"Culture shift" leads to price rise, session changes at Turkish Baths

A 300,000 revamp of Harrogate's Turkish Baths was completed last year.
A 300,000 revamp of Harrogate's Turkish Baths was completed last year.

A price rise and a change in session times has been locked in for Harrogate's Turkish Baths, in a move aimed at taking advantage of the "culture shift" of weekend visitors to the region.

Coun Stan Lumley, the cabinet member with responsibility for the district's culture, tourism and sport, green-lighted the moves at a meeting last week.

He said the proposals - which will see prices for Monday sessions rise from £19 to £23, while two ladies' only sessions will be cut and replaced with mixed sessions - were aimed at making the most of weekend visitors.

"We're finding that people who come to the area for the weekend, they are tacking an extra day on that and making it a long weekend," Coun Lumley said of the rise in popularity for Monday sessions.

The pattern was noticeable enough to warrant the changes, with Coun Lumley saying some mixed sessions were "oversubscribed" early in the week.

"We were looking at making things more equal and finding the best way to deliver the service and meet the demand for a very popular asset," he said.

Coun Lumley added he was pleased with the financial performance of the baths, a year after a major £300,000 refurbishment of the facilities was completed.

"Clearly, we made a big investment into it, and it has been extremely successful," Coun Lumley said of the works, which included expanded treatment areas, and a revamped cafe and atrium.

"That investment is really paying off."

The changes bring the total number of mixed sessions a week up to 24.

There will still be three ladies-only sessions, while the sole male-only session remains unchanged.

A report on the matter stated a "culture shift" was leading to the growing popularity of sessions either side of the weekend.

"There is a culture shift in weekend visitors to the Harrogate area which is resulting in Fridays and Mondays being more popular days to book," the report states.

The report also detailed the baths' recent performance, stating that single sex sessions were identified as performing poorly financially, while increasing mixed sessions would offer "greater capacity and flexibility".

"By reducing more ladies only sessions which do not currently perform as well as mixed, the potential to increase attendances and revenue at these sessions is greater," it states.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter