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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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.