An entrepreneur nominated for a string of national business awards continues to make waves in the leisure sector.
UK Leisure Living Group has sold more hot tubs in 2020 than previous years put together, with the Coronavirus and Spring heatwave leading to a surge in sales.
The trend continued across the summer at their revamped 6,000 sq ft Mochdre showroom and Managing Director Gareth Jones marked this success at the second annual North Wales Hot Tub Expo, by unveiling new products and international partnerships.
He is also proud to have been named a finalist in three categories at the National SME Business Awards, to be held at Wembley Arena next Spring – Best Enterprising Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, and for Service Excellence.
“While this year has been challenging for all businesses, we have been able to retain all of our staff and employ an apprentice full-time by capitalising on the initial lockdown period,” said Gareth.
“Protecting our local supply chain has also been hugely important to us and supporting companies in the Welsh tourism and hospitality sector when they need it most.
“By introducing new product lines – outdoor kitchens, the swim spas centre, saunas and the US-based Bull barbecue and grill range – the company will be even more sustainable in the future and not reliant on one product to get us through dire and unprecedented circumstances such as these.
“This is on top of our already popular international partnerships with Stop Digging in Sweden, Hot Springs in California and Aspen in St Louis, Missouri.”
By focusing on the end-to-end leisure experience. Gareth has also launched the Holiday Let Advice Centre, an independent hub for owners of holiday cottages, park owners and glamping site owners to get free and friendly advice.
“We will be a single port of call for the staycation market, offering free guidance on a range of topics from energy saving advice to maximizing bookings, hot tub maintenance, accommodation types, electric car charging and any number of issues they will come across. We will also bring in key partners to help with funding, taxation and planning,” he said.
“There will be a presence here in Mochdre and online, so we can offer support and specialist expertise locally and across the UK.”
Gareth added: “We have a broad range of experience across these subjects and can meet all of their needs from under one roof, and our collaboration with Cottages.com will be a big factor in this.
“For example, research has shown an increased occupancy in a holiday accommodation is roughly 40% by having a hot tub, and with properties with an already high occupancy it can boost the tariffs by up to 27%.
Admitting the next six months will be tough for the leisure sector, Gareth is hopeful next year will bring green shoots of recovery.
“Stock in the hot tub industry is scarce and some manufacturers are quoting 67 weeks to wait. Not six or seven weeks – 67.
“We have hundreds of tubs on order for delivery into next summer and free stock arriving almost weekly up until Christmas now. Getting hold of quality stock is difficult but with our buying power and connections, we have it covered.
“However, it is a tough place and I think we will see some hot tub companies go out of business, with no stock to sell.”
Gareth added: “I would not like to set up a hot tub company in these times, with the challenges facing this sector. These companies will potentially leave consumers high and dry, with lost deposits and no warranties.
“From a personal perspective, we have the awards to look forward to as well, and in past weeks were honoured to once again be named in the Wales Fast Growth 50 list.”
“We have used 2020 to lay the foundations for future years and while sales did rise, we didn’t get carried away. We have invested wisely, and that will pay dividends for the profitability of the business over the coming years.
“We want to create more jobs and support more investment in North Wales and the regional economy with our future masterplan – that’s our priority.”