With people spending record amounts of time at home, it’s no surprise that this past year has seen a massive increase in real estate and home investments. Amid lockdowns last March, housing markets skyrocketed and home improvement products sold out seemingly overnight. Many shortages in raw materials made it hard for contractors to commit to any projects for spring.
Among the most sought-after home investments in Ottawa were hot tubs, which saw a huge spike in orders in March of last year (a demand that has not since tapered). Beachcomber Hot Tubs Orléans, one of few hot tub sales and service outlets in Ottawa, saw this rush first-hand.
Owner of Ottawa’s retail location of the Canadian-made hot tub brand, André Grzela, says the change in both sales and supply was unprecedented. “COVID turned the hot tub market on its head, all across North-America. In March, we received an unbelievable amount of inquiries. People took the money that they would have typically spent on travel and vacations and invested in their backyards.”
At first, the demand was well enjoyed, but longer wait times due to shortages and production delays became a problem, as many clients did not want to wait upwards of 6 months to get their delivery. Even Beachcomber, who produces hot tubs in Canada, saw long wait times for orders. “Suppliers were running out of raw materials worldwide,” says Grzela. “Including our suppliers in Canada. There were supply chain issues, delays, shutdowns… so even if there was only one part missing in the Beachcomber, we couldn’t complete the build.”
The spike in demand was great at first, but then we really had to learn how to manage expectations in regards to delivery and wait times caused by supply-chain issues and raw material shortages.”
To help keep the waiting clients in-the-know, Beachcomber concentrated on developing a better way to communicate with local dealerships with emphasis on transparency and frequent communication. “We were consistently updating our clients when we got new information. If we got an email from a supplier with an update on a delay, it would be in our clients’ inbox within the day, with a video message from me. We had to concentrate on the clients we had, rather than on future clients. That was what really changed halfway through the year.”
Even now, amid recent lockdowns and spikes in cases throughout Ontario, wait times are still very long. “We’re constantly trying to improve wait times.” Says Grzela. “Luckily for us, we have great relationships with our suppliers, and our wait times will be the same, if not better, than any other outlet in Ottawa.”
His best advice for anyone interested in buying a hot tub in 2021; “Make a decision on whether you want a spa and if so, start shopping now. If you go shopping anywhere right now, it’s unlikely that you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for, at least, not before the fall or winter. So, the best thing you can do is start shopping as soon as you can. If you wait until later in the spring to order your hot tub, it will be delivered in 2022. Every line is long, and the sooner you shop, the better, and that will be the same across all brands in the hot tub industry.”
Beachcomber is still open for orders. “We are here.” Says Grzela. “Our e-store is also open and easily accessible.”
You can shop all models at beachcombersottawa.com.