2012 Trends in Fitness - How They will apply to the Hospitality Industry

By Bryan Green Founder & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products | January 29, 2012

As your guest's fitness resolutions for the New Year have firmly begun to settle in, what trends might you expect to encounter demand for this year? For 2012, in many cases fitness trends continue to build upon recent exercise focus as the emergence of participants of all ages increase their demand and interest in staying fit. Baby Boomers and young adults alike increasingly intend to exercise during business travel and while on vacation. Anticipating your guest's endeavors to stay in shape while traveling will remain an important way to outpace the competition.

For the past five years, the trend toward educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals remains at the top of the list. As Americans and our global counterparts alike only continue to get more overweight and unhealthy; an increased demand for health guidance remains on the rise. In recent years, the hospitality industry has certainly begun to answer the bell as it relates to healthy menus and increased exercise space. In short, there will be no need to deviate from continuing to extend the guest experience further into the realm of heath and wellness.

The key for those who operate an amenity in hospitality based fitness is to strive to provide exercise balance and a representative offering in wellness against the reality that such will never be everything to everyone. The hotel fitness center is not a replacement for one's commercial health club. Rather, it should establish a sufficient amenity that makes an effective effort to address the trends and the needs of the active traveler. Help your guests stay on track with their lifestyle commitments, and you will provide an important check off their list the next time they are considering a stay at your property.

The American College of Sports Medicine recently published its sixth Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends predicting and ranking the top 10 trends for 2012. The following is an outline of these trends and how your property might consider integrating them into the guest experience:

1. Education

The most important aspect here is to understand that travelers are increasingly more knowledgeable than ever before about the type of foods and exercise that are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, appealing to these trends will remain fundamental. You might find that providing in-house newsletters with tips and suggestions on "how to stay fit while on the road" or "Cardio in-between your meetings" might further demonstrate your awareness of what's on their mind.

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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.