Monetizing Fitness by Branding Health and Wellness

By Bob Caputo Founder, Bob Caputo Living Well | October 15, 2017

Health and wellness experts represent a profitable branding opportunity for hoteliers worldwide. Featuring specific experts or forging alliances hotels can separate themselves from the competition and increase bookings among a new group of travelers and millennials. Hotel executives have an opportunity to leverage the physical equipment at their disposal, namely, the gyms and fitness centers within their respective properties and resorts.

This is less a matter of lifting weights than it is a chance to lift a hotel’s profile by transforming that space into a branded destination unto itself, where guests can enjoy exclusive seminars and private sessions with top health and wellness experts; where these experts, authors and online personalities can strike alliances with a high-end hotel – or a series of hotels under the same name and management – to increase occupancy rates, improve guest retention and attract more travelers in general.

This moment coincides with the ongoing expansion within the health and fitness industry. That fact increases the role for hoteliers, which is an important one, where they can accommodate the needs not just of the niche traveler, but the expectations of everyday guests near and far. The forthcoming debut of the Equinox Hotel, in New York City, further illustrates this point. Based on renderings of the building and its rooms, the look is sleek, modern (minimalism abounds) and in keeping with the fitness brand’s appeal to high-income consumers. More importantly, this news seems to confirm that, according to the hotel’s investors and real estate developers, the economics makes sense.

Keeping Pace with Change

How can hotel executives join this trend or customize it to satisfy the wants of individual travelers? One solution would be to convert a spacious, and often empty, hotel gym and adjacent spa into a principal attraction; where guests will structure their stay around using these facilities. How, then, can hotel executives monetize these otherwise depreciating assets?

How can hoteliers remake these assets into annuities of a sort, which yield more than financial dividends; which yield greater loyalty from guests and more favorable reviews from members of the press? The answer: Hotel executives can partner with a health and wellness expert, establishing a copacetic relationship between the two that results in more frequent and extended bookings.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.