Why spa retailers should consider a sauna product line
If there’s one product that might be hotter than hot tubs in this industry, it’s saunas.
Given the numerous health benefits studied surrounding saunas*, it’s no surprise hot tub dealers across the country are marrying the two categories.
“The hot tub
industry is the most important trade category within North America for our
company,” says Mark Raisanen, general manager of TyloHelo Inc., a worldwide
sauna manufacturer of several popular brands including Finnleo, Amerec, Tylo
and Helo. “It’s the perfect product that fits in well with hot tub dealers. Hot
tub dealers tend to do better than pool companies when it comes to selling
The power of heat
In all three locations of New England Spas in Natick, Massachusetts, owner Norm Coburn offers saunas right alongside hot tubs. To say he’s a believer in the power of a sauna would be an understatement, considering his company has been selling saunas and hot tubs since the ’80s.
“It’s a great combination with a lot of
commonality,” says Coburn, who also has his own sauna at home. “There are
common benefits in disconnecting from life and the internet and problems —
being able to be still. Stress reduction has got to be the No. 1 benefit from
both activities. It’s a healing benefit.”
Promoting another type of heat therapy
Because of the
similar heat therapy effects when compared to a hot tub, saunas are an ideal
wellness upsell, Raisanen says.
“It’s a year-round wellness product vehicle,” Raisanen says.
“Now it has become more of a year-round sales driver.”
wellness trends promoting saunas are only expected to continue rising, Raisanen
recommends hot tub retailers look at saunas as a cohesive part of an overall
He knows some
retailers who create “soak and sweat” packages to sell both a hot tub and a
sauna. Some keep sauna promotional fliers on countertops. Others are adding the
word ‘sauna’ to their company name, even going as far as updating building
signage, Raisanen says.
“This is part
of the industry now and not an afterthought. It’s an important profit center of
a [hot tub retailer’s] business,” Raisanen says. “It’s fun to sell because of
all the wellness aspects.”
Selling to your current hot tub market
interested in selling saunas, remember that hot tub buyers and sauna buyers
don’t need to be two separate markets.
“The sauna is
more than likely a second purchase,” Coburn says of his own experience selling
saunas. “We sell far more hot tubs than we do saunas. Every hot tub buyer is
certainly a candidate for a sauna. That’s why we have them look at it and
successful hot tub retailers tap into their current customer base because
there’s already trust established. If a customer has purchased a hot tub, then
they’re the perfect warm lead.
options like portable (plug-and-play), mid-range (custom or modular) and
high-end designer styles, offering multiple price points is a must for buyers
considering a sauna purchase.
sauna for every taste and budget,” Raisanen says. “[Retailers] need to tap
every budget. All successful showrooms will have one from all the ranges. The
best showrooms will have custom designs.”
allows customers to really see themselves using a sauna that fits their
personalized needs. Part of that process is allowing customers to envision the
products at home.
Nadine Nuzzo, retail division manager of Arvidson Pools and Spas, likes to set the ambiance in the showroom. She keeps a couple of saunas plugged-in for customers to sit inside and try in a quieter area. Nearby, she’ll usually have a diffuser purifying the air with eucalyptus or lavender essential oils.
“It creates that relaxing, calming space,”
Nuzzo says. “It’s a nice complement to our offerings. [Saunas] are really up
and coming in the news and becoming more popular among customers.”
Minimal maintenance and installation specialty required
easy to fit into most living situations, which can ease customer concerns of
where to put it. That’s especially the case for the higher-end customizable
“They can go anywhere — in a closet under the
stairs or in spaces people aren’t using,” Nuzzo says. “They don’t take up a lot
of space. It’s an easy add-on.”
Retailers are more likely to close a sauna
sale when they do installations, too, Raisanen says. The close rate TyloHelo
dealers report is well over 90% when retailers have a staff member who can take
measurements in the home, he says. Portable options require about an hour of
installation time, but more customizable designer rooms usually take about a
day to install.
Perhaps one of
the best perks for retailers selling saunas are the minimal maintenance calls.
“That’s one of
the biggest differentials between saunas and hot tubs,” Coburn says. “Saunas
don’t really have service calls. I wouldn’t say never, but markedly fewer than
hot tubs. That contributes to higher customer satisfaction.”
“There’s no regular maintenance. It’s not like you need to change the water
every three to six months or add a new filter like you do with a hot tub.”
It’s mostly on
the customers to take good care of their saunas. That includes protecting wood
benches by using a towel, scrubbing nonwood bench surfaces, mopping up
customized tile floors and replacing rocks and heating elements every five to
Finding the best sauna support
entertaining the idea of selling saunas, finding a reputable manufacturing
company is key.
TyloHelo Inc., in particular offers more than
40 training videos and hosts training camps around the country. Finnleo offers
potential new dealers an 80-page brochure to better understand the products and
to learn more about traditional and infrared saunas, as well as other sauna
“Choosing a manufacturer that makes a
reputable product that can support you and teach you is one of the most
important components [of selling saunas],” Nuzzo says. “The Finnleo brand of
saunas, they’re a great company. The custom-cut saunas are made in the factory
so everyone is really in tune with what is going on.”
loves Finnleo’s weekly newsletters with updates and product availability. For
retailers looking at offering saunas, Nuzzo recommends selecting a brand with a
support team that will teach you all you need to know.
Standout features: Helo’s range includes wood-burning and electric heaters and their controllers, steam generators, sauna and steam rooms, steam suites, infrared cabins and various types of sauna and steam bathing accessories.
Cokato, Minnesota 888-780-4427 • tylo.us MSRP price: $4,500 to $15,000
Standout feature: Offers free-standing, pre-built packages that can go nearly anywhere.
*Health Benefits of Saunas
debating whether to add sauna offerings to your showroom? If wellness is a
motivator for your hot tub sales, saunas may fit right in: Studies from all over
the world show health benefits of sauna use.
According to a clinical review published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, improved hemodynamics have been shown in patients with chronic heart failure after a single exposure and after a four-week period of sauna bathing, five days a week. Additionally, a small study from Japan suggested that two weeks of daily saunas may improve vascular function in patients with mildly damaged hearts that cannot pump blood normally (stable heart failure).
A 15-year follow-up, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) study by the University of Eastern Finland involved 1,628 men and women aged 53 to 74 years. Researchers found that those using a sauna four to seven times a week were 61% less likely to suffer a stroke than those using a sauna once a week.
Evidence from a
number of experimental and epidemiological studies implicates sauna bathing to
have a positive effect on blood pressure (BP) modulation.
that men who had 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week had a 78% reduced risk of
developing psychosis in the future as compared with men who had only one sauna
session per week.
evidence suggests sauna exposure may have protective effects on neurocognitive
suggests sauna bathing improves lung function by improving vital capacity and
volume, ventilation and forced expiratory volume.
Sauna use has also
been linked to an improvement in headache disorders, as well as in pain and
symptoms associated with musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.