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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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.