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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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.