Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of exercising.
Good thing I’m not the majority of people.
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, “55.5% of Americans exercised three or more days” on a week-to-week basis. The same survey concludes that men, Hispanics, and young people take the “gym rat” title, beating out their peers by several percentage points in each category.
These fitness fiends are incredibly committed to their regimen. Even being on the road doesn’t deter them from keeping up with their fitness. For example, a survey by TripAdvisor, (a travel website hoteliers should know well) found that “69% say healthy eating is important to them when traveling for leisure, while 53% always or often exercise when they’re on the road.”
No excuses here for these exercise aficionados.
So with fitness being such an important aspect of a majority of travelers’ lives (including those elusive Millennials), it seems like investing in a hotel wellness program is a good route to go, especially if you want to maximize your guest experience and cash in on some serious dough.
But how to go about it? Do you invest all of your budget into creating a poolside oasis or an expensive gym of metallic machinery?
Either route seems like expensive investments for something that may or may not take off at your hotel. We all have different target markets and I would hate to see you put so much into something with little payoff.
Not to mention, if you’re a smaller hotel, space is valuable and you might not necessarily have the area to accommodate these fitness facilities.
So what to do?
Not to worry. I’ve done some digging for you.
Below, I’ll outline the five ways that you can easily jumpstart your own hotel wellness program.
Let’s get started!
1. Partner with Local Businesses
Maybe you don’t have the funds or the space to build your own gym at the moment, but you still want to cater to your fitness enthusiasts.
So how do you make this happen?
Just like with online marketing or even major events, enlisting the services of local trainers is a great way to build a business partnership that can be beneficial to both parties, not to mention save a few bucks in your budget.
Plus, training-led exercise, like yoga, crossfit, and plyometrics, don’t require heavy or expensive equipment, saving you money. Or if the instructor themselves supplies the gear, you’re still let off the hook.
But how to decide what sort of exercise business to partner with your hotel?
It’s all about knowing your audience and how that audience prefers to exercise.
If you haven’t already, you should create a buyer persona as a way to outline your target guest. This works both on a marketing level as well as a way of understand your guests needs so they can be satisfied (and even leave you a great review).
Let’s take yoga, for example.
According to a 2012 study by Yoga Journal, female yogis make up 82.2% of respondents, with 62.8% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 44-years-old.
So what does this mean for you?
Check back over your buyer persona. Are they male, maybe outside of the 18-44 age bracket? Then maybe yoga might not be the best offering to please these guests.
Research what exercise works best for the kind of guests you want to attract. It might take a bit of work, but it can help you begin a successful exercise program that your guests will actually take advantage of.
(Hint: Crossfit actually breaks down 50/50 between genders, so that might be a viable option if your buyer persona includes both men and women.)
2. Make Use of What’s Around You
Are you a hotel that thrives during the snowy season? Are you next to beautiful mountain trails? Or maybe a beachside hotspot?
The best thing about being a hotel in a spectacular location is that you may not even have to supply the exercise programs yourself. It might be just right outside your door.
Up in the mountains with some great trails? You’re in luck.
According to TripAdvisor’s survey, travelers’ top activities on vacation include walking (87%) and hiking (35%), both of which are usually conveniently located next to many mountainside getaways.
Beachside resorts are also lucky too. Swimming is the top-favored physical activity at a staggering 87%. Right next to a beach? All you have to do is direct guests down the shore.
But not all hotel guests like to go it alone. You can only walk and swim for so long.
Again, this is another great opportunity to make connections with other businesses around you.
Is there a surf instructor down at the beach? A ski/snowboarding instructor right outside of your snowside hotel?
Why not make them partners?
By working together with these instructors, you can help promote their business and maybe even take a share of the profits through your recommendation. Not to mention, you can cross promote across social channels for additional online marketing.
And if these instructors offer their own equipment for use, that’s another area where you won’t have to shell out any cash.
3. Offer Healthy Eating Options
Wellness isn’t just about exercise. In fact, it’s been proven that diet is even more important than physical regimen.
That’s why it’s not enough just to tout your physical activities, but your food options as well.
Whether you’re a hotel with a full-on restaurant or even just a bed and breakfast, offering healthy options not only increases your hotel’s wellness profile, but also follows the eating habits of fitness gurus and even Millennial travelers.
Let’s go back to that TripAdvisor survey.
“69% percent say healthy eating is important to them when traveling for leisure.”
That’s particularly true for younger guests, who are more health-conscious than ever before. They’re even willing to spend more to ensure they’re eating healthy, possibly leading to more money in your pocket.
But that also doesn’t mean you have to spend more to make more.
Take red meat, for example.
Red meat is linked with high cancer risks, cholesterol levels, and heart problems, so safe to say it’s not the food of choice for fitness aficionados and young people, who tend to favor lean meat anyway.
But red meat is also notoriously expensive and a lack of guest interest in its consumption could mean more wiggle room in your budget and enable you to buy more of those lean meats that are favored, rather than spending it on red meat that will go uneaten.
Furthermore, health nuts probably emphasize a diet rich in leafy greens, which are substantially cheaper than sourcing beef and other red meats.
4. Provide Mental Relaxation
The body is important, but so is the mind. And the mental relaxation of your guests is one of the top if not of paramount importance to your hospitality.
I mean, if you’re guests leave feeling good, they’re probably more likely to leave a positive review on your site. Need I say more?
So whether you enlist the help of a local yogi (who may also be teaching yoga classes at your hotel) or decide to partner up with local masseuse service, these relaxing options are a great way to get guests to unwind and even relieve possible tension and soreness after a workout.
Plus, it’s also good to cater a bit to those who aren’t as interested in physical exercise. Remember, while 53 percent may keep up their fitness regimen on the road, there’s still 47 percent who are more interested in a little rest and relaxation.
No need to establish your own spa immediately, but if you find your masseuse partnerships successful, building a workspace for them could be the next step.
Hint: You may also want to make your hotel pet-friendly, considering that 72% of travelers feel guilty if they have to leave their pet behind. It’s a good way to rid them of the guilt and improve their overall morale. Anyway, what’s a walk or a hike without the company of a furry friend. Way more fun, in my opinion.
5. Search for Used Equipment
I understand. While all of these are great options, maybe the traditional gym route will be more satisfying to your guests than any of the other options above.
But not to worry. There’s still an easy way to save when it comes to crafting your own iron paradise.
Buy it used.
Whether you go the Craigslist route or get in touch with a gym looking to sell some equipment on the cheap, buying used can save you tons of cash.
Just be sure the equipment is in top shape and that you’re buying from a legitimate source. Just as travelers check out hotel review sites to see what each property has in store, you should employ the same tactic to ensure that your used equipment is top notch.
Don’t need any lawsuits on your hands.
Can you think of any other ways of jumpstarting an affordable hotel wellness program? Have you had success in your own approach to guest health? Let me know in the comments below.
Looking for Hospitality Property Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Hospitality Property Management software solutions.