Coronavirus and the Swimming Pool Industry: An Honest Assessment of What’s Coming
In frank terms, the coronavirus isn’t a good thing.
Nor is it something any of us are excited about.
Its impact on individual health, as well as the world economy, is indeed a tough pill to swallow.
Over the past week, many of our swimming pool dealers around the country have asked us what this virus might mean for swimming pools in 2020 and beyond.
Therefore, because so many are asking questions, and also because we, as a company, feel a tremendous sense of duty to the industry as a whole, we wanted to address this subject today—as honestly and transparently as possible.
The Domino Effect of Less Travel for Pool Builders: Staycations
To cut to the chase quickly here, no one knows how long the coronavirus will be here. There are many uncertainties.
One certainty though is the fact that the travel industry is taking a major hit on the chin right now. Simply put, people are traveling less. And when people are traveling less, this generally means one thing:
You may be asking yourself, what is a staycation?
In simple terms, a staycation is when an individual or family, instead of spending their discretionary income on travel, flights or cruises - instead invest these funds into their home and oftentimes into their backyard.
In many cases, this leads to increased construction and purchases of luxury items like swimming pools, hot tubs, etc.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “This makes sense, but if the economy is in such bad shape, no one will have the money to buy a pool.”
In certain situations, yes, this will be the case.
But here is the thing that all will soon realize with respect to coronavirus—life must go on.
We’ll all still have mouths to feed, bills to pay, businesses to run, and lives to live.
All of us.
And once the initial panic runs its course over the coming weeks, most will have a much clearer perspective on where things are, with the eventual outcome likely being one of two things:
- We find some type of cure/vaccination/etc. (yes, this would be wonderful, but it’s not reasonable to bank on this)
- We have a new normal—a stronger type of “flu” that elevates awareness and health standards every year going forward, meaning we all wash our hands a heck of a lot more and take precautions where necessary.
But based on what we’re currently seeing in the market, people are already looking ahead and recognizing that travel may not be in the cards over the next year, which means a shift in spending.
For example, we’ve actually had a few customers just this past week tell us they decided not to go on a vacation this year as a family, and instead are going to get a swimming pool.
We expect many, many more families and individuals will be thinking the same thing in the coming months.
Now, is any of this ideal?
No, of course not.
In a perfect world, the travel industry continues to boom, the swimming pool industry thrives, and the world economy is strong—all while we’re able to continually find cures to various sicknesses and diseases.
But that’s not where we are today.
Recessions, Opportunities, Focus, and More
Hopefully, we’ll all be able to turn this around quickly.
Between now and then though, we as businesses must be more focused and diligent than ever.
Although we don’t currently expect the coronavirus to lead to a recession like we had in 2009, let us keep in mind that it was because of that recession many seeds of innovation and greatness were planted in companies all over the world.
For us at River Pools, it forced us to analyze everything about the business, eventually leading us to embrace the internet as no one had ever done in this space and ultimately becoming the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world.
In an ideal world, none of us would need pain for growth, but such is the reality of being human.
So if you’re a pool builder (or anyone in the home improvement industry for that matter) and you’re feeling stressed about what lies ahead, let us commit to channeling our energy into the following:
- Making our customers happier and more delighted than they’ve ever been.
- Trimming the excess fat of our business that we should have trimmed a long time ago.
- Focusing every day on learning and education—be it sales, marketing, customer experience, etc.
- Listening to our ideal prospects and customers better than we ever have—making them our entire focus—and spending less energy on things like the competition, bad fit prospects, etc.
- Mastering our trade by working on the little things and skills that add up to so much in the long run.
- Improving our business model overall to make it the best it can possibly be.
Are the months ahead going to be rocky?
Sure, they could be, but it’s still too early to tell.
But this much we do know—we all have a chance to lean in, double-down, and seriously improve because of it.
So let’s do that.
And while many of our peers are busy watching the news cycle 24/7 and at a standstill, we’ll be readying for the marketplace to come back roaring—as it assuredly will.