5 Fundamentals Every Hotel Fitness Amenity Must Include

By Bryan Green Founder & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products | March 31, 2013

For many operators in the hospitality industry, it makes sense that a constant focus on the property's fitness amenity would be unlikely given the balance of priorities. However, as we all know, guest expectations as they relate to an offering in fitness continue to grow each and every year. Because it is clear that the fitness center is a frequent part of the guest experience for many, it's critical to gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals every property must attend to, regardless of the size or stature of the space.

Equipment balance, entertainment, environment, cleanliness, and safety are the essential considerations for this high demand offering. Wellness trends are consistently evolving, and a facility can certainly not be viewed as a one-time investment in fitness equipment and space allocation. The common denominator between these hospitality based environments remains their relevance and appeal to the guests they serve. Exercise and environmental trends for the most part will consistently carry through regardless of what level of property you are tasked with operating.

Equipment Balance

In a commercial health club, users have time to spend strength training specific muscles or looking for group exercise classes to provide training variety. Today, the average business traveler carries 2.68 mobile devices with them, spends 37 percent of their network connection time during business trips at hotels (http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/2883/headline-keeping-hotel-guests-connected), and consequently needs a fitness amenity to accommodate such a time restrictive schedule. The resort guest is rarely different, as those who work-out indoors while on vacation, are typically simply trying to keep up with their health routine vs. seeing the sights or relaxing by the pool. The goal for both of these user types is to allow them to quickly and efficiently perform their exercise. This means help them get their cardio workout in and incorporate basic strength and flexibility equipment that focuses on multiple muscle groups so the work out is fast and functional.

Cardio equipment needs to be varied to assist users with various requirements due to age, physical condition, and potential bodily limitations. A baseline offering of treadmills, cross-trainers, and bikes are key. Additionally, consider an upper body ergometer to satisfy both upper body cardiovascular workout trends as well as ADA compliance. Functional strength training systems are all about cable based solutions with infinite adjustability. Today, less is more in the strength training category. Don't attempt to recreate the traditional "circuit' found in most big box health clubs. Rather, look for equipment that provides more exercise and adjustment flexibility on a series of smaller modular based equipment. You must also provide a limited, but modest dumbell and adjustable bench training area for free-weight work-out.

Environment

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Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.