Skift Take

While free WiFi and breakfast remain the top perks for business travelers, a shift towards healthy living is spurring hotels to rethink their wellness amenities to help corporate travelers maintain their sleep and fitness routines on the road.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

Fast, free WiFi, a hearty breakfast and a convenient location are among the perks today’s business traveler relies on to be her most productive.

But a number of Road Warriors are looking for – and finding — other amenities when choosing a hotel. These fall into the health and wellness category, and are aimed at helping corporate travelers achieve better sleep, eat healthier and keep up with their fitness routines.

The need is clear. In a Skift survey sponsored by the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass ® Card from American Express, 41.7% of business travelers reported exercising less when on the road, while 22.7% reported working out no less and no more. Only 7.8% said they exercise more when away from home.

Interestingly, 22.8% said it depends on the hotel’s facilities, while 12.6% said the gym was the most important factor in choosing a hotel.

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When asked about their sleep habits on the road, 38.7% said they were worse than at home, 13.7% said they were better and 17.4% said it depends on the hotel. Just under a third – or 30.2% – said they slept no better or worse while traveling for business.

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“The business traveler, when they are on the road is ultimately trying to take as good care of themselves as they can,” says Mia Kyricos, Chief Brand Officer, Spafinder Wellness, Inc. “Their productivity is being squeezed. They really need the hotels to take good care of them.”

To do so, brands are rolling out a host of initiatives aimed at capturing this segment, and a chunk of the $310.2 billion expected to be spent on global business travel this year.

Take gyms. With business travelers arriving at all hours, hotels are seeing the wisdom in keeping their fitness facilities open 24/7, and giving guests keycard access so they can work out upon check-in to shake off that jet lag, or before a 7 am breakfast meeting. Others are giving the business traveler even more autonomy and installing workout gear like Yoga balls and free weights in-room. Conversely, the Road Warrior who prefers to burn calories outdoors is finding hotels that will provide local walking or jogging routes, with some leading daily group runs. Can’t fit your sneakers in your carry-on? A growing number of hotels will lend a pair.

The key? Increased efficiency.

“What you are seeing here is a common theme,” says Chekitan Dev, Associate Professor of Services Marketing at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. “Time is the one resource that everyone is trying to maximize.”

While hotels can’t force a Road Warrior to get to bed at a reasonable hour, they can – and are – creating environments to promote peaceful sleep.

They include bedding tailored to the guest’s preference, back-supporting headboards and noise machines. Road Warriors are increasingly finding iPads in room from which they can place a room service order the night before, or notify the valet before they turn down for the night when they’d like their car ready in the morning. The end result? A few more zzzzs.

But hotels know exercise and proper rest are just a part of the puzzle. Fuel is just as important to a busy executive’s feeling at his best. Hotels are meeting special dietary needs with gluten-free, Vegan and Paleo menu items, as well as grab-n-go kiosks with healthy fare like edamame, granola, salads and smoothies.

“You have consumers now that are more educated about the connection to nutrition and their lifestyles,” says Kyricos. “When they arrive late and they want that snack, they don’t just want the menu that’s from 11 pm to 5 am.”

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor American Express. Get 80,000 bonus points when you sign up for The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express.
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Tags: amenities, wellness

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