Leading hot tub brands and wet leisure companies will be descending on Birmingham in February for the reprisal of the UK Pool & Spa Expo. Here HTR puts the spotlight on the second outing at the NEC
In movie land, blockbuster film sequels are often acclaimed as being superior to their Hollywood predecessors by audiences and critics alike and the UK Pool and Spa Expo is looking to emulate this trend with its 2014 exhibition reprisal in Birmingham. The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), which hosted the inaugural event, will be welcoming the wet leisure industry to the second instalment that is being run alongside the Caravan and Motorhome Show in the vast West Midlands venue.
Organisers have been busy behind the scenes during the spring and summer in their efforts to expand on the initial success of the debut UK Pool and Spa Expo that was held at the end of January. Exhibitors were quick to pledge their support for the return of the exhibition, which will now be hosted in the Pavilion at the NEC from February 20 to 22 with a cast of ‘stars’ of the hot tub and wet leisure industry.
Stand bookings were swelled by the response from over 60 companies by the start of autumn with a host of international hot tub brands and UK-based distributors being joined by leading pool specialists, product suppliers and associated services.
Organiser Claire Saunders at New Events, which launched the first exhibition this year, has reported that she is pleased that exhibitors from the 2013 exhibition have once again displayed their support with confirmed stand bookings.
“We’ve been delighted with the response we’ve received so far for our second UK Pool and Spa Expo exhibition at the NEC,” said Claire.
“Most of our exhibitors from the first show have now rebooked and we are gaining other confirmations from companies wanting exhibitor space.
“Our intention is to provide a professionally- run exhibition to highlight the industry and we are receiving a lot of European and international interest from people who want to come to the NEC venue.
“This venue is ideal for an exhibition such as the UK Pool and Spa Expo and I’m sure companies will continue to feel comfortable with it, and we will continue to win more support for this event.”
When the second outing of the UK Pool & Spa Expo comes around in 2014 the NEC will be celebrating its 38th anniversary. It is the busiest and seventh-largest exhibition centre in Europe and has 20 interconnected halls set in grounds of 611 acres.
Following its official opening by the Queen in February 1976, the first event to be hosted by the NEC was the International Spring Fair, which has subsequently been an annual event ever since and occupies every one of the venue’s 20 halls, as well as the LG Arena. In 1989 the Queen returned to open three additional halls that increased the space to 125,000 square metres. Four years later an extra four halls were completed in 1993.
In 1998 European Commissioner for Transport Neil Kinnock officially opened four new halls designed by Seymour Harris that increased the total space to 190,000 square metres. As part of a five-year improvement programme costing £40million that culminated towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, improvements were made to car parking facilities, signage and catering provisions. The central space around Hall 1 to Hall 5, known as the Piazza, also was redesigned and received a contemporary update.
Originally, the venue was due to be constructed next to the M1’s Junction 21 near Leicester. It may now seem like folly, but Leicestershire County Council turned down the proposal due to claims that ‘the big shows won’t move away from London’. As a result, in November 1971 the Secretary of State for the Environment granted outline planning approval for the NEC to be built in Birmingham and the rest, as they say, is history.
Already a host of hot tub companies have booked their exhibition stand space in the Pavilion surroundings including (with Stand details if confirmed): Allseas Spas and Wellness (Stand 400); Aquazzi (Stand 525); AQUASAFE 90/American Spas (Stand 625); Aqua Via (Stand 535); Artesian Spas (Stand 490); GMT SPAS International (Stand 545); Hydropool Spas (Stand 470); Interhiva UK and Maax Spas (Stand 500); Marquis Spas (Stand 570); Master Spas; Portcril Spas (Stand 420); Portrait Pools & Enclosures (Stand 456); Red Spas (Stand 582); SCP UK Ltd (Stand 460); Spa Solutions Alps Spas (Stand 590); Sun-Spas (Stand 236); The Tub Company Europe Ltd (Stand 582); Thermals Spas Ltd (Stand 520); Wellis (Stand 630); Wizard Whirlpools/ Nordic Hot Tubs (Stand 430); Vita Spa (Stand 640); and Vlemmix Wellness & SUN SPAS (Stand 635).
They will be joined by a host of additional exhibitors including (with Stand details if confirmed): Aquagym (Stand 320); Aqua Pharos International (Stand 224); Bosta (Stand 440); Cheshire Wellness; Hydrospares (Stand 628); HygroMatik UK (Stand 471); J.A.K Water Systems Ltd (Stand 474); LaMotte Europe/ Aqua World Pools (Stand 228); Lonza (Stand 585); Lovibond Tintometer (Stand 625); Melspring International; Pleatco/Pozzani Pure Water (Stand 504); Thermalec Ltd (Stand 230) SpaEuro (Stand 472); Spafix (Stand 435) and Spa Solutions (Stand 590).
