Although fewer Americans are traveling these days due to economic restrictions, the hospitality industry is finally starting to see an upturn among its business travelers. A hilarious survey carried out by travel research firm D.K. Schifflet & Associates Ltd. found that the average business traveler ranked a hotel gym as the 14th most important amenity after free breakfast, an in-room fridge, and an easy-to-use remote control. Even so, in the past six years the number of hotels offering an in-house gym jumped 20% and upscale chains offering fitness facilities has climbed to virtually 100%. This is a great way for frequent travelers to fit in regular exercise and combat weight gain while on the road.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses a new “shoe-share” program between Westin Hotels & Resorts and New Balance which offers running shoes and workout apparel to guests at all 174 Westin hotels and resorts worldwide. Some travelers may never get past the “ick factor” of wearing communal shoes, but Westin sources explain that the process of sanitizing shoes and clothes is identical to washing sheets and towels. Furthermore, shoe inserts are replaced between users to maximize comfort and cleanliness.
A previous Westin survey reported that 72% of its guests utilized the fitness center at some point during their stay. If offering free workout attire to the remaining visitors entices even 5% of them to get to the gym, the project should be considered a success (at least from a health perspective).
For travelers trying to save space in their carry-on bags, Westin’s new program could be an appealing option. Pack only your trip essentials and grab workout gear at the front desk. Happy Gym-ing!