Hotel guests want exercise spaces

The benefits of incorporating a gym or basic fitness facility into an accommodation space have never been stronger, with Australian consumers keener than ever to keep fit and well, according to a survey conducted with thousands of consumers at the last Australian Fitness and Health Expo.

With this year’s expo just around the corner (on April 27-29 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre), fitness is in the spotlight and hotels should take notice, says Australian Fitness and Health Expo director Jon Perry.

“The same survey also revealed that 48.4% of people like to maintain regular exercise because it makes them feel good – a shift that, for the first time ever, has seen looking good fall in priority,” he told HM.

“Tapping in to this ‘feel good’ factor associated with fitness is one way the accommodation industry can benefit.

“What’s better than a home away from home? A home away from home where you can maintain your feel-good fitness routine and avoid the guilt that comes from missed exercise sessions [and] the number one hurdle for Australians when it comes to exercise is time.

“If you can offer a convenient, time saving onsite exercise option that the next hotel can’t, you may just have a very healthy marketing tool on your hands.

“If you’re thinking of putting an under-utilised space in your hotel to good use, or if you already have an onsite gym but you don’t think it’s doing anything to attract business then there’s a few things you should know.

“It is important to acknowledge that the demands of customers are changing – a treadmill and a set of 5kg free weights might have worked 10 years ago but fitness is a fast-moving industry and times have certainly changed.

“Making smart decisions that suit the style of accommodation you offer can also make the difference between adding value to your customers and having a treadmill that gathers dust in the corner of a room.

“Once you have a fitness service on offer, it’s also vital that you market it well and keep it fresh so those kettlebells don’t become a weighty liability,” he said.

Perry said there are a few consumer trends in fitness that hotels should consider if they are considering installing or upgrading fitness services.

“It seems the gym workout is still one of the most popular choices when it comes to exercise (72.6%), followed by running (44.6%), cycling (42.3%), walking (40.3%), boxing (38.7%), swimming (32.2%), team sport (31.9%), adventure sport (31.2%), aerobics (27.3%), dancing (22.8%), crossfit (19.5%), triathlons (18.1%), yoga (16.9%), Zumba Fitness (9.1%) and tennis (7.8%),” he said.

It was also important to shop around not just for a great deal, but to find the most appropriate equipment for the space.

“Once you have a few ideas of what would suit your business, its size, floor space and guest market, shop around,” he said. “Have a list of goals and request a few companies to present a proposal and ideally a 3D model of the end-vision for the space or a full description of the program on offer.”

The 2012 Australian Fitness and Health Expo will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 27-29.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management

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