As we put 2020 behind us, we look toward a new administration, a vaccine roll-out, and another busy year for natural swimming pools. The COVID-19 pandemic seemed to accelerate the “cocooning” instinct of families who had to stay home all summer. Without vacation destinations and summer camps, families looked to their own backyards for recreation. The outdoors became a recommended safe space, and it seemed as if people were rediscovering the natural world in all its splendor!
By the Numbers
Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, we had 937 inquiries from homeowners for NSPs, 97 inquiries from potential BioNova dealers, and 97 inquiries from landscape designers.
By comparison, between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, we had 206 inquiries from homeowners for NSPs, 94 inquiries from potential BioNova dealers, and 37 inquiries from landscape designers.
Clearly, homeowners are looking to learn more about NSPs, and so are landscape designers.
Allen Schnaak, our VP of Business Development, has fielded all of these questions and has had hundreds, if not thousands, of telephone calls and video meetings. These interactions resulted in large numbers of NSP Pre-Construction Planning Agreements (PCPAs), with some projects already underway and more scheduled to start within the coming months. We are highly confident that many more PCPAs will finalize in the coming months!
Interestingly, the 937 inquiries from homeowners last year represent 18% of all inquiries regarding homeowners’ NSPs that we have recorded during the previous 12 years. We believe that this exponential rise in inquiries results from two things; first, the pandemic and the “cocooning” effect; second, our more sophisticated contact recording in our Salesforce database drawn from website inquiries.
We have doubled down on our Salesforce investment by acquiring its Pardot platform for additional programming and automation. We believe that automating our lead nurturing strategy will pay dividends in the years to come, as the decision time to buy an NSP can be quite long. Keeping in regular contact with leads is essential, and this platform assists in that very well.
Improvement by Design
We are also noticing that the introduction of the “NSP in a Box” concept is well received, and we have made significant strides in incorporating that technology across projects. In cooperation with Fox Pools, this allows for rapid assembly and integration of a BF4 vault into the BioPool® system.
We are also looking to further the technology of vault installation with simpler designs that will require less fieldwork to install, so design professionals, stay tuned!
Leading Green Business with Nature-Based Solutions
Another concept that we want to highlight is in cooperation with the International Organization for natural Bathing water (IOB). The idea of “nature-based solutions”, has emerged from Europe, where it has become quite ubiquitous in the environmental stewardship community. The concept seeks to address problems using nature-based solutions that sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively. These actions simultaneously provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits without utilizing energy or chemical inefficiencies.
A Non-profit to Educate and Collaborate
Also, we have reinvigorated the North-American-based Association for Swimming Ponds and Natural Swimming Pools (ASPNSP) with new Board of Directors appointments. Ryan Harmer will be the Association President, Jesse Dutra as Vice President, Tonja Andreatta as Secretary/Treasurer, and Allen Schnaak and Bruno Miraballes as board members. Cooper Powers is spearheading the communications and media management for the association and helping with organizational logistics and updates to the website.
The ASPNSP, via Allen Schnaak, has already requested an amendment to the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) to allow for the inclusion of NSPs in the guideline text. Because it would be too difficult to rewrite each and every section of the MAHC to specify NSPs, the CDC decided that an ad-hoc committee should investigate how NSPs could be incorporated into the MAHC in some fashion. It’s good news and great exposure for the ASPNSP to make their mark.
So, pandemics aside, it has been an exciting year, and we are poised for an even more exciting year in 2021.
-James Robyn, President and CEO BioNova Natural Pools North America