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: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.