As an industry, we seem to be obsessed with the idea of finding and following the latest wellness trends. Unpacking some of the reasons we do that is another topic for a later article. But for now… I was reading a recent Top 10 Wellness Trends list and it struck me that maybe laziness is the trend we should be trying to leverage.
And I’m only half-joking.
You may have heard about the launch of Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness concept earlier this year.
Catchy name! I guess 152.4 Centimetres to Fitness just didn’t have the same ring. 😉
The concept basically puts a mini-gym right in your hotel room. They put in a Gym Rax storage and suspension system, Lyft soft medicine balls for weight training, a TRX Suspension Training System, a Kiosk (ie: interactive TV screen) to guide you through 200 exercise tutorials and 25 classes and… a bike. Yes, they even have a Wattabike in the room. It certainly goes a bit further than the good ol’ yoga mat rolled up in corner of your closet. But in case you’re wondering, they do have one of them too.
In-room fitness and wellness equipment is, of course, not a new concept. Over the years, hotels have tried everything from yoga mats and dumbbell sets to massage chairs. Invariably, the results of these initiatives have all been the same. They get an initial PR boost from the coverage of the ‘new and innovative’ concept, then it quietly fades into the background.
Reading through the press release when it was announced back in March, Hilton highlights privacy and convenience (ie: time) as the big benefits. I kinda get the privacy bit. Especially for the female traveler who would rather not face the hotel gym crowd in her active wear. But convenience? Time saving? Have we really gotten to the point where we won’t even leave our hotel room for a workout? Much as it might seem like a ridiculous suggestion, no doubt there will be a small group of hotel guests who say yes.
That’s when I realized what Hilton is really doing, is leveraging laziness.
How often have you heard the idea that time is our most valuable asset? Don’t get me wrong, I agree. But lack of time has become the catchall excuse for a generation. Our inability to control all the distractions in our lives – think social media, mobile phones, etc. – is sucking up this valuable resource we keep complaining we don’t have enough of. Combine this with all the noise out there about quick fixes and shortcuts and you have the Perfect Storm of Laziness. And this applies to everything. Education, Career, Travel, Food, Health and yes, Wellness – everything.
We want what we want and we want it now and we don’t want to have to work too hard for it. Coz we’re lazy. We really want to get fit for summer, but the 7 Minute Workout is about all we’re willing to commit to. Coz we’re lazy. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Does it work? I guess so. But why has it become so popular? Less time required. That’s great. Coz we’re lazy. Look at dietary supplements. A recent study says this will be a $220 Billion market in the next 5 years. A balanced diet is generally agreed to be the best way to get the nutrients we need. But that requires a bit too much effort. Supplements! That’s an easy solution. We like that. Why? Coz we’re lazy.
Will 152.4 Centimeters to Fitness prove to be a watershed moment for hotel wellness? I don’t think so. My guess is it will go the way of other similar initiatives. However, what if we were to run with this theory of laziness (pardon the pun)? What service offerings could we come up with to cater to the modern lazy guest? Iron your shirt while you have a massage. Shine your shoes while you have a reflexology treatment. These are just a couple of ideas I wrote about before in The Future of Hotel Spas. If you really think about it, they are leveraging the trend of laziness.
Any other ideas?
PS: Just in case there’s any hotels out there looking for a new in-room concept, here’s one. What I’d like to see in hotels is something like these stand up desks. Or even these Treadmill Desks. As a regular corporate traveler myself, I would be interested in trying out something like this. But it’s something I’d want to try before I buy and if I’m stuck in a hotel room for a few days on a business trip, that’s a great opportunity to try it out. If I owned one of these ‘active desk’ companies, I’d be offering them to hotels for free to trial in their executive suites. Win Win if you ask me. Hotel gets a new PR story. Guest gets to try before they buy. Desk company gets practical exposure to potential customers.
PPS: If I want a real workout, I’ll just go down to the gym thanks. I’ll find the time.