Monetizing Fitness by Branding Health and Wellness

By Bob Caputo Founder, Bob Caputo Living Well | October 15, 2017

Health and wellness experts represent a profitable branding opportunity for hoteliers worldwide. Featuring specific experts or forging alliances hotels can separate themselves from the competition and increase bookings among a new group of travelers and millennials. Hotel executives have an opportunity to leverage the physical equipment at their disposal, namely, the gyms and fitness centers within their respective properties and resorts.

This is less a matter of lifting weights than it is a chance to lift a hotel's profile by transforming that space into a branded destination unto itself, where guests can enjoy exclusive seminars and private sessions with top health and wellness experts; where these experts, authors and online personalities can strike alliances with a high-end hotel – or a series of hotels under the same name and management – to increase occupancy rates, improve guest retention and attract more travelers in general.

This moment coincides with the ongoing expansion within the health and fitness industry. That fact increases the role for hoteliers, which is an important one, where they can accommodate the needs not just of the niche traveler, but the expectations of everyday guests near and far. The forthcoming debut of the Equinox Hotel, in New York City, further illustrates this point. Based on renderings of the building and its rooms, the look is sleek, modern (minimalism abounds) and in keeping with the fitness brand's appeal to high-income consumers. More importantly, this news seems to confirm that, according to the hotel's investors and real estate developers, the economics makes sense.

Keeping Pace with Change

How can hotel executives join this trend or customize it to satisfy the wants of individual travelers? One solution would be to convert a spacious, and often empty, hotel gym and adjacent spa into a principal attraction; where guests will structure their stay around using these facilities. How, then, can hotel executives monetize these otherwise depreciating assets?

How can hoteliers remake these assets into annuities of a sort, which yield more than financial dividends; which yield greater loyalty from guests and more favorable reviews from members of the press? The answer: Hotel executives can partner with a health and wellness expert, establishing a copacetic relationship between the two that results in more frequent and extended bookings.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.