How to Pump Up Your Hotel Fitness Center with Cutting-edge Fitness

By Bryan Green Founder & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products | October 28, 2008

In the world of high-end hospitality, unique services and luxury amenities can make or break guest satisfaction and retention, and a fitness facility is certainly not an exception. As consumers continue to focus on active, fitness-friendly getaways, it's all the more critical for spa and fitness center managers to stay on top of the innovations that can set them apart from the competition in the ongoing battle to win and retain new customers.

Currently, the hottest new technologies in the fitness world are challenging hospitality professionals to enter the digital age, as virtual-reality-based, and other new digital technologies and software are re-shaping the way people exercise.

Hi-Tech Performance & Function Over Form

Two distinct developments are now converging and taking the fitness industry to an entirely new frontier. First, there's been a dramatic shift in fitness away from the more aesthetic focus on developing a harder and more attractive body. While aesthetics remain a priority for many, the industry has become more focused than ever on "performance" in day-to-day life endeavors. Whether for a parent trying to manage the non-stop energy of a home full of children, or a high-powered executive traveling extensively to drive a company's bottom line, life is unrelenting. It's challenging and today, more than ever, demands high-performance.

The second development is the overwhelming and rapid influence that digital technology is having on fitness and exercise. Just as with entertainment, from television shows to video games, the fitness world has become a haven for interactivity and reality-based experiences. Digital technology has allowed us to "personalize" basic pastimes and activities like never before.

These two converging forces in the industry are creating a totally personalized and interactive fitness experience, focused on functional fitness measures that enhance performance in life.

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Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.