International Pool Spa Patio Expo Recap
We're back from the International Pool Spa Patio Expo, held in Las Vegas, Nevada and sponsored by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. Combined with the Deck Expo, sponsored by NADRA, the expo brought together manufacturers, professionals, builders, suppliers, and technologists all committed to improving outdoor experiences for consumers in North America.
If there was a theme this year, it might best be summed up as "Optimism in the Face of Inflation." There's no doubt that the pandemic and associated lockdowns presented both tremendous opportunities and challenges for our industry. During the keynote, Hayward Holdings North America President Rick Roetken acknowledged that manufacturers have held off higher costs as much as they could. Fellow panelist and President at Heritage Matt McDermott, is looking forward to predictability and a "more normal environment" moving into 2023, noting that inventory is coming back to more normal levels. Jacuzzi CEO Dave Jackson predicts some tempering of demand due to rising mortgage rates, but felt confident that his company's growth will be better than 2018-1019 levels, saying that consumer balance sheets are still healthy overall.
The overarching sentiment was that outdoor living will continue to grow as an industry due to families still wanting to invest in their outdoor spaces. People are still staying home and being driven by the "wellness trend" to make comfortable outdoor spaces for themselves. It was also noted that pool remodeling presents a good opportunity for the industry.
What does this mean for pool service and repair companies?
During the show, it was clear that labor shortages are still impacting the pool service and repair side, in addition to impacting supply chain labor on the manufacturing side. We spoke to several pool builders interested in offering cleaning and maintenance services, due to a lack of availability of these services in certain areas of the country. Further, high tech turnover is causing pool servicers to focus on employee retention in the form of benefits, defined career paths, and accelerated onboarding and training programs.
Several companies mentioned that they had raised pricing at least once over the last year, but many others have been reluctant to increase pricing despite rising costs for labor, chemicals, and parts. Despite a softening of the economy, not a single pool service company we spoke to at the show has seen an easing of demand or cancellations.
How can you thrive in 2023?
The keynote panelists shared their thoughts, and they are just as applicable to repair companies as they are to distributors and manufacturers. Matt McDermott of Heritage is focusing on demand creation, marketing, and investing in their most important asset– their people. Landon Tarvin, Vice President at Deckorators is creating good/better/best pricing options to capture a wider segment of the market. Ardy Arani, CEO at Big Green Egg is focused on making sure their potential customers have a "compelling rationale" to choose their product over one that may be inferior. All of the panelists are making investments in technology to improve the consumer experience, as are we here at Skimmer.
If you or someone you know has been considering Skimmer to run your pool service, now is the time! Try Skimmer risk-free for 60 days!
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