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  • jerry woods

How fitness has changed the hotel game

Working out in a hotel is no longer a choice between a treadmill in a small gym, laps of the pool or a 7 am yoga class. For many Hotel chains, health, and wellness as a major part of their overall revenue stream.

In today’s culture, health and fitness are an ingrained part of modern living, and a growing number of hotel chains recognize that fact and are making it easier than ever to squeeze in a workout when away from home. So easy, in fact, that some hotels have placed the equipment right next to the bed.

Hotel brands such as Westin by Marriot are offering guests bedrooms with training equipment from weights and yoga mats to TRX straps.

During this pandemic in order to accommodate exercise, conscious travelers hotels like DoubleTree by Hilton are offering guests private fitness rooms with exercise bikes, kettlebells, and keep-fit stations in the room.

Meanwhile, on-demand sessions via TV screens, offer further options for guests who prefer to exercise in the privacy of their room. And the old excuse of no space in the suitcase for sneakers doesn’t work either; hotels like The Westin will loan guests freshly laundered gym gear.

For hotel operators, in-room equipment may be more profitable than offering a full gym, given other revenue-generating opportunities that the physical space could be used for like lounges, business centers, or coffee shops.

For hotels, it only makes sense to appeal to the changing needs of its customer's lifestyle. Most travelers have good intentions before their trip to keep their fitness regime on track. According to a study by Cornell University 46 percent of guests expected to work out during their hotel stay, but only 22 percent actually did. But at the hotel booking stage, high-quality fitness offerings played a major role in swaying health-conscious guests towards a particular hotel.

Consumers want Options:

The growing popularity of in-room equipment doesn’t spell the end of the hotel gym. Simply adding a couple of treadmills and kettlebells won’t cut it, for the discerning consumer. Hotels need to know what the popular fitness trends are and cater to those without being perceived as gimmicky.

For example, if there’s equipment in the room that people don’t know how to use, it could be a waste of money for the hotel or worse, lead to people using it incorrectly and hurting themselves.

If hotels are going to incorporate health and wellness into their brand it must extend across the entire hotel experience; from low-carb options at breakfast to mediation classes before bedtime. If a hotel wants to promote a health and wellness message, all of its offerings should align with that brand.

High-quality hotel gyms don’t just have to target guests; they can also be profit centers to draw in local residents concerned about their health as well. In heavily populated urban areas, hotels can look to tap into professionals working nearby to give gyms a buzz and generate additional revenue.

This is big business and competition is coming:

Competition among major hotel operators is heating up with the arrival of new concepts such as the Equinox Hotel. Modeled after the concept of healthy luxury made popular by the Equinox gym franchises, the hotel features a 60,000 square foot gym along with personal training services available to all guests, Soul Cycle studios, and a spa. The hotel also offers a healthy eating restaurant and bedrooms billed as the

“Ultimate sleep chamber”.

While such health-centered concepts are still very niche, the emergence of such focused properties is only the beginning of an escalating battle for consumers. Going forward hotels must understand the needs of their particular consumer base and determine what enhancements provide the best experience for their guests.

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