by Bo Barber
A hot shower, comfy bed, and a roof overhead is not enough anymore. Today’s travelers are looking for accommodations that allow them to escape their daily lives and engage in “self-care” without leaving the comfort of their hotel. In response, major players in the hospitality industry are making structural shifts in how they prioritize amenities, taking significant moves toward expanding fitness, wellness, and recreational offerings to bring guests a variety of activities that cater to their needs and lifestyles.
Focused on attracting all demographics – families, young couples, weekend warriors, retirees – hotels are investing in a variety of modern amenities in an effort to offer something for everyone to enjoy. With the goal of trying to keep people in the hotels as long as possible, major players are building entertainment and wellness facilities into the hospitality experience. By adding unique dining, wellness centers, spas, immersive fitness centers, and unique recreational spaces both indoors and out, designers are looking to provide the ultimate vacation experience without guests needing to leave the premises.
For designers – and guests – that experience starts from the ground up. While there are many design elements to consider with this new trend – including lighting, furniture, and equipment – one of the most important considerations is specifying the best flooring option. Whether the development is indoor or outdoor, the right flooring can make all the difference in how well the new offerings are received by guests and withstand the test of time.
The definition of fitness has evolved considerably over the last few decades. Today, fitness is a broad term encompassing traditional exercises such as running, biking and lifting weights, as well as functional fitness and wellness activities including yoga, Pilates, bodyweight training, outdoor training, dance, HIIT workouts and more.
To accommodate all of these activities, and the different populations of guests demanding them, hotel fitness facilities are expanding significantly to embody the appropriate room, amenities and resources for each activity. From building a studio for dance and HIIT classes or a sports field with outdoor turf, to ensuring facilities include total body resistance exercise equipment or an outdoor running trail, hotels are investing in next generation fitness.
Creating a strong foundation is key to athletic performance. That is why safety and functionality are vital to guests looking for a quality workout experience. Resilient flooring made with performance rubber is an ideal choice for fitness center ergonomics. It offers a slip-resistant and moisture-resistant surface, which improves performance and safety near weights, aerobic rooms, functional fitness areas, outdoor running trails, courts, multipurpose gyms, and locker rooms.
Resilient flooring with composition rubber backing also provides a cushioned, ergonomically supportive foundation that protects guests from physical stress often caused by more traditional hard surfaces. The rubber backing absorbs shock with each step and creates a relaxed and energizing experience. The force reduction found in rubber flooring reduces the incidence of joint injuries from impact, creating comfort and support for guests engaging in a variety of activities from push-ups to deadlifts and everything in between.
When it comes to hotel wellness facilities, today’s guests are seeking the ultimate in luxury and pampering. With this in mind, it is imperative for wellness spaces to provide a calming environment that is not disrupted by loud or excessive noise so guests can fully immerse themselves in the services and escape the day-to-day bustle.
Whether it is meditation, yoga, massage or a soothing facial, pounding music, guest foot traffic, loud phone calls, slamming doors or other extraneous noise can all detract from a spa experience. To ensure sound levels are controlled in a wellness space, specifiers must incorporate effective acoustic design into their plans – starting with the most effective flooring material.
To isolate noise within a spa and dampen its impact, absorptive materials can be used to reduce reverberation of sound. Absorptive materials such as acoustic ceiling panels and rubber-backed flooring can have a significant impact on sound reduction. New technology in resilient flooring enables wellness facilities to create a strong, durable foundation for a variety of self-care activities while helping to dissipate acoustic energy for improved acoustics both within the room and elsewhere in the hotel.
Resilient flooring has become a staple in wellness spaces such as spas and yoga studios, providing the sound absorbing qualities needed to mitigate unwanted noise without sacrificing safety or aesthetics. Rather than reflect noises off of hard surfaces back into the space, rubber-backed flooring dampens sound to create a quieter, more enjoyable atmosphere.
Furthermore, wellness facilities must maintain a high level of cleanliness to ensure an optimal experience for guests. Guests want to enjoy a freshly cleaned room that feels new, where they are free to interact with the amenities and equipment in the room without concern for a lingering health hazard hidden in the flooring fibers. Resilient flooring offers exceptional hygienic qualities with hard surfaces that combat allergens like mold
and mildew – perfect for warm, dewy rooms that call for higher humidity to enhance the wellness experience. Bacteria and germs are easily wiped clean, along with other microscopic particles that have nowhere to burrow in the seamless surface. When a guest walks in to see a sparkling floor, they can rest easy knowing the room is fresh and there aren’t any potential health hazards propagating beneath their toes.
Hotels no longer want to be a place to sleep in between day trips to vacation destinations – they want to be the destination. To keep guests and families excited about staying in the hotel and wanting to come back for more, many are creating their own unique recreational amenities such as paintball, interactive video games, elaborate playgrounds, outdoor fire pits and family-friendly dining experiences. All of these recreational offerings require the right flooring to keep guests happy and safe while enjoying all that the hotel has to offer.
Especially when kids are involved, it is important for flooring to be hygienic and durable. Just as resilient flooring materials are excellent defenders against germs and allergens, they also make cleaning and maintenance easier for staff. They can be swept and cleaned quickly, even after several spills, allowing the kids to keep playing while parents take a break.
In addition, the lifespan of resilient flooring has evolved greatly over the past few years. There are resilient flooring surface options available that are designed to withstand incredible abuse – such as pounding foot traffic, heavy machines or intense running – while maintaining their physical integrity and performance. Resilient flooring with composition rubber backing features energy restitution so the surface bounces back unharmed after experiencing stress or pressure – such as a heavy video games, flag football tournaments on turf, or hours of playground shenanigans.
These flooring solutions offer an advantage over carpeting or hard surfaces that cannot undergo the same stressors without requiring repairs or replacement that further increase the cost of maintenance. Available for indoor or outdoor use, resilient flooring is a durable option to keep guests happy and active without leaving the hotel.
Get the Right Look
When designing the next generation amenities that will set a hotel apart from other competition, aesthetics are just as important as functionality and performance – starting with flooring surfaces. In fact, in a world where social media greatly influences consumer decisions, a hotel’s aesthetics may be on par with its customer service in impacting the decision making of desired audiences. Thus, many hospitality leaders are investing in superior materials for their fitness, wellness, and recreation space to ensure they are providing guests with a fresh experience that is on-trend and memorable.
The different selections for resilient flooring have greatly expanded over the years to keep pace with developing décor trends. Many of the resilient surfaces with rubber backing come in a myriad of colors and textures to ensure a one-of-a-kind experience for the eye and the foot. Designers can choose from traditional composition rubber flooring for weight rooms and fitness centers, as well as rubber-backed surfaces that mimic various materials such as wood or stone for wellness and recreational space. In addition, many specifiers are opting for more artistic patterns and colors that are customized for their specific project palettes – such as materials that glow under black lights for laser tag or outdoor flooring to create a Zen spa for meditation.
Next Generation Hospitality
Hospitality design has evolved tremendously in recent years as hotel guests increasingly seek and demand more and better amenities to elevate their vacation experiences. To ensure these new amenities attract guests, meet expectations and provide a meaningful ROI, it is important for facility managers and designers to consider the total environment and to invest in high quality foundational materials that offer maximum benefits across all types of uses. Resilient flooring is not only durable, but also ergonomic, hygienic, and acoustically and aesthetically pleasing allowing it to cater to the needs of virtually any type of exercise or activity.