Skift Take

Whether it’s travel companies looking to partner with fitness brands, private equity firms buying up exercise businesses, or new investors looking to pour money into fitness-tech startups, the outlook is rosy for the exercise industry.

The Skift Wellness newsletter is our  weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.

To say fitness is having a moment would be a pretty big understatement.

Boutique fitness is more popular than ever, thanks in part to the platform ClassPass, which makes booking workout sessions easy. Then there’s the fact that exercise studios are filling empty retail spaces across the U.S. Meanwhile, Peloton has made working out at home cool again — the high-end spin bike brand filed for an IPO last month.

So it’s no surprise that all types of industries want to capitalize on Americans’ fitness enthusiasm. For one, hotels like Marriott’s Westin chain are making use of a new Peloton tool that lets loyalists find locations that offer guests use of the property’s luxury bikes.

Considering how many wellness-minded travelers like to exercise while on leisure or work trips, it’s a smart move for both the hotels and Peloton to publicize the partnership. And it does raise the question of whether Peloton will launch its own branded hotels one day.

Cruises also want in on fitness. Uniworld’s Ganges Voyager II ship, for example, has an on-board yogi who leads daily classes, while Oceana Cruises has a partnership with the legacy fitness retreat brand Canyon Ranch. Cruise-goers will likely see more fitness partnerships popping up as travelers continue to look for ways to stay fit while away from home.

As Crunch Fitness CEO Jim Rowley recently said, “Fitness has never been more popular.” He would know: The gym company was just acquired by private equity firm TPG Growth.

There’s no doubt we’ll see more news about fitness partnerships, acquisitions, and even surprising new players in the space (like Lance Armstrong’s new fitness-focused investment firm) in the coming months. There’s no sign that the craze is running out of steam — yet.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @lesliebarrie.

— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor


Hotels Take Peloton Partnership for a Spin: If a hotel already has a gym, why not add a Peloton bike or two? It’s a symbiotic relationship: The hotel gets to attract the wellness set — potentially landing more bookings — and Peloton gets to sell more bikes. Fans of the indoor cycling company can use the hotel finder search tool on its site and up will pop an array of hotels that feature the high-tech, livestreaming bikes. It’s a no-brainer for both parties. Read more here.

Move Over Retreats, Wellness Cruises Are Taking Off: Wellness travel’s popularity is growing, so it’s not shocking that the cruise industry would want to get on board. Uniworld, for example, launched a new wellness and socially conscious trip along the Ganges earlier this year, while Seabourn will be rolling out two itineraries with integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil, M.D. Other big-name cruise companies have partnered with Canyon Ranch, and we will likely see more wellness moves ahead. Read more here.


Crunch Fitness Lands a New Private Equity Owner: The fitness chain’s CEO Jim Rowley claims he’s “ecstatic” about the purchase by private equity firm TPG Growth, saying that “fitness has never been more popular.” He makes a good point. Crunch Fitness is celebrating 30 years of business, retail spaces are now looking to boutique studios and gyms to fill vacancies, and group fitness — which the company considers its key differentiator — is seeing an upswing. Read more here.

Mind & Body

The Wellness Industry Now Has a Presidential Candidate: It’s not every day that a U.S. presidential candidate can list “Oprah’s wellness guru” on her résumé. But Marianne Williamson, a best-selling author and self-described “thought leader,” may just be the country’s first wellness candidate. She has a large following and claims that “the principles of health and wellness and an attitude of peace creation and love is exactly what this country needs.” Even so, polls suggest Americans aren’t ready to put her in the White House. Read more here.


Why Beauty Executives Are Leaving Big-Name Brands for CBD Startups: You might think that securing an executive position at a legacy beauty company like L’Oréal Group would be the peak of your career. But many executives at top-tier beauty brands have left cushy roles to join CBD startups or even launch their own CBD brands. Why the gamble? CBD has the buzz factor, and indie brands can respond quickly. Meanwhile, it might take traditional beauty brands years to get with the times. Read more here.

Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [[email protected]] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.


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Tags: canyon ranch, cbd, cruises, fitness, hotel amenities, Oceania, seabourn, Skift Wellness, uniworld, wellness, wellness travel, westin

Photo credit: A fitness class is shown. Hotels and cruises are looking to capitalize on Americans’ fitness enthusiasm. @mister_a / Unsplash

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