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Guest Column - April 2017

Resorts & Fitness

When a Traditional Gym Is Not Enough

By Giovanni Bersellis


There are multiple reasons why a hotel should include fitness as a "service" for guests. According to Road Runners Magazine, 62 percent of travelers check to see whether a hotel has a workout room during the reservation process. Supplying guests with a hotel gym is not enough anymore—it goes deeper into what the gym can offer guests beyond their stay.

Today, hotels are much more than a comfortable bed and satisfactory breakfast. Now, the battle is all about the guest experience and how to enhance it. The secret ingredients are quite simple and based on keywords like involvement, technology, CRM, sharing. When hotels mix these ingredients with the proper business strategies and down-to-earth sustainable practices, success is around the corner.

Research has shown that hotel guests not only relate more to sustainable practices compared to the past, but prefer to look for green hotels when booking a room. The answer to this new trend and need is the pop-up of many new green hotel booking websites.

"Green" consciousness is a reality in the hospitality industry. Green tourism has been increasingly promoted over recent years due to growing concerns about environmental sustainability in many different industries worldwide. New and existing companies now offer advice and reviews on the best eco-friendly hotels in any location. TripAdvisor, for example, launched its Green Leaders program in early 2013 to monitor the "green" practices of hotels.

Today, hotels are much more than a comfortable bed and satisfactory breakfast. Now, the battle is all about the guest experience and how to enhance it.

For the hotel gym environment, equipment manufacturers are developing products that require less energy and incorporating recycled products made from renewable material. The fitness industry has made advancements over the past years in terms of equipment and electrical demands. Some cardiovascular equipment is now self-powered, eliminating the need for electrical power. The one exception is the treadmill, though some of the latest models use 30 percent less power than traditional treadmills. Unfortunately, there has not been a major green movement in terms of equipment manufacturing, until a few years ago, when a new line of cycles and elliptical was developed. This equipment was the first of its kind to harness the power of human energy and put it back into the grid, specifically designed for hotels.

Here's how it works: Once a guest exercises, power is generated and fed back into the power grid, offsetting power consumption. Watts generated through exercise are converted to AC power and sent back through the facility's power grid to offset energy costs.

In hotel gyms, guests can get fit and "improve the world." When guests work out on this inventive fitness equipment, they generate power that can be immediately used in the hotel or even power their smartphones. Guests can also track their personal contribution and see the total impact in the equivalent number of trees saved or hours of lighting. This approach grants the best motivation to workout.

But how can these features be translated into a hotel's success?

These are the five secret steps of the virtuous cycle:

  • During the room-booking process, a guest can choose a hotel with eco-friendly fitness equipment.
  • When a guest arrives at the hotel, the front desk manager educates individuals on how their workout can "improve the planet"; videos and communication materials can be spread out in different hotel sites (hall, bedroom, restaurant, bar, etc.)
  • Guests can see how much electricity they have produced in a single workout while also charging their smartphones with the power they generate. This electricity is used for the hotel to immediately reduce the generation of CO2 emissions.
  • Using a free app, guests can be easily shown how many watts they have produced, and share their achievement through social media. This action represents genuine, true and convincing advertising for the hotel.
  • Hotel owners can also reward guests based on the number of watts they produce in a single stay, month, quarter or year. This reward program is likely to improve guest loyalty to ensure they will book at the hotel again.

The next step for advanced hotels is to place fitness equipment out of the hotel gym area.

To prevent the current saying, "sitting is the new smoking," hotel managers have found ways to place bikes in unconventional places like sitting areas and conference rooms to allow hotel guests another opportunity to enjoy light exercise. For instance, if a guest is in the lobby watching a sports match that can sometimes last hours, they can produce electricity and charge their smart phone all while exercising.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Giovanni Berselli has more than 20 years of experience in fitness equipment solutions and hotel gym design. He is EMEA Sales Director - Hotel Channel of SportsArt, a firm specializing in eco-friendly fitness equipment and solutions. Berselli works in unison with property owners, architects, hotel managers and interior designers to address fitness solutions and develop functional workout environments. For more information, visit www.gosportsart.com.

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