Soaking in the Shade

Enclosures are a viable addition to hot tub showrooms

You’re not just selling hot tubs, you’re selling a lifestyle. And the icing on the cake for many homeowners is a hot tub enclosure, pergola or gazebo.

“It is a good opportunity to upsell and provide a solution that the guest was looking for anyway,” says Michael Swartz, owner of Heavenly Times Hot Tubs in Dillon, Colorado. His company sells Visscher gazebos and Covana automated gazebo covers.

John Keirstead, CEO for Arctic Spas Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, (which also sells Visscher gazebos), says enclosures let customers use their hot tub in all weather conditions and create more privacy. “It also can have an aesthetic angle, as people often do not want a hot tub just sitting on their patio, the gazebo or pergola finishes it off,” Keirstead says.

Display is Key

If you bring gazebos and pergolas into your showroom, displaying is a must for sales. “Some people don’t realize [these products are] available if they’re not being shown to them,” says Kurt Peterson, owner of Sequoia Spa Shelters in North Highlands, California.

“Be sure to make the display look like an actual backyard setting,” says Timm Seehafer, store manager for Pool Works, Inc., in De Pere, Wisconsin, which offers Covana and Amish Country solid wood pergolas. “Display it with plants and steps so that customers can see exactly what they will have in their own backyard.It’s hugely beneficial.” For Covana covers, Seehafer says to make sure the display is powered up and running so customers can get a feel for the functions of the unit.

“Accessorize and make it comforting and welcoming so that the customer doesn’t just see this plain pergola,” says Todd Robertson, co-owner and CEO of Toja Grid in Ontario, Canada, a pergola bracket system that customers build themselves with the purchase of lumber. “It’s a lifestyle [customers] are choosing. They see something that they can relate to their own backyard.”

Covana covers make use of the open space around hot tubs, which means the dealer can fit a Covana practically anywhere in the existing showroom, says Steven O’Shea, director of sales for Covana in Quebec. “Like anything in our industry, you can’t be successful with a product if you do not display a working unit,” O’Shea says, and recommends more than one be on display. “One unit is an anomaly; two or more is a category.”

Sell it Right

Bring the idea of hot tub enclosures into the conversation with customers early, suggests Kerry Harbarenko, sales and marketing coordinator for Visscher Specialty Products in British Columbia, Canada.

“Once you sell the spa, it’s too late to start talking about the gazebo,” Harbarenko says. “Getting the deal hinges on creating the desire for a gazebo, even though few hot tub shoppers set out with a gazebo in mind.”

Peterson recommends putting the display model of Sequoia Spa Shelters with the hot tub used for wet tests, since customers see most displays from the outside only. “The real impression is actually made from the inside looking out,” Peterson says. “You get a different perspective on the enclosure.”

Harbarenko also advises to be on the lookout for the sale to people who don’t yet have a spa. He’s seen many Visscher gazebos sold as outdoor changing rooms or outdoor living rooms with furniture.

He also suggests talking about the benefits of the enclosure over the features and specs. “Blocking the neighbor’s view of the spa means much more to the customer than [the option of] tinted windows,” Harbarenko says. “Structural components are important, but the customer would much rather hear about the overall ease of installation and maintenance.”

Bundle and Deliver

Pool Works builds the Covana installation into the price of each unit. “There are a lot of moving pieces and we want to make sure it is properly installed to maintain the warranty,” Seehafer says. The wooden pergola kits Pool Works offers can be installed by the homeowner, but Pool Works offers installation if the customer chooses as an added benefit.

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Heavenly Times also assembles the Covana and Visscher products offered. “In most cases, we are better at it than the customer,” Swartz says. “It allows us to provide additional customer service.”

While selling hot tub enclosures individually is worthy of applause, creating package deals with a hot tub may be more successful. “Promote package deals with combined low monthly payments,” Keirstead says. “We provide a discount on both items if a hot tub is purchased with a gazebo, pergola or Covana. We can get clients that might not otherwise buy a hot tub by itself to buy [a package deal].”

Matching the right gazebo to the price of the hot tub also helps. “If you double the cost of the spa by adding a gazebo, you are most likely going to lose the deal,” Harbarenko says. “Gazebos are easily scalable, so there is an enclosure to complement every spa.” He recommends matching several spas with several different enclosures to provide a good, better and best price range, then gauging which pairings to offer the customer.

Seehafer shares the view that selling hot tubs and gazebos together and providing installation makes the most sense for the dealer and the customer, bringing it all together nicely in the end. “Everything can be installed at the same time as the hot tub delivery,” Seehafer says. “We can make the patio oasis a reality in less than a day.”


Quebec, Canada
Product: Automated spa cover/gazebo
MSRP: $4,995 to $7,999 for hot tubs, $11,000 to $15,000 for swim spas

Features: Turn-of-a-key automation for raising and lowering the cover on the spa. Serves as a gazebo when raised (side panel shades available). Four models available: Evolution, Oasis and Horizon tilt cover for hot tubs and the Legend swim spa cover. Various sizes available to fit all hot tubs.

To become a dealer: Inquire at info@covana.com for dealer information.

Sequoia Spa Shelters

Rio Linda, California
Product: Spa enclosure
MSRP: $3,500 to $5,000

Features: “Basically, it’s a small building that wraps around the hot tub for weather protection and privacy,” Peterson says. Tubtop and open-air, freestanding models available.

To become a dealer: There is no minimum order at this time. Special dealer pricing and territory agreements are available for active dealers. Dealers can request information through the ‘contact us’ form on the company’s website.

Toja Grid

Product: DIY pergola kits
MRSP: Starting at $650 and up

Features: The box dealers sell contains all hardware needed. Homeowners pick up the lumber and can build the pergola in their yard in less than an hour, Robertson says.

To become a dealer: Fill out the dealer inquiry on the website to receive a 35% discount code. Minimum initial order quantity is $4,000; includes a free display, free POP banner and listing on the Toja Grid dealer locator. Replenishment orders are a minimum of $500 after discount.

Visscher Specialty Products

British Columbia, Canada
Product: pre-built gazebos
MSRP: $2,200 to $15,000

Features: Product comes pre-built in a crate, with some final assembly required. Three main products available: Open Air (pergolas and sunshade), Semi-Enclosed (post and beam with roof) and Fully Enclosed (wall panels, windows and doors)

To become a dealer: There are no minimum orders; simply inquire. Dealer approval is based upon the existing Visscher offerings within the dealer’s area.