Mr. Green

Spas, Health & Fitness

Five of the Top Fitness Trends Influencing Consumer Demand

By Bryan Green, President & CEO, Advantage Fitness Products

The fitness industry is constantly evolving. As exercise physiologists, fitness and athletic trainers and wellness professionals push the envelope of untapped knowledge and new technologies, fitness trends emerge and change. Most importantly, as these changes occur, so do the expectations and demands of consumers.

This places a unique demand on fitness center operators to be aware and prepared to respond to these changing consumer demands. Fitness services can absolutely drive bottom line goals for hotels and resorts including revenue generation, but most certainly in guest experience, retention, and beyond. However, significant returns are only realized by management committed to keeping their facilities in line with these changing trends and consumer demands. Fitness is no longer a "throw in" to a hotel or resort's mix of services. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the current trends that are pushing the industry and consumer demand into uncharted terrain.

A Historical Perspective

A look back at the past forty years only reinforces the ever-evolving nature of fitness and its impact on consumer demand. The '70s saw resistance training (weight lifting) transcend beefcakes and body-builders and become the norm for individuals of all fitness levels. This was the beginning of health and fitness finding its way into the fabric of mainstream society. In the '80s it was all about aerobics and the emergence of group training, fitness centers began featuring adjacent group training rooms to accommodate group fitness classes. With that, the fitness "boom" was official. The 90s brought Pilates, and a resurgence of yoga and other "alternative" fitness methods into the mainstream. Suddenly, fitness environments of all types including hotels and spas began offering their own variety and refinement of these modalities. Suddenly, fitness was about a lot more than simply looking good. It was about living longer and healthier. Most recently, "core" training and functional fitness have become the emphasis in a balanced exercise approach, and fitness center offerings have followed suit. So what's next?

{HBR_300x250.media}

Trend #1 - Smaller is Better

While the large facility model is alive and well among mainstream health club chains, the trend is now toward smaller, boutique facilities. There are a growing number of consumers looking to escape the mayhem and hassles associated with large health clubs to a more personal environment. An obvious benefit hotels and resorts can provide is the convenience for travelers to satisfy their fitness needs on property, instead of going elsewhere to visit local area health clubs. But surprisingly, more and more hotels and resorts are expanding their focus beyond guests, offering access to the local community as an alternative to the large health club experience, through a limited membership model. Furthermore, the growing lifestyle emphasis on health and wellness in combination with the need for convenience has enabled a market for smaller, more accessible facilities. The maturity of the industry itself has also spawned a multitude of models offering both luxury and full service offerings. This has certainly perpetuated a new fitness-minded consumer that seeks a more intimate, personalized experience. The big health club chains can't offer this, but hotels and resorts most certainly can. Fitness and spa managers at hotels and resorts should seek creative ways to position fitness centers and capture this "chic" vibe that boutique facilities possess. This can be achieved in marketing and promotional vehicles on property as well as communications vehicles aimed at guest acquisition.

Trend #2 - Going Green

Consistent with the buzz in much of today's consumer-driven industries, the emphasis in fitness on environmentally friendly products and services has emerged. This is seen prominently in the specific materials being used in a variety of products such as yoga mats, stability balls, and even the facility floor covering. Manufacturers such as Precor have begun to concentrate on bringing first-in-class treadmills to market requiring less power than commonly required in this category. In other products such as the company's elliptical trainers, climbers, and cycles no external power is required as the units are now 100% self-generating by the user's own effort and the equipment's ability to store energy. Frankly, these areas are only the tip of the iceberg and look for several emerging technologies and products coming to market over the next few years that can help your facility become environmentally compliant.** **

Trend #3 - Emphasizing Hygiene

It's not the sexiest topic, but it's certainly not one that you can afford to ignore. Hygiene has become a major hot-button in the fitness industry and in the mind of the facility user. A variety of factors, including the significant number of MRSA (Commonly known as "staph") infections that have occurred within health clubs throughout the world have prompted a major increase in the emphasis on hygiene both within the industry and among consumers. Regardless of how ambitious or simplistic your bottom line goals are for your facility, it needs to be hygienically sound at all times...no exceptions. The "fix" is an easy one with a myriad of products now available to achieve this. Unique and stylish wall-mounted and floor "handy wipe" dispensers, featuring disinfectants ensure machines are cleaned properly after each use. In the very least, you will have provided the user piece of mind and the ability to wipe down the contact areas of the machine prior to exercise. Floor treatments and materials are now designed to avoid unhealthy mildews and molds that are common in high activity, fitness center environments. Seeking consultation is highly advisable in equipment selection, floor coverings, and visibly demonstrating to guests your commitment to cleanliness will provide guests comfort and confidence in the use of your facility.

Trend #4 - "Digital" Fitness

One of the most intriguing bi-products of the digital revolution and the emergence of interactive technology has been in the realm of fitness. We've all seen the gaming industry turned upside down by products like the popular Wii, which allows users to actually become a part of the games they are playing by performing the exact physical motions and activities involved in these various sports and games. Through the use of hand-held digital devices, users are controlling the motions and outcomes of what they are seeing on the screen. The software developers responsible for this technology have found a unique home for it in fitness and exercise applications where the technology provides a totally unique and entertaining way to exercise. Companies like Xavix have chosen to focus nearly exclusively on its fitness offering in gaming. Full-blown aerobic workouts, housed within the experience of competitive boxing, martial arts or dance-based gaming activities that entertain users while they're getting into shape. This would appear to be another area where technology and product development are only beginning to have the impact we would expect to see spilling over into fitness environments everywhere.

