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Shaping Up

Eco-friendly Element Brand Ups Commitment To Fitness With New Programs

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Dennis Nessler
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Having long ago established a deep commitment to the environment, the eco-friendly Element brand is increasing its commitment to the fitness environment in all of its properties with a handful of new initiatives.

The extended-stay brand has unveiled three specific programs designed to give guests more ways to stay active and healthy on the road. Element has increased its fitness program through partnerships with Your Trainer—an app that offers training videos—as well as MiiR Bikes, through which the company has increased its Bikes To Borrow program. In addition, Element is relaunching and expanding its offering of kinetic bikes.

The flag is now part of the Marriott International brand family after being launched in 2008 by Starwood Hotels & Resorts—which was subsequently acquired by Marriott—and includes some 22 hotels open and operating. The brand also has a robust pipeline with as many as 15 hotels slated to open this year, according to Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader, vp, distinctive select brands, Marriott International.

He described the typical Element visitor and what drove the latest initiatives. “This guest is really the healthy active individual; someone who is looking to stay healthy and balanced, most importantly, on the road. Even though they might be traveling for longer stays it doesn’t mean they want to sacrifice their workout routine and style of living…The brand’s always been about that and really being there for this active lifestyle and we thought there was more opportunity to lean in further into that,” he said.

Stoeckl, who described the programs as being cost neutral to owners, noted the brand already offers fitness amenities such as natural saline swimming pools and spacious motion fitness centers. He further commented on the importance for the brand to up the ante on the health and wellness.

“We wanted to figure out new ways to innovate around the fitness space. It’s really about how do we extend that active lifestyle further with every hotel that we open. We have a great pipeline, we’re going to open quite a few hotels this year and all those new hotels will have the new programming in place from the start,” he said.

The Your Trainer app allows fitness enthusiasts to train anytime, anywhere via custom workout videos that adapt to the individual. The program monitors his/her goals against his/her body type in an effort to achieve optimal results. Upon check-in, guests are provided with a training card that includes a three-digit code. The code allows guests to set up a Your Trainer profile from any iOS or Android device, gaining access to personal training and yoga in the form of three Element-centric workouts during their stay. The workouts range from 10 to 12 minutes and include Circuit: Whole Body Blast by Element; Yoga: Rise & Yoga by Element; and Strength: Energized by Element.

Stoeckl acknowledged the company sees Gen x and Gen Y as its primary target but added it less about the age and more about a mindset when it comes to the aforementioned technology. “We understand that the younger [guests] or next generation work out more than prior generations in terms of the number of workouts and the type of workouts. The reason we think the Your Trainer app works really well is you can do it by yourself or as a group if you wanted to. If you didn’t want actually to be on the equipment that’s in the motion fitness sensor you can also do that anywhere in the space outside of the hotel,” he said.

Bikes to Borrow, meanwhile, is a signature program that offers guests complimentary bikes with helmets along with a local trail map, even in urban locations. Element has partnered with MiiR, a certified B corporation committed to sustainability. Every Element will now have 2 MiiR bikes, one medium and one extra large, available to guests.

In addition, as part of MiiR’s Product to Project model, every bike sold supports mobility both in the U.S. and abroad. To date, MiiR’s giving program has donated over 4,500 bikes via programs like World Bicycle Relief, Boise Bicycle Project and Seattle Bike Works.

Element is refreshing its kinetic bike offerings by outfitting select Element fitness centers with new Life Cycle electronic stationary bikes by Life Fitness that let guests charge their phones and other digital devices as they pedal. The following five Element properties now have all-new Infinity Series Self Powered Bikes: Element Boston Seaport; Element Arundel Mills; Element Hanover Lebanon; Bozeman and Element Basalt-Aspen.

Stoeckl underscored the importance of the brand’s sustainability focus as well. “Our guests are actually quite passionate about supporting and being part of a brand that is really conscious of the environment. All of our hotels are built green from the ground up, so the feedback we’ve gotten from consumers and guests is extremely positive and aids in their buying decision. They like to support a brand that has a similar passion to their own, which is being concerned about the environment and ensuring we have green practices.”

Finally, Stoeckl suggested that there could be more changes to be announced by the brand at the upcoming ALIS conference in Los Angeles later this month.
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Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
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