November 30, 2023

All too often the leisuretriptips club of a hotel tells a different story from the bedrooms or public areas. There aren’t many hotels that don’t have high levels of cleanliness, a luxurious finish, up to date decor and a sense of corporate belonging within the main body of the hotel, however move down the corridor to the leisure club and prepare for disappointment.

I have witnessed many poorly decorated clubs, cluttered with a range of dog eared, “clip art” inspired posters stuck to walls, doors, equipment (in fact anything that does not move) and an eclectic range of ageing fitness equipment. A glance into the changing rooms will often confirm my worst fear, mouldy shower cubicles and the pool area looks like I may catch some horrible foot infection.

Finally on my hit list, the leisure club staff; do they work for the same hotel as the smart and attentive receptionists, are they stuck behind the desk with super glue and will they ever offer to help me as I struggle to programme the treadmill?

I am sure you agree that the description above paints a poor picture, and some may say extreme, but when did you last take a long hard look at your leisure club with a detailed eye. Don’t let leisure in your hotel become unloved and uncared for, make leisure an area that pays dividends for you with increased leisure guests and a strong secondary revenue stream from paying members.

So what is your leisure club telling your guests?

An uncared for leisure club tells your guests that you do not have an eye for detail and do not drive high standards throughout your hotel (they may well think “if the showers are dirty here where I am allowed in, how dirty are the kitchens?”)

A poor experience will put guests off re-booking your hotel, if they want a leisure club as part of their experience they will seek one of high quality next time, probably one of your competitors

External members (local residents and corporate members) using your leisure club will assume this is the standard in the rest of the hotel, making them unlikely to book functions, restaurant reservations or recommend the hotel to their friends/families – can you afford to throw away their business?

Mystery shoppers may include their leisure club experience in their overall report, bringing down your hotel score and potentially jeopardising your ratings

Just one poor staff experience will reflect poorly on all the staff in your hotel, guests will remember the one poor experience long after they have forgotten the nine positive experiences they received

So it’s time to get down to it, take a long hard look at your leisure club and see what you can change to improve your operational standards and get the buzz back from your leisure club, and yes it can become a profit centre of it’s own if operated effectively.

Sarah Sedgwick has a first degree in Sports Administration and Science and a master’s degree in the Sociology of Sport and Sports Management. She has over twenty years experience of managing premium health clubs and corporate fitness facilities alongside a wide range of amateur sports committee membership.

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