10 Top Exercise Trends Affecting Your Hotel Fitness Center

By Kurt A. Broadhag President, K Allan Consulting | January 14, 2010

The fitness industry has seen its fair share of exercise trends in terms of fitness equipment and programming. Kettle balls, vibration belts, nautilus machines, racquetball courts, aerobics programs - all trends that have either come and gone or transformed into modern day fitness components. These trends are spawned by advances in technology, new research findings involving heath and exercise, or creative minds trying to develop a new workout program to counteract the boredom of monotonous routines. The end result of this process is either inventions in new equipment or fitness programs, or improvement upon the old.

Top fitness professionals stay abreast on current researches and advances in the field to forecast exercise trends and serve a crucial role in promotion into the general population. Health clubs must also chart these trends but have the additional burden of working within limitations of space and budget to provide their members to access to these trends. This is especially true for hotel fitness centers that, due to certain variables such as limited space and non-staffed facilities, must try to offer these trends to their guests when feasible. Following are ten current exercise trends that can be incorporated into the hotel fitness center..

1. Mind/Body Exercise

Although mind/body exercise has been around for ages it has recently caught on in the US. Current trends in this area include both yoga and pilates. Despite these being popular workout routines they may not be feasible to offer in the hotel fitness center setting. For one, both require an instructor for the untrained individual. Secondly, yoga typically requires a classroom setting or an open outdoor space. Finally, true pilates requires specialized equipment. To get around these limitations and still offer your guests these programs try, 1) locating local instructors and place on-call much like personal trainers for one-on-one sessions, 2) if demand is large enough, dedicating an outdoor space to have daily classes, and 3) offer DVD's that can be played within the fitness center and guests can follow along.

2. Technology/Personal Entertainment

Modern technology has transformed the way people pass time working out. Originally, drop down televisions were used inside fitness centers with the audio broadcasted through the speakers. Eventually wireless systems were invented. Now, the current trend is to equip each piece of cardiovascular equipment with its own television. Also new are the advances in ipod/mp3 player docking stations on cardiovascular equipment. This is especially useful given the new trend of downloadable workout routines onto ipods/mp3 players that people can follow while in the gym.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.