The range of facilities at UK holiday parks has improved dramatically, driven by the higher expectations of holiday makers and the professional park owners who have risen to the challenge of satisfying those demands.
One such organisation is Forest Holidays, a ‘leading brand’ in high quality, low density forest lodge holidays. Currently operating from 10 locations in England and Scotland, Forest Holidays have approaching 600 lodges and in keeping with customer expectations, most lodges have their own exclusive hot tub.
The attraction of hot tubs
Hot tubs have proved to be a desirable attraction and demand is always high, so much so that all of the company’s future developments – and they’re planning for substantial growth over the next 10 years – will feature a guest hot tub at each lodge.
Whilst an undoubted benefit in terms of guest appeal, hot tubs can pose a problem for many commercial operators.
One major issue comes at guest change over times. Staff often have just a few hours to service and prepare the tubs prior to new guests arriving. As many tubs are heated electrically, often with low powered heaters, they can take several hours to achieve temperature, so may not be ready for new arrivals.
High energy costs
The other problem is energy costs. Many hot tubs are heated using the most expensive energy source available – mains electricity. Consequently energy costs can be in excess of £500 per tub/per year – a significant figure for holiday parks operating literally hundreds of hot tubs!
A new direction for hot tub heating
Forest Holidays identified the need to switch to a more sustainable heating approach for their hot tubs, to reduce energy costs and address the problem of heat up times. They researched a wide range of alternative heating systems, including biomass and heat pumps, before selecting an LPG/air source heat pump hybrid boiler system – complete with Bowman EC80 heat exchangers – as the most appropriate solution for their needs.
Results that speak for themselves
Forest Holidays has now embarked on a programme to convert all the hot tubs at its forest lodges to the new heating system. Early results, from independent tests carried out with LPG fired boilers linked to Bowman heat exchangers, have achieved hot tub heat up times of just 1 hour, using pre-heated (25⁰C) water for the initial fill. Even using ambient temperature water, the hot tubs can be heated to full operating temperature in 2-3 hours.