The trend towards fitness and healthy eating has permeated society and the big hotel chains have taken notice and are adapting their offer as a consequence.
Hotel guests, especially frequent business travellers, are increasingly concerned about their health and wellbeing while on the road and expect hotels to meet their needs in terms of diet and exercise possibilities.
The big chains, starting with IHG's EVEN offering, but now also Hilton and Marriott have launched products specifically designed to keep guests fit and healthy when they travel.
Over five years ago, IHG launched its upscale EVEN Hotels concept as the first mainstream hotel brand specifically focusing on exercise and diet.
According to IHG, the brand meets the growing demand for healthier travel, at a "mainstream" price.
While most luxury and upscale hotels offer complete fitness rooms, what distinguished EVEN when it was launched is that it also offers some workout facilities directly in the guestrooms.
For instance, there are multi-functional amenities (e.g. the coat rack that doubles as a pull up bar) and the guestrooms feature a training zone that includes a yoga mat, foam roller, resistance bands, yoga block, exercise ball and an eight-foot (2.5 metre) tall trainer.
The television also offers workout videos, including ones featuring Jen Widerstrom, an American fitness model and personal trainer, who has appeared in the NBC TV series, "The Biggest Loser". Besides the gym with equipment, there are group exercise activities and a “Wellness Wall”, where guests can post ideas for fitness options within walking distance, tips and equipment rental.
A product of market research
In creating its EVEN concept, IHG carefully analysed emerging trends over an 18-month period, conducting in-depth quantitative and qualitative studies, including interviews with over 4’000 customers.
The research showed a demand shift towards a holistic wellness travel experience, and confirmed that there is an unmet need for staying healthy while travelling.
There are an estimated 17 million healthier-minded travellers who find it hard to stay active and eat correctly and they often “fall off the wagon” when they travel.
Hilton's new fitness room
In late May 2017, Hilton unveiled its 'Five Feet to Fitness' in-room wellness concept that places over eleven different fitness equipment and accessory options directly in the hotel room.
The new 'fitness' room makes it more convenient for time-poor road warriors, fitness buffs and those who prefer to workout in private to maintain their routines while staying at a Hilton property.
The new room features an indoor bike, Gym RaxTM, which allows guests to do a variety of routines, including: strength, core, suspension, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-style exercises.
The Fitness Kiosk, a touch screen display which is embedded in the Gym Rax system, allows guests to view equipment tutorials and follow guided workout routines.
In partnership with Aktiv Solutions, Hilton has created more than 200 fitness videos in categories ranging from cardio, cycling, endurance, strength, HIIT, yoga, stretch and post-workout recovery.
Ryan Crabbe, Senior Director, Global Wellness at Hilton notes that, “The variety of activity the room enables is motivating. One morning a guest can decide to roll out of bed for quick guided stretch and yoga poses. Then later that evening, he or she may return from a stressful day and take a brisk bike ride while catching up on a favourite show or the day’s business news. The room is made to suit the varied and evolving wellness habits of our guests.”
Staying fit at Marriott
In early August, Marriott became the latest major chain to introduce a fitness concept into its hotels.
The chain's luxury flag, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with The Joffrey Ballet (a Chicago-based professional dance company) launched 'Behind the Barre', a series of workout videos available on demand for travellers staying in the brand’s properties.
Barre is a combination of postures coming from ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates.
The new feature was first introduced at the chain's iconic JW Marriott Essex House in New York and is to be rolled out across select JW Marriott hotels this autumn.
The series features customised barre class videos that can be tailored to any fitness level and are inspired by three key wellness states – calm, balance and invigorate.
“Guests of JW Marriott are always seeking new and innovative ways to stay active while on the road,” remarks Christy Donato, Vice President, Global Brand Management, JW Marriott, who adds that, “Our partnership with The Joffrey Ballet provides an elevated fitness experience that goes beyond the traditional in-room workout, allowing our guests to tailor their fitness routine to best fit their travel schedule.”
Filmed at the newly opened JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa, the Barre videos highlight two of Joffrey’s professional ballet dancers, showcasing the workouts that include full-body Barre method, core strength and stretching.
Designed specifically for a guestroom environment, the workouts allow travellers to enjoy a fitness class workout in a private setting at their convenience.