Should I But a Hot Tub or Swim Spa From a Traveling Show or Expo?
From time to time, traveling hot tub and swim spa expos, events or shows come to town for a few days and set up in an empty parking lot or similar venue, sell a few hot tubs and then move on to the next town. Due to the ads that blanket the airwaves, we are often asked if we’ll be at these events.
The simple answer is no. In an effort to help understand more about these type of events, here are a few things to consider.
Multiple manufacturers are NOT being displayed at these Hot Tub and Swim Spa events
All the spas come from the same company – Contrary to what their ads and mini-websites say, in most instances only one manufacturer is there displaying several of their different brands. So before you go, check to see if national leading manufacturers like Jacuzzi, Sundance, Hot Spring, and Caldera will be on display. Remember there is a huge difference between different brand names and different manufacturers.
You won’t have a chance to actually take a “try before you buy” private test soak
You wouldn’t buy an expensive car without taking it for a test drive would you? Then why would you invest in a hot tub without soaking in it? And let me tell you, there is a huge difference between sitting in a dry spa with your street clothes on versus soaking in a 102 degree hot tub in your bathing suit.
In addition, because these expos are for just a few days, the parking lot will be packed with hot tubs and swim spas trucked in to be sold immediately. You’ll be offered a chance to sit in some of the hot tubs that are on display while your salesman hovers over you, but he/she probably won’t offer you the chance to get in one of the hot tubs filled with water and relax for 30 minutes by yourself. And seriously, who wants to strip down into a bathing suit in and the middle of a parking lot full of strangers anyway?
Your selection will be limited to sizes, models and colors they trucked in
What happens if you actually find the size you want, but the interior/exterior color combination is not to your liking? Good luck with that! Again, these shows are designed to sell the spas they brought with them, not have consumers “waste” the salesman’s time to pick and choose different color schemes.
The most common ways that the Expo sales people will try and steer you away from what you really want is to offer you an even larger discount if you take what they have. But is $100 discount on a $5000 hot tub that won’t match your décor at home really worth it?
Here’s the most important thing you’ll see – high-pressure sales reps
In addition to the spas that are trucked in, there is a special sales “swat” team that is sent to the event as well. These are a group of people that normally work a few months a year travelling from show to show all across the USA. They are experienced show sales people that only get paid on commission and only if they “close the deal” during the actual event. They are specially trained to get the sale on the spot using high-pressure tactics that ‘trick” you into making a decision on the spot.
A few of these tactics include
• Size Scarcity – we only have 2 of this size left
• Stock scarcity – once we sell these spas, that’s it
• Time scarcity – once we leave on Sunday, the deals leave too
• Limited Offers – If you buy today and only today, I will throw in a free widget – with a value of $1000
There are many more, but you get the point.
Other things to look out for and questions to ask
You may be asked to pay for you spa in full, prior to a delivery date. Don’t! Local dealers will normally ask for a deposit when buying and then collect the remaining balance upon delivery.
You may be required to sign a contract stating that all sales are final with no refunds. Don’t! Local hot tub dealers are in the business for the long term and will do whatever it takes to make you happy.
The information provided here is not intended to disparage a particular company, brand or sale person. It is intended to make you aware of what you may encounter if you decided to attend one of these events.
We think that it’s best that when shopping for any high-ticket product (boats, cars, hot tubs, swim spas, etc.) that you do your research ahead of time, consider all your options in a non-pressurized environment and then make an informed buying decision that you’ll be happy with for years to come.