Hotel Fitness Centers evolving to accommodate Guests on the Go

Like every other major business within the travel and tourism industry, hotels are extremely competitive. The average traveler weighs both cost and amenities when choosing where to rest their weary head. As a growing portion of society now pays more attention to overall health, hotels are focusing more on the superiority of their fitness centers.

It wasn’t that long ago that walking into a hotel fitness center meant having access to a few treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, and maybe a stationary bike. Anything more (outside of a TV hung high on the wall, likely tuned to Sports Center as men were the dominant facilitators of the equipment) was considered a rare luxury found only at the finest resorts.

Rock Climbing at Alexis Hotel's Fitness CenterThat was before the physical conditioning wave struck, triggering a mass of competitive remodeling among hotel fitness centers.

Hoteliers are constantly looking for a way to edge out their competition. The recent surge in physical awareness—especially among the more affluent crowd who travel regularly, for business or pleasure—has become a primary outlet for investment.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) reported that, from 2004 to 2014, the number of hotels in the US that offer a fitness center of any size has jumped from 63% to 84%. And it’s not just the mega-chain hotels that are increasing their health-conscious amenities. Even smaller, boutique-style accommodations are offering expansive fitness centers these days.

Amazingly, even the lowest level budget hotels are taking notice of the fitness trend. 35% of budget lodgings now offer their guests a place to exercise, and that alone has to reflect just how modish hotel fitness centers have become.

Economy lodgings are up to 67%, mid-priced hotels 85%, and of course luxury hotels have the highest number of fitness centers at 90%.

AHLA President and CEO Katherine Lugar explained the increasingly competitive, and subsequently higher quality, nature of the hotel business in a statistical survey last December. “Providing the highest level of quality service is paramount in our business and keeping ahead of guests’ needs is a critical component,” said Lugar.

“From high-tech gadgets and amenities to charitable giving to being good stewards of our environment, the hotel industry continues to grow, innovate and accommodate changing consumer behavior,” she continued. “It is this flexibility and remarkable adaptability that allows the hotel to grow and thrive even as other business sectors struggle.”

Modern Hotel Fitness Centers

Obviously, the more chic the hotel, the wider variety of fitness equipment and workout opportunities you can expect to find, but even some of the smaller and/or privately owned hotels are accommodating their health conscious guests these days.

Yoga and Pilates classes are becoming mainstream, and you may even find rock climbing walls, monkey bars and hula hoops. That’s because some locations are gearing their fitness centers towards family and children, not just business travelers who want to work out on the go.

Fitness Center Upgrades at US Hotels

Klimpton’s Alexis Hotel in Seattle is a boutique-grade location, but that hasn’t stopped them from doubling the size of their hotel’s fitness center. General Manager Jenne Neptune called the new facility a “functional fitness room”, which includes all of the above mentioned amenities, plus major additions to its workout equipment room.

The ongoing expansion will also provide video workouts, assisting guests in their use of what Herald & Review called “more creative equipment”.

Another leader in the revolution is Marriott Hotels, where some of their fitness centers are scheduled for major upgrades. The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile has become the chain’s guinea pig, of sorts, currently slated for a $2 million expansion to its fitness center, although specific details on what that will include have been kept under wraps.

The Marriott’s VP of Brand Marketing, Jackie McAllister, said “It seems that every meeting I’m in” the subject of intensifying their hotels’ fitness centers arises. “Through the millennial mindset and next-gen traveler, there’s a large focus on wellness. We need to do more because they expect more,” she said, promising “big news within Marriott” in 2016.

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