Trend #5 - Accelerated Fitness

Another emerging area under the heading of "high-tech fitness" is Acceleration Training (aka, "vibration training"). This is an area that began a slow emergence five years ago, when the company, Power Plate first introduced vibration training products globally. But in the past 18 months Acceleration Training has seen a massive expansion with a significant number of new brands entering the market. A critical point of appeal with this innovative exercise method is time efficiency - Full-blown, full-body workouts in a fraction of the time as conventional exercise methods. Acceleration Training also goes far in shattering the "no pain, no gain" fitness clich'e, offering arguably the most non-invasive and low-impact fitness method available, while yielding a truly astounding array of fitness and wellness benefits. Best of all, these varying benefits, including muscle and bone strength, flexibility, detoxification and increased hormonal profile are achieved in literally a fraction of the time necessary with conventional exercise methods and without the rigors and wear and tear that higher-impact training methods demand. If it sounds too good to be true, it's not. There's a significant amount of research available on the subject, and the list of users includes the world's elite athletic and personal trainers, professional and college sports teams all over the world (nearly every NFL team is currently using vibration-based exercise products by Power Plate and other manufacturers), and more and more mainstream health clubs.

These are some of the top-line trends that are making waves throughout the fitness industry and in turn, changing the expectations of consumers. The ever-changing landscape of fitness and exercise can be seen as challenging, but professionals armed with a commitment to driving tangible bottom-line returns would be wise to embrace these changes as opportunities.

Bryan Green is a fitness expert and advisor to core & non-traditional businesses alike in industries including hospitality, multi-family housing, corporations, and Academic institutions. Mr. Green serves as President and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products (AFP), a leading provider of innovative fitness and wellness-based solutions for commercial facilities worldwide and specialized residential environments. AFP offers expertise across multiple facets of the health & fitness industry, including facility design, equipment supply, and ongoing support. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with additional offices in Miami, New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, & Las Vegas. Mr. Green also serves on the Editorial Board for Fitness On-Site Magazine, and advisory boards for leading industry equipment and content providers TechnoGym, Star Trac, & Netpulse. Mr. Green can be contacted at 310-559-9949 Ext: 110 or bgreen@afproducts.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

OCTOBER: New Developments and Best Practices on Maximizing Revenue Management

Breffni Noone

In this era of “big data” revenue managers have access to more data than ever before. However, before rushing to add yet another data source into the mix, revenue managers need to critically evaluate its capacity to provide incremental value over and above existing data sources. They also need to need to carefully consider the level at which to leverage that data source, whether for tactical pricing decisions, or as a support for more strategic revenue management-related decisions. In this article, I take a look at some of the new data sources that are receiving attention in the hotel industry, and use them to demonstrate that “more” may not always be better. READ MORE

Jesse  Ostrum

Information is the currency of all organizations. How you handle access to that information within your organization is what determines if you are an innovative leader in your industry or simply another member. Initiating a Revenue Management culture that provides free-flowing information across departmental lines is the key. Data, information and knowledge can no longer be kept isolated by department and used on a “need to know” basis. Marketing, Sales, Operations, Guest Services…all elements of hospitality are tied together and Revenue Management can work with all departments to better guide the organization through the ever changing competitive landscape. READ MORE

David Hogan

As our world becomes more and more connected, the terms used to describe “Cloud-Based” computing seem to blur into abstraction. In this article, I'll clarify the terms "Cloud computing" versus "Software as a Service," often referred to as SaaS. In some ways, it's like describing two sides of the same coin. However, there are some clear distinctions, along with risks and rewards, to keep in mind. So… what is the difference between Cloud Computing and SaaS? Is there a difference? READ MORE

Paul  van Meerendonk

To say that the world has changed in the past ten years is an understatement. A decade ago, mobile phones were still primarily used to make phone calls, a ‘tablet’ was something you took for a headache and ‘TripAdvisor’ was only in its infancy. Even more dramatic is the change we’ve seen in how hotel rooms are booked: from traditional channels to online travel agencies to making reservations from the palm of your hand. Armed with more options for booking and research than ever before, plus the ability to share their experiences in real-time; consumers are in control and it’s crucially important to attract the right guest at the right time for the best rate. READ MORE

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review


{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Law: The Biggest Challenges
Given the size and scope of the international hotel industry, the subject of hotel law is equally varied and vast. From development deals to management agreements; from food and beverage liability to labor and employment; from claims management to anti-trust matters; to legal concerns surrounding the issues of risk, safety and security, the practice of hotel law relies upon the expertise of many different kinds of legal specialists and practitioners. Though the subject matter is broad, there are several pending legal issues which will loom large in 2014 and beyond. The Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented in 2014 and its impact on hotel companies and their hiring practices is still to be determined. Other significant labor issues to be addressed include lawsuits pertaining to tip credit and tip pooling; wage-hour audits conducted by the Department of Labor: ongoing negotiations with unions involving living wage issues and the right of workers to organize; and increased pressure on hotel operations to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. On the business side of the industry, it is expected that there will be a wave of new hotel development that will engender all the related legal issues – land acquisition, entitlements, joint ventures and other financing, selection of hotel operators and brands, along with Hotel Management and Franchise Agreements. In addition, it is projected that there will be a substantial increase in foreign investment – particularly from the Chinese. Chinese investment will involve all the normal legal issues of an investment from due diligence, acquisition and financing, but will add layers of complexity to deal with tax and other international issues involving direct foreign investment in the U.S. These critical issues and others pertaining to Hotel Law will be explored in the December issue of Hotel Business Review.