Armed & Ready: Fitness Trends Affecting Your Business in 2010

By Bryan Green Founder & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products | February 26, 2010

The New Year is alive and kicking, and I wanted to provide an overview of the key trends that are going to influence the business of fitness in 2010. While it may seem like the “same old story,” the challenges we face due to our current economy will continue to a have a significant impact on all of us. Furthermore, the lifestyles of active-minded Americans continue to be action-packed, making time a luxury that most of us can not afford to waste. These two themes will play prominent roles, influencing the business of fitness and the choices that hospitality-based fitness center owners and managers make throughout the year.

Consumers will be looking to manage their fitness regimens, both at home and on the road, with time and money in mind. Tighter budgets and hectic schedules will undoubtedly force cost-effective and time-efficient workout alternatives to the forefront. A trend toward non-traditional or “alternative” fitness programming will continue. And in terms of demographics, we will see a growing emphasis among aging adults who are consciously increasing activity and exercise, in order to maintain and extend an active healthy lifestyle.

So with that, let’s take a deeper dive into the specific fitness trends the hospitality industry needs to be reckoning with in 2010:

Workouts with Cost in Mind

The impact of the economy continues to affect the choices of fitness enthusiasts and health clubs alike. This is being realized within the mainstream health and fitness industry. Health clubs and independent gyms are already altering programming and business models, often times creating fee-based a-la-carte program options to better serve the needs of the cost-conscious member. In hospitality, hotels and resorts need to remain relevant and recognize that travelers believe that the price they pay for their room INCLUDES a great fitness amenity. In larger hotel- or resort-based spas that charge supplemental fees, the exercise experience needs to be worth the price of admission. If you’re charging for fitness, you’d better deliver. Coming up short in this area will quickly put you at risk of upsetting your valued guests and creating substantial customer satisfaction and churn issues.

Time-Efficient Workouts for the Time-Pressured American

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.