Artesian Spas is among the group of leading international hot tub brands that immediately pledged support for the UK Pool & Spa reprisal. Members of the Doncaster- based distribution team helped to spearhead sales growth this year following attendance at the inaugural exhibition and a strong contingent will once again be attending as an exhibitor to build on this success.
“We are looking forward to returning to the NEC for the second UK Pool and Spa Expo,” says Artesian Spas Director Victoria Wrigglesworth.
“The beauty of UK events is that everybody knows one another and at the first UK Pool and Spa Expo we managed to check out the other stands and chat with the majority of exhibitors from our industry who we generally get on with. It was a good and friendly atmosphere.
“Last time round we had a considerable stand presence and we will be accommodating the same stand size during the 2014 exhibition. Our hot tub display is going to include the newly-launched 735L SE and we will also be highlighting our full range of dealer options.
“It is always good to get in front of a UK audience as an exhibitor as you tend to know a lot of people who come to your stand. When you attend international shows there is often the language barrier to overcome and quite often you are meeting people for the first time.”
AquaWarehouse MD Richard Hart will be returning to the NEC to promote his exclusive Vita Spa distributor status, following a successful first outing that witnessed the European debut of the ground-breaking Fontaine. The exhibition marked the start of an incredibly successful year for Richard and his team ahead of a 40 per cent increase in sales.
“Our intention at last year’s show was to make a statement and help put Vita Spas on the map;” said Richard; “We achieved that with the way that we built up the anticipation for our exclusive launch of the Fontaine.
“We like the exhibition because it is fresh and something different for the industry. It was well organised last time and I believe it has allowed us to reach different people involved in the industry.”
Hydropool Spas will once again be highlighting the virtues of its Canadian manufactured hot tub range during the 2014 exhibition, as well as the latest line of swim spas that were promoted in the first edition of WhatSwimSpa? Magazine this year. European Sales Director Lloyd Burden declared that the exhibitor is a keen supporter of the UK Pool & Spa Expo.
“I am confident that the team behind it will ensure it is a success,” said Lloyd. “I’m sure the UK Pool and Spa Expo will go from strength to strength. I think this exhibition will grow and grow.”
European hot tub specialist Aquazzi has made a move into the British market from its base in France. The brand has also pledged its support for the UK Pool & Spa organisers ahead of confirming a second outing as an exhibitor to promote its newly-launched south of England headquarters.
“For a first time show I think that the organisers have done a really good job,” declared UK-based Aquazzi Operations Director Dave Reynolds.
“People that came to our stand were the right type of people that we wanted to speak to about becoming dealers.”
Wellis sees the UK Pool and Spa Expo as an ideal platform to raise awareness about dealer opportunities on these shores that it is organising from headquarters in Hungary.
“We are using this event to launch our brand and products in the UK market,” said Dora Beres; “This is a new market for us at the moment and we are currently looking for dealers to help us to promote our products and to increase our presence in the UK.”
Portcril is among other European brands that are being promoted to a British audience during a return to the NEC for the 2014 exhibition, after being attracted by the venue’s central location in the country.
“I think this show is well located.” said Portcril Sales Director Jose Teixeira
La Motte Europe Director Tim Schofield has also booked a second successive appearance as an exhibitor at the Birmingham venue and believes the appearance of the historic exhibition complex is a big bonus for the organisers.
“It is very professionally run and it looks good for visitors,” enthused Tim.
Once again, Hot Tub Retailer magazine will be among the media channels reporting on the proceedings at the UK Pool & Spa Expo.
HTR Editor-in-Chief Nick Clamp has urged dealers to gain industry knowledge by visiting the exhibition, as well as showing their support for their brands by visiting the show.
“Last year the UK Pool & Spa Expo had the novelty factor to entice dealers to the inaugural exhibition at the NEC, and we hope that the wet leisure industry will once again support the exhibition by travelling to the venue in Birmingham,” says Nick.
“With so many high-profile exhibitors mixing with leading representatives from the wet leisure industry we would urge dealers to support their own brands and distributors that will have invested considerable finances in their stand displays and put a lot of time and effort to ensure the exhibition is a success.
“This is an ideal opportunity to pick the brains of seasoned retailers, while discussing new products with professionals from the industry that you may not normally get to meet face-to-face.
“Good luck to the UK Pool & Spa Expo organisers and all exhibitors.”
