We’ve discovered lots about the wealthiest U.S. travelers recently. They rank Four Seasons as their most preferred luxury hotel brand; they visit Caribbean destinations more often than general U.S. travelers; they consider Wi-Fi as the most important hotel amenity; and they strongly value ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences. Now we find out that they care more about health and fitness than the rest of us, and might also outlive us.
In the Resonance 2016 Luxury Travel Report, we found that the rich not only travel a lot, they focus on fitness much more too. Based on interviews of 1,667 U.S. travelers in the top 1 percent and top 5 percent of household income and net worth, we found that Fitness Centers are twice as important to the top 1 percent compared to U.S. travelers in general (40% vs. 20%).
Our report shows that the top 1 percent are also likely to participate in Health and Fitness 78 percent of the time compared to just 60 percent for general U.S. travelers while on vacation.
Luxury hotel chains have realized this and are taking note. The Westin brand operate runWESTIN — a program partnered with New Balance that provides guests with three and five mile run routes and group runs led by a run concierge. At the hotel’s Grand Central location in New York, more than 2,000 guests paid $5 to use a new pair of sneakers and have clothes delivered to their room in 2015. The program had a 16 percent increase in requests year over year last year.
Among the top 1 percent, it’s Four Seasons that ranks highest for Spa and Fitness facilities in our survey. In Four Seasons Los Angeles Beverly Hills, it’s likely the range of available options that are the buzz in the high net worth community.
The LA location has 200 in-room workout videos and partners with Blue Clay Fitness, a fitness firm that trains celebrities. The hotel also arranges hikes to nearby Runyon Canyon with a Blue Clay Fitness trainer. Four Seasons’ fitness center is also LA’s only exclusively outdoor hotel gym, offering guests as much time in the California sun as possible.
While the big players in the luxury hotel industry are successful in attracting the wealthy cohort of travelers, it’s not stopping new chains from entering the discussion.
EVEN hotels, a wellness-focused hotel chain owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, opened in 2014 specifically to meet travelers’ wellness needs. Every room has a training zone with a yoga mat, exercise ball, foam roller and a mounted fitness wall with resistance bands, plus 19 videos and training guides. And for luxury travelers who may have forgotten their gym clothes, Trump Hotels and Fairmont have partnered with Under Armour and Reebok to help guests style their workout.
Spa Facilities and Programming are almost twice as desirable to the top 1 percent compared to regular travelers (33% vs. 17%) we also found.
While many hospitality health services are new, wealth has long been associated with health. Nancy E. Adler, Ph.D., a professor of medical psychology at the University of California at San Francisco, told Men’s Health magazine that social class is simply the best predictor of health.
“If you could know only one thing about a person and predict that person’s health and longevity, you’d ask about social class. It’s even more important than family history.”
Similarly, the New York Times reported that about 90 percent of the top 1 percent describe themselves as being in excellent or good health, compared with 75 percent of everybody else. About 85 percent expect to live into their 80’s, compared with 68 percent of everybody else.
For some of the wealthy, mere health isn’t enough – fitness has to be proven. Almost 50 percent more 1 percent travelers participate in Athletic Competitions than U.S. travelers in general: 46 percent to 31 percent.
So if they know they care about fitness, and hotels know it, then perhaps the question isn’t ‘why do the high net worth care more about fitness while on vacation?’ but instead, ‘why don’t the rest of us?’
Luxury hotels are paying attention to the emphasis on fitness and wellness. While ‘going green’ may be the mantra for the affordable and price conscious guest, when it comes to luxury, the future of hospitality isn’t greenness, it’s fitness, so we can expect to see more experiential offerings in health and fitness in the future.
For the complete list of fitness preferences of the top 1 percent and top 5 percent, as well as the entire travel and accommodation preferences of America’s wealthiest travelers, you can purchase the full report here.