5 easy ways to become a health-conscious hotelier

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It’s clear that the wellness wave isn’t going anywhere. Here’s how to quickly and easily get up to speed.

By Crystal Simpson

When it comes to embracing a healthy and active lifestyle, consistency is key. Too often we find ourselves getting into the groove of a morning run and a healthy breakfast, only to have our routines completely derailed by a business trip or vacation.

When faced with the decision of choosing a hotel, many people turn to places that offer healthy choices that support their lifestyle and keep them on track. It’s reported that up to 53 percent of fitness enthusiasts say they exercise – or at least try to exercise – while traveling. If your fitness center is run‑down, dirty or non‑existent, that’s an important demographic you could be missing out on.

Hotel chains such as EVEN Hotels by IHG and TRYP by Wyndham have paved the way for other hoteliers to rethink what it means to be “fitness‑friendly,” and brands like Best Western have stepped up the gluten‑friendly and grab‑n‑go breakfast game.

It’s clear that the hotel fitness trend isn’t going anywhere – if anything, it’s getting stronger. If your hotel could use a little work in this department and you’re not sure where to start, have no fear. We have five easy ways to become a health‑conscious hotelier, attract those valuable health nuts and turn them into repeat guests.

Offer foods with lots of protein options
This one’s a no‑brainer and is often one of the easiest (and most cost‑effective) ways you can accommodate healthy lifestyles. This doesn’t mean you have to kiss your waffle iron goodbye; it simply means ensuring your guests have options so they don’t reach for something they normally wouldn’t in an act of hunger‑driven desperation. Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, hard‑boiled eggs, and steel‑cut oatmeal with plenty of healthy toppings will make sure your runners, climbers, bikers and yogis have options that keep them well‑fed and are consistent with their nutrition goals.

Give ‘em breakfast on the go
Active people often lead busy lives, and many times don’t have the time to sit down and eat breakfast. When people are in a rush, they tend to settle for food that’s fast, convenient and, ultimately, unhealthy. While a fast food treat can be tasty on occasion, for people who are traveling, it can easily turn from a once‑in‑a‑while indulgence into a habit that’s hard to kick. Help guests keep their commitments and their appointments by stocking your breakfast area with healthy, portable options. Selections like bananas, apples, oranges, low‑sugar breakfast bars or high‑protein ready‑made smoothies are easy to grab, and will help your guests make good choices instead of driving through the nearest golden arches for their breakfast.

Rethink your vending machines
When a late‑night snack craving hits, where are your guests most likely to roam in search of sustenance? Vending machines are the quickest and easiest way for guests to get a calorie boost, but those offerings leave a lot to be desired nutritionally. Vending machine snacks tend to be packed with sodium and empty calories, and sometimes all it takes to knock a healthy eater off‑course is a tempting bag of crunchy chips. When thinking about vending machines for your hotel, consider companies that offer fresh, healthy options instead. There are a plethora of resources out there for intrepid hoteliers wanting to offer better choices to their guests – a simple Google search for “healthy vending machines” will open up a whole new world of options you may not have known existed!

Keep your fitness center open longer
In terms of workouts, one size does not always fit all. While one runner may relish in pounding the pavement (or treadmill) before the sun comes up, another may wait until the day is done to get their mileage in. It only takes two weeks without exercise to lose fitness progress – plenty of time for folks to get discouraged. Some people keep unconventional schedules when on the road, and if they find your fitness center doors closed tight every time they swing by, they’re bound to seek other options the next time they book a hotel. If your fitness center is a standard 9–5 joint, you may want to reconsider keeping it open longer to encourage early birds and night owls alike to partake in the awesome fitness amenities you offer.

Make it easy on your guests
Some on‑the‑road athletes are happy with their exercise routine (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), while others like to shake things up (variety is the spice of life!). This is where you can really stand out as a hotelier. Thinking outside the box when it comes to your exercise options is crucial in a world full of movers, shakers and innovators who are constantly thinking of new ways to attract guests.

Many hotel chains have begun offering in‑room fitness options for those who want to squeeze in a quick, private workout. From special guest “Fitness Rooms” stocked with heavy‑hitting equipment like stationary bikes, ellipticals and treadmills, to smaller options like free weights or resistance bands, in‑room fitness is a unique way to let your guests know their health is important to you.

Humans are social creatures, and some thrive on group exercises and classes. It can be hard to branch out and find the perfect class while you’re traveling – so make it easy on your guests and bring the classes to them. Offering group exercise classes like yoga, spin, barre or basic cardio can go a long way in guest attraction.

Taking small steps like these can mean a huge increase in guest attraction and retention. Health‑minded guests are far more likely to choose a hotel with a bounty of fitness amenities and plentiful nutritional options to keep them on track and satisfied. Take these steps, one‑by‑one, and before you know it, your hotel will be a fitness‑friendly powerhouse that guests simply won’t be able to say no to!

Crystal Simpson is a national accounts manager for HOTELSIGNS.com, the nation’s leading provider of ADA‑compliant hotel signage. Contact her at crystalsimpson@hotelsigns.com or at 888‑873‑8726.

Look outside your walls for inspiration
When considering your fitness options, don’t forget to use the world around you!

  1. Got a great greenway near your hotel? Consider offering bike rentals for folks to hop on and explore your beautiful city.
  2. If your facility’s nestled near a river, stand‑up paddle board (or SUP, for those who are savvy) rentals could be a huge hit.
  3. Have a group fitness instructor come in on weekends to host outdoor fitness classes.
  4. If you have a running nut on‑staff, consider utilizing them as a “running concierge” that leads guests on scenic runs around the city.
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