Hotels respond to travelers’ demand for healthy living
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama was caught on tape lifting weights at a Marriott Hotel during his visit in Warsaw Poland. The video (shown above) went viral immediately on the Internet.
I have no interest in politics, but this news caught my eye, because it confirms the healthy living trend among travelers. Obama is just like many other travelers on the road: They all work out in a hotel gym.
According to a 2012 survey conducted by TripAdvisor with over 1,400 U.S. travelers, healthy eating and exercise have played an important role in Americans' vacation. 69 percent mentioned healthy eating is important during vacation, and 53 percent said they always or often do exercise while they travel.
In particular, the following were voted as the top physical activities during vacation:
- Walking: 87 percent
- Swimming: 46 percent
- Hiking: 35 percent
- Using cardio machines: 23 percent
- Biking: 16 percent
The top spots for vacation workouts include:
- Hotel gym: 52 percent
- Pool: 42 percent
- Beach: 38 percent
- Hotel room: 27 percent
- Flight: 9 percent
I am glad to see the industry is responding to what travelers want. Many hotel brands have already updated their workout facilities through renovations and/or re-branding. Today, travelers can easily find up-to-date equipment in a large workout room in hotels. There are also websites that are specifically developed for hotel gym reviews (e.g., HotelGymReview.com).
In addition, I have seen more full-service hotels are hiring full-time personal trainers for their hotel gyms. For example, I stayed at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower earlier this week for a conference. Not only does the hotel have the traditional machines and equipment that can be found in many hotel gyms, but it also has a steam room, a sauna, a spa, an indoor lap pool and shower/locker rooms.
Moreover, I could also make appointments with one of the four personal trainers for a workout session. I saw a personal trainer being occupied with four or five guests every morning during my stay in the hotel.
Of course, personal trainers are not for every hotel, but if a hotel wants to compete in the luxury or upscale segment, they may become a necessity. Likewise, having workout facilities inside the property may not seem critical for budget hotels, but hoteliers may consider the following suggestions to fulfill the healthy living demand from travelers:
- Make sure all existing machines, equipment and swimming pools are working properly. Because travelers are more likely to use the workout facilities in hotels now, any problem would trigger complaints or dissatisfaction.
- Purchase small equipment that is designed for in-guestroom workout activities, together with a training kit (or DVD/app) for those exercises, both of which can be checked out by hotel guests.
- Renovate the old workout facilities if budget allows.
- Research the neighborhood and provide directions to hiking and jogging trails, as well as walking and biking tours.
- Partner with a local gym to provide additional full-service workout service.
- When marketing a hotel, highlight a property's state-of-art workout facilities if applicable.
Do you see the healthy demand coming? Besides the suggestions listed above, what else can a hotel do to meet travelers' needs for healthy living?
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