The descriptions provided are taken directly from each publication’s website, where you can of course find out more.
Description: SpaRetailer is the definitive trade magazine for the hot tub industry and is the only publication dedicated 100% to the editorial needs of hot tub professionals. Launched in 2007, SR is committed exclusively to reporting vital market research and practical tips to aid spa retailers in the day-to-day operation of their businesses. Ranging from detailed surveys, manufacturer comparisons, and store-maintenance tips to top-level marketing and financial advice, SpaRetailer is the one-stop destination for staying informed and competitive in the hot tub market (Source: sparetailer.com).
What you’ll find: Articles, paid advertising
Publisher: Bigfish, the industry leader in trade magazines for business owners in the luxury leisure market. In the 17 years since its inception, Bigfish has expanded to comprise a stable of four magazines: SpaRetailer, Spasearch, Poolsearch, and PoolPro. In 2006, Bigfish launched TradeCertified, the only independent endorsement program in the pool and spa industry. Annual subscriptions include six bi-monthly mailed editions, six digital editions, and 12-month subscriber access to sparetailer.com (Source: sparetailer.com).
Subscription to Digital: Free
Subscription to Print: $39 per year or $69 for 2 years
Description: AQUA Magazine is the top resource for retailers, builders, and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Every month, thousands of spa and pool professionals turn to the online and print pages of AQUA for its valuable mix of news, trend, and product coverage. Each issue features product coverage, industry news, business advice, reader profiles, and more! In addition to monthly publications, a special Buyers’ Guide is available each December (Source: aquamagazine.com).
What you’ll find: Articles, paid advertising, sponsored content
Publisher: Aqua Magazine. Also teams with APSP as its preferred media partner (Source: aquamagazine.com).
Subscription to Digital and Print: Free to qualified professionals in the spa and pool industry
Pool & Spa News
Description: Trends, news, products, design, and business strategies for pool and spa professionals. Pool & Spa News serves the interests of builders, retailers and service techs who build, sell, service, and support the use of pools, spas, and related recreational facilities. The brand’s content and editorial scope include business know-how as well as product and technical information that professionals in the pool and spa industry need in order to make smart decisions that will shape their business success. Pool & Spa News is published 20 times a year (Source: poolspanews.com).
Publisher: Hanley Wood is the premier company serving the information, media, and marketing needs of the residential, commercial design, and construction industry and is a hub of business intelligence and data-driven insights (Source: poolspanews.com).
What you’ll find: Articles, paid advertising, sponsored content (special advertising sections)
Subscription to Digital and Print: Free to those who qualify
General Small Business Resources
The US Small Business Association provides online resources for starting and managing a business. Content includes guides, articles, and blogs covering a range of initial and ongoing business development activities. Other useful interactive tools are also available, such as:
- Create A Business Plan, which guides individuals step-by-step through the process of creating a basic business plan.
- LINC, an online referral tool that connects small business borrowers with participating SBA Lenders. Prospective borrowers complete a short online questionnaire. The responses to that questionnaire are forwarded to local participating SBA Lenders. If lenders are interested in the referral, LINC connects them with the potential borrower.
- SBA’s website also houses an online Learning Center with over 50 short courses covering topics related to business start-up, growth strategies, managing operations, and financing. Prospective and new business owners sometimes go through learning modules to prepare for and maximize the impact of counseling sessions and classroom training with SBA resource partner organizations.
OPEN Forum by American Express
American Express’s OPEN Forum is an online business-to-business networking and informational website designed to help grow businesses. The “content hub” is filled with expert advice for small business owners about marketing, hiring, and growth success. You can even send in questions that the experts or the OPEN Forum community can answer. Specific topics include Planning for Growth, Managing Money, Getting Customers, and Building Your Team.
National Retailer Federation
The National Retailer Federation offers original content and member-submitted news through its Retail Library, Retail Insight Center, and STORES Magazine. Library resources include articles, reports, webinars, and instructional videos for retail managers/owners. The Retail Insight Center is an easy-to-use tool for exploring data-supported consumer and industry data. And the STORES Magazine services as an online magazine for the organization that reports relevant retailing news and reports to help you stay on top of retail industry trends.
American Marketing Association
The American Marketing Association’s website hosts Informational and news articles on core marketing topics shared by AMA partners or written for AMA by industry experts. Best practice articles cover fundamentals of interactive marketing, advertising, brand management, marketing strategy, and customer relations. They aim to provide overviews of essential concepts and tips for applying this knowledge to achieve marketing success. Resources offered here also include a basic marketing toolkit with interactive tools, templates, and guides, along with videos and webcasts that provide the latest information on branding, strategy, social media, research, and communications.
Online Pool and Hot Tub Forums
What’s the Best Hot Tub
As part of What’s the Best Buying Guides, What’s the Best Hot Tub Forum strives to help people make better decisions when purchasing a spa. The goal of What’s the Best Hot Tub is to provide consumers with the basic information they’ll need in a way that is easy to understand. The forum they host is for the community of hot tub experts, technicians, retailers, and consumers answering other consumer questions pre-and post-purchase. This is not a sales platform but allows retailers to serve as helpful resources, demonstrating knowledge and learning from other experts, while building trust with potential hot tub customers.
Pool Spa Forum
PoolSpaForum.com is another platform for user-generated questions and answers within the pool and hot tub community. The site organizes content based on the following discussion boards: Portable Hot Tubs & Spas Topics, All Swimming Pool Types (inground, fiberglass, vinyl liner, and aboveground), Swim Spas and Exercise Pools, and Pool/Spa Water Care. This would be another place to position yourself as an authority on hot tubs and prove your willingness to help inform potential customers.
It doesn’t matter how many resources you have. If you don’t know how to use them, they will never be enough.
While this list may not be exhaustive (given the Internet’s ever-expanding depths), it hopefully offers enough insight into how each has something to offer the hot tub professional. Especially those motivated to build their business and boost their bottom line. And remember… “It doesn’t matter how many resources you have. If you don’t know how to use them, they will never be enough.”
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