I have exercised in over 100 hotel gyms. Some are great, fully outfitted with the latest gear. Some are tired and broken down.
Today as I was doing my morning workout, I was thinking about how these rooms get put together.
Does any hotel developer actually interview potential guests before they plan and construct the gym? It doesn’t appear so.
Some, like the gym at the Stella Di Mare Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt where I am today (and is in the photo here) have interesting views. But most gyms are relegated to the hotel basement. Why?
How do they decide what equipment to buy and in what quantities? They must just study existing gyms and do what every other hotel does.
“Because everyone does it this way” isn’t the right way
The accepted ratio seems to be two treadmills for every one elliptical. Why?
The stationary bikes are nearly always empty of riders. Who decided on wasting money on those things? (My theory is they were popular in the 1970s but nobody told the hotel gym people.)
And for something really weird, consider that no matter how large or how small the hotel gym, there is always precisely one set of dumbbells! In the tiny Courtyard Marriott gym in Bangor, Maine (where I was about ten days ago) there was just one treadmill, one bike, and one elliptical. Yet they had one set of dumbbells. But at the Intercontinental in Cairo, which boasts a huge gym with some three dozen pieces of equipment that were mostly unused while I was there this weekend, I witnessed four people sharing one set of dumbbells.
"Dude, turn off the music."
Don’t even get me started on the music. Nearly all hotel gyms play music. Loud music. But at the same time, my informal analysis shows that about 75% of people in the gym wear headsets (usually in Apple white).
So while customers listen to their personal iTunes music selection, perhaps enjoy an audiobook, or they plug into the exercise equipment’s integrated television screen sound, the gym still pumps in the music. An annoying musical clash results, so people play their music with enough volume to overpower the gym music. Do hotels operators realize they are contributing to customers' hearing loss?
Who the heck decides to annoy 75% of their customers with a practice that can be fixed in one second?
Understanding your buyers
Why not learn from what people actually do in the gym and turn the damned music off? Why not get a second set of dumbbells?
Of course, this isn't a post about hotel gyms. It is about understanding your buyers.