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.


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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.