BETHESDA, MD—Health and wellness programs vary from brand to brand. The ideal offering takes a variety of elements into consideration, including guest profiles. Behind all of the research is a simple need: being able to stay active, healthy and happy while on the road—at least that’s what Element Hotels believes to be true. That’s the ethos behind its new fitness offerings.
“To put it simply, our guests are active and fitness-minded while at home, so they expect nothing less than the chance to have a good workout while on the road,” said Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader and VP of distinctive select brands at Marriott International Inc. “Element was designed for the healthy, active traveler who is looking to supply and maintain his or her balanced lifestyle while away from home. That is why we are continually looking for ways to improve our fitness offerings, keeping our guests on their toes (literally). We consider Element an eco and wellness innovation lab and are always taking guest feedback into consideration when piloting new programs like these.”
Included in the updates is the addition of the Your Trainer app. “Element knows that guests want the flexibility of working out at any time of day or night—after all, you never know what jet lag will do,” he said. “That’s why it made perfect sense for us to partner with a brand like Your Trainer—an app that allows our guests to train anytime, anywhere (in their room, in the hotel gym), via custom workout videos created just for Element.” The Your Trainer app itself currently has more than 73,000 members training, according to the company site.
Guests are provided with a training card, which includes a three-digit code, upon check-in. The code allows guests to set up a Your Trainer profile from any iOS or Android device. Once activated, guests will gain access to personal training and yoga in the form of three Element-centric workouts. Typically ranging from 10 to 12 minutes, the brand’s workouts, encompassing several types, include the following: Circuit: Whole Body Blast by Element; Yoga: Rise & Yoga by Element; and Strength: Energized by Element.
Element also made enhancements to its Bikes to Borrow program—an option made possible through the brand’s partnership with MiiR, a Seattle-based lifestyle brand—in which it offers free bikes to guests. “MiiR is an ideal partner because their commitment to sustainability aligns with our practices,” said Stoeckl, who noted the program is a favorite among the brand’s guests. “They are a certified B corporation committed to sustainability and they have a product-to-product model that means for every bike sold, one MiiR bike is donated to someone in need via organizations such as the World Bicycle Relief. Element-branded MiiR bikes feature a three-speed drivetrain; strong, easy to operate v-style brakes; a comfortable upright riding position; comfortable platform pedals; and wide street tires to allow for a more relaxed ride in style.”
Every Element hotel worldwide will now have two MiiR bikes, one medium and one extra large. Bikes are available to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. With more than 3,300 rooms currently available, Element, formerly under the Starwood name, has more than 10,750 rooms in its pipeline. There are currently 22 hotels open under the brand’s name, with 72 more properties in the pipeline.
Element also enhanced its kinetic bike offering by adding new Lifecycle electronic stationary bikes by Life Fitness at five of its properties: Element Boston Seaport; Element Arundel Mills in Hanover, MD; Element Hanover-Lebanon in Lebanon, NH; Element Bozeman in Bozeman, MT; and Element Basalt-Aspen in Basalt, CO. These new pieces of equipment allow Element guests to charge their phones and other digital devices as they pedal.
“Guests often tell us they want healthier options while they’re traveling—whether it’s for food or exercise,” said Anna DeLeo, director of marketing and communications for Element Boston Seaport. “We understand that when a guest is away from home, it’s more difficult to continue a routine, so it’s important for us to incorporate ways for them to maintain that balanced lifestyle. The challenge is ultimately to incorporate things globally that fit with the Element promise of being designed for the healthy, active traveler and that are green, without compromise.”
The Element Boston Seaport markets its new health offerings directly to its guests. The property’s associates inform guests of new available wellness programs when enhancements to the lineup have been made. “We also have earned the respect of the media who help us in sharing news of our new programs and services,” she said. “Each time a guest takes one of our bright green MiiR ‘bikes to borrow,’ they embody our philosophy of maintaining their lifestyle of balance and wellness on the road.”
For Element, staying fit on the road includes healthy food options. “We are a long way away from the unhealthy breakfast buffet, and the sad, dark and neglected hotel gym of years ago,” Stoeckl said. “Our guests eat well and work out in their day-to-day lives, so they don’t want to abandon these practices while traveling. That is why Element is so proud of the way we have transformed the extended-stay experience through a commitment to healthy, whole living.” For example, the Element brand offers its Rise breakfast, which provides guests with options like egg-white omelets and homemade granola. The Restore pantry also offers guests a range of healthy snack options, including nuts, yogurts and energy bars.
As for what’s next on the extended-stay brand’s agenda when it comes to delivering fitness offerings—who knows? “Beyond these new offerings, we are always looking to innovate and are currently piloting ideas at our Marriott Innovation Lab while taking in real-time feedback from our guests,” Stoeckl explained. “Stay tuned.”