National Swimming Pool Federation (NSPF) of the USA will be hosting its world renowned CPO certification course during the second UK Pool and Spa Expo.
The cost is £350 per delegate and New Events Director Rob Saunders believes there is going to be demand for the course, which provides invaluable tuition.
“This is the first time that this course has been available in the UK and students will have an opportunity to qualify for a course that will provide invaluable training in the skills necessary to operate a commercial pool or spa facility,” said Rob.
According to Rob, the NSPF course will be of particular interest to pool builders, maintenance staff, water treatment companies, hoteliers, health officers, or anyone who has interaction with a wet leisure facility.
“The course will compromise online training, which can be tailored to fit with a student’s daily work and will finish with onsite practical training at the UK Pool and Spa Expo 2014 event.”
During the autumn it was also announced that RoSPA Leisure Safety Manager David Walker has been lined up to join the list of experts on the seminar programme.
David is the lead author for the accident investigation chapter in the forthcoming global drowning prevention handbook. He has worked in a variety of leisure focused roles, including sport development, managing leisure facilities and adventure activity coaching and is scheduled to be speaking on the subject of ‘Drowning – can we get to zero harm in spa and pools?’.
During the UK Pool & Spa Expo there will also be opportunities to socialise and network with other members of the wet leisure industry.
A Networking Party will be hosted onsite with free drinks for visitors and exhibitors. This is being organised to commence from 5pm on the second trade day of the exhibition, which is running from 10am to 6pm for visitors.
There will also be an Independent Industry Awards event. At the inaugural UK Pool and Spa Expo the combined debut of the Awards event saw Artesian Spas and Elite Spas dealers Pete and Rachel Grinnal of Complete Spas land one of the night’s many prizes.
The NEC has two Visitor & Business Centres, which are located in the Atrium by Hall 9, opposite Concourse Suites 1 and 2; and also next to Martin’s Newsagents in the Piazza by Hall 5. Services include Internet access, laminating facilities, faxing incoming and outgoing, along with exhibition and stationery essentials. Manned cloakrooms are available to store bags and luggage for £1 per item per day.
There is free WIFI network provision in the public circulation areas in the Piazza and the Atrium, while staff at the Visitor & Business Centres are on hand to provide assistance if there are connection difficulties.
Free shuttle buses run continuously around the NEC site, which has 22,000 car park spaces. Organisers have ensured that free parking will also be available for visitors to the UK Pool & Spa Expo.
As well as accommodation options within close proximity to the NEC, visitors to the UK Pool & Spa Expo have 30,000 West Midlands hotels to choose from.
Visitors seeking ultimate convenience for attending multiple days of the exhibition’s second stint at the venue will likely take up one of the many rooms at the onsite Crowne Plaza. To make a booking call 0121 781 4031/4029 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those wanting to sample the many restaurants, bars and clubs in Birmingham then the Copthorne Hotel or Jurys Inn, could be the ideal choice as they are situated in the heart of the city.
Accommodation is also available in Kenilworth, which is only ten miles from the NEC and provides convenient travelling times to the venue as the route goes against the rush hour traffic. Choices include the Milsolms Kenilworth, The Best Western Peacock, the Woodside Hotel and the Grand Hotel, which is situated on the main Warwick Road.
As many visitors to the inaugural UK Pool & Spa Expo discovered, the NEC has convenient links to all forms of travel, which are highlighted at www.thenec.co.uk/travel.
For those choosing to arrive by car there is free parking available, which has been paid for by the exhibition’s organisers. Motorists travelling Copthorne Hotel, Birmingham
from any direction can use the M1, M5, M6, M6 Toll, M40 and M42 motorway networks.
Birmingham International Airport (BHX) is within very close proximity to the NEC. The journey time to the exhibition should generally only take minutes from the airport.
The 900 bus service, meanwhile, has an expected 31 minutes journey time, and will drop you at Birmingham International Station. The 38 bus service leaves from Moor Street Interchange hourly and there is approximately a 60 minute journey time to Birmingham International Station.
The opening hours for the reprisal of the UK Pool and Spa Expo have been extended by an extra hour and on the first day of the show, on Thursday, February 20, doors will open between 10am to 6pm. The UK Pool & Spa Awards will then be hosted in the Crown Plaza Hotel, from 7pm. While the second day of the exhibition is running from 10am to 6pm, the Onsite Show Party will commence from 5pm.
On Saturday, February 22, the third and final day of the UK Pool and Spa Expo is the Trade and Consumer Day that will also be staged between 10am to 6pm for exhibitors to meet with members of the public as well as trade visitors.