Blissful Blogging

Cailley Hammel Headshot

Photo of Alice CunninghamAlice Cunningham, co-owner of Olympic Hot Tub Company in Washington, is a well-known face in the hot tub industry. But she is just as familiar to the spa industry’s online community through her blog, Hot Tub & Sauna Bliss. Now almost five years old, Cunningham has written more than 650 posts about the industry, her business and the world of health and personal benefits hot tubs and saunas offer customers.

“It proves the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step,” she says of her sojourn into the blogosphere, which began with a diffident first blog, progressed through a gradually refined strategy and has ultimately led to a higher profile for her company and the financial rewards that come with it.


For Cunningham, getting started was simply a matter of encouragement.

“I had a good friend who’s a PR whiz and she said, ‘Look, I’ll help you, I’ll get somebody to help you set it up,’” Cunningham says. With the help of a specialist, Cunningham’s blog launched on Wordpress and the first post went live in July 2008.

Early posts were broad in subject matter, tackling topics like how to host a hot tub party and how daily hot tub use benefits your health. Over time, this would change as Cunningham narrowed her focus for each post to target the different wants and needs of hot tub and sauna owners.

“Maybe I bit off more than I could chew in the beginning, but I think I’ve evolved over the years. I think it’s improved!” she says.

While things have changed, one thing remains the same: Cunningham’s philosophy. As Olympic Hot Tub is synonymous with her name, Hot Tub & Sauna Bliss serves as an extension of the business and, therefore, herself.

“I use the blog as a brand identifier,” Cunningham says. “I voice our radio and TV ads. The blog is one more way for people to connect with us and know there’s a real person behind the company.”


According to Cunningham, 60 percent of customers at Olympic Hot Tub are first-time buyers and 40 percent are repeat buyers. The content of Cunningham’s posts mirrors this split.

“The first timers don’t know what to expect, so we do a lot of articles on how to clean your hot tub, how to clean your filters, water care, that kind of thing,” she says.

Other posts take a more romantic approach to hot tub ownership, like “A Hot Tub and a Good Cigar,” or “Hot Tub Astronomy,” which provides tips for enjoying the night sky from the hot tub.

For current hot tub owners, Alice writes how-tos, advice posts and fun stories about what their hot tubs can do for them. One such example: “5 Ways to Improve Your Golf Game Without Leaving Your Hot Tub.”

Of course, not everyone who visits the blog is a potential or current hot tub owner. However, these “drop-in” visitors from all over the world are just as welcome; Cunningham even writes for this audience with posts about hot tub weight loss or hot tub etiquette — the latter of which has snagged 6,000 hits.

“These are people who probably aren’t buyers, but they help with SEO and they get more eyeballs to not only my blog, but also my website,” she says.

In general, Cunningham’s blog content is broken up into several key categories: Hot Tub Health Benefits, Hot Tub Water Care, How To Buy a Spa or Hot Tub and Latest Posts, a catch-all category for relevant, timely information about the industry and Olympic in particular. With these categories and target audiences in mind, Cunningham creates a balance of interest in the right places.

With twice-a-week posts (sometimes more) and a total of more than 650, Cunningham is certainly prolific. Where does she turn for inspiration?

“Just everywhere,” she says. For example, an article she read about how to get the best help when shopping at a high-end clothing store turned into an advice post about getting the best help at a hot tub store.

In addition, staff members always prove a fruitful source of ideas.

“I always ask salespeople, ‘What are people asking about when they come in?’” This question, Cunningham says, led to a post about lounge preferences in the hot tub. “You really get the best ideas from the people who are on the front lines,” she says.


After years of posting relevant, timely posts, Cunningham and her team developed strategies to better deploy them:

1. Nuanced targeting of potential customers.

Alice says the posts are invaluable when following up with leads.

“Once the sales person makes contact with the customer, they find out what they’re interested in,” she says. If the customer mentions arthritis, for example, he receives a blog post on how a hot tub can help alleviate that condition. If not, they’re sent posts about the buying process, like why he should have a backyard consultation or the importance of a test soak.

2. Taking care of customers after-market.

“I asked my service guys to help me compile the top five service questions,” Alice explains. “Once you get a blog post about one of those questions, you can send it to people who call. It definitely helps with after-market.”

3. Cross-promotion.

As Facebook and Twitter have risen in importance in the businessworld, Alice’s blog is a goldmine for posts to cross-promote.

Cunningham’s blog juggles many goals: it seeks to attract new customers, stay friendly with current hot tub owners, push the reach of the Olympic Hot Tub brand to the blogosphere and really, educate everyone and anyone who visits. While it’s heavy commitment for Cunningham, she also sees her blog as a means of helping other dealers.

“I think all boats rise with the tide. I know a lot of Hot Spring dealers tell me ‘Oh, I use your blog posts all the time!’”

To visit Alice’s blog, Hot Tub & Sauna Bliss, visit

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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