If you look across the fitness sector, things are changing fast – and hotels aren’t immune to this. Just as health clubs around the world are looking to give more to their members – more variety, more choice, more flexibility, more innovation – so savvy hotels are looking to evolve their fitness provision to reflect current trends.
In many ways, the need for revitalisation of the fitness space is even stronger in the hotel sector than in standalone health clubs. The majority of hotels have traditionally had no more than small, basic, unmanned fitness suites – and many are still limited to this style of offering. But with today’s health-conscious traveller increasingly selecting hotels based on their in-house wellbeing offering, innovation is now vital.
There are of course many challenges specific to hotel-based gyms, not least the need to cost-effectively and safely operate the gym 24/7. There’s a fine balance to be struck between volume of users versus investment in instructors; floor space allocated versus potential yield and perceived value to guests.
So, what’s the solution?
A virtual offering
Wexer’s virtual fitness class platform represents the perfect solution for hotel operators, and can be used in three key ways.
First of all, in the studio. Hotels don’t generally need large group exercise studios – attendance numbers simply don’t demand it. However, many exercisers enjoy the motivation and instruction of a class, so a small studio space is a bonus.
The challenge then is to drive maximum usage of that studio space, without having to invest heavily in instructors for classes that may not be well attended. Wexer’s virtual platform facilitates this. With a wide range of group exercise classes on offer – all led by world-leading instructors and filmed with great production values – this is a great group exercise experience for any guest, bringing energy and motivation to the studio at any time of the day.
The system works on-demand – guests can choose whatever class they like, at any time of the day or night – which means no staff are required. Nevertheless, the set-up is very safe, as the world’s top instructors are on-screen offering in-depth explanations, tips and coaching.
The second opportunity is to offer this same on-demand class system via the television screen in individual hotel rooms. Also equip each room with any simple equipment needed for the classes – you could consider offering a reduced range of classes in-room to keep the kit list to a minimum – and you’ve created personal fitness spaces where the perceived value to guests will far outweigh the investment required.
Finally, using Wexer’s Web Player, hotels have the option to offer virtual class content to guests on their phones or laptops. Accessed via a time-limited password to tie in with the duration of stay, guests can then access high-quality fitness classes wherever they are. It’s a sunny day and you’d like to work out in the park rather than the hotel gym? No problem – take your pick from all your favourite classes, from the palm of your hand.
And as an extra thought, as the balance in gyms shifts increasingly in the direction of functional training, spare a thought for the hotel guest who may need a little more advice than if they were training on a treadmill. Wexer has the solution here too, in the shape of its gym floor product: Wexer Trainer. Offering videos that demonstrate the technique for all exercises, as well as the option to design gym floor workouts that can run without an instructor being present, it’s the perfect addition to a hotel gym.
Proof of concept
Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at the results from Meliã Hotels, which over the last year has piloted Wexer’s virtual class system at two of its hotels – in Palma, Mallorca and in Hamburg, Germany.
The average guest satisfaction score for the gyms at Meliã Hotels is 78.6%, which of course is already pretty good.
However, across the whole Meliã Hotels Group, the highest satisfaction score for an individual gym that doesn’t have Wexer is 76.8%; the overall average noted above has been pulled up significantly by Hamburg and Palma, where the gyms achieve satisfaction scores of 84.5% and 88.4% respectively.
Meanwhile, when asked specifically about satisfaction with Wexer’s virtual classes, the average across the two pilot gyms is a whopping 85.5%.
User feedback has also been very positive, with reviews on the likes of TripAdvisor and Booking.com raving about the virtual classes, the “modern studio” and the 24-hour gym that “offered everything needed”.
For hotels looking to boost guest satisfaction and repeat business by cost-effectively enhancing their fitness offering, it’s clear virtual really does tick all the boxes.
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