Hotels riding along with Peloton craze

An in-room Peloton Bike at a Westin hotel.
An in-room Peloton Bike at a Westin hotel.

When it comes to fitness fads, few have proven to have as much staying power -- or have built as solid a cult following -- as indoor cycling brand Peloton. And with hotels increasingly seeking to offer guests a more high-end and curated exercise experience, properties across the U.S. are opting to showcase Peloton's stationary bikes both in their fitness centers and in room. 

"From the very beginning, we heard from our community that they really want to continue working out with Peloton while they travel," said Ryan Crabbe, senior director for commercial experience at Peloton. "Over the years, we've very intentionally developed relationships with forward-thinking hotels, and the bikes are really celebrated, both by our members who want to continue their Peloton fitness routines while away from home and those who are staying at hotels and just decide they want to ride with us."

A latecomer to the indoor cycling, or "spinning," phenomenon that began sweeping the nation roughly two decades ago, Peloton launched in New York in 2012. But while earlier entrants to the cycling studio space like SoulCycle and Flywheel have largely focused on in-person group classes characterized by thumping music and energetic instructors, Peloton has carved out a niche by combining that same immersive group experience with in-home convenience. 

The brand's business model centers on the stationary, tech-enabled Peloton Bike, which is designed for home use and retails for $2,245. Using the bike's 22-inch touchscreen, riders can opt to join group cycling classes virtually, many of which are streamed live from Peloton's New York studios. Subscription access to unlimited live and on-demand classes is priced at $39 per month. 

But despite a relatively high cost barrier to entry, Peloton's popularity has largely eclipsed that of its peers, with the brand reporting 1.25 million collective bike owners, app subscribers and live studio members. The company has successfully transitioned into other fitness categories, as well, including yoga, meditation, running and stretching workouts and has introduced a $4,295 treadmill. In early June, the company reportedly began the process of filing for an IPO, with media outlets pegging the company's valuation as high as $8 billion. 

Given Peloton's rapid rise and strong brand equity, it comes as no surprise that hotels are eager to be partners. In 2017, Marriott's Westin brand was among the first major flags to forge a Peloton partnership, offering access to the company's signature stationary bikes at Westin fitness studios and in select guestrooms. 

"Peloton members often say the hardest part of traveling is that their Peloton Bike cannot come with them," said Brian Povinelli, senior vice president and global brand leader for Westin Hotels & Resorts. "We've found that 65% of travelers say they exercise less while traveling for leisure or business. Now more than ever, the hotel industry is recognizing that there needs to be a solution to make it easier for wellness-seeking travelers to get a workout in."

Demand has been especially strong for Westin's in-room Peloton Bikes, Povinelli added.

"The reasoning for their popularity is largely because of the convenience these rooms offer, as guests -- especially business travelers -- look for a quick, early morning workout before setting out to visit their destination or attend a business meeting," he said. "Also, some guests simply prefer the privacy these rooms offer."

Peloton Bikes are available at more than 70 Westin locations across the U.S., with guests able to upgrade to in-room bike accommodations for an additional fee. 

The Emery, a boutique property that opened in downtown Minneapolis earlier this year, has also adopted Peloton Bikes, with several available at its fitness facility. According to Patricia Davis, senior vice president of marketing at Davidson Hotels & Resorts, which manages the Emery, Peloton's class component has made the bikes a particular draw for travelers.

"Peloton allows you to plug into the class and be a virtual part of it from wherever you are," said Davis. "The workouts are just as high energy as being there in person."

Meanwhile, with the number of hotels offering Peloton expanding quickly, the company recently unveiled its online Hotel Finder tool, an interactive map showing which hotels across the U.S. have Peloton Bikes. Each hotel has its own profile on the map, indicating whether its bikes are offered in fitness centers or in-room and how many it has. The tool also links to each hotel's direct-booking platform, though Peloton does not receive a commission for any bookings made via the site.

"We learn about our members' preferences through their engagement on social media platforms, and we noticed that members were exchanging tips, stories, intel about Peloton Bikes at hotels," said Peloton's Crabbe. "The primary driver behind Hotel Finder was really wanting to make it easier for our members, many of whom specifically seek out accommodations with Peloton Bikes."

Crabbe added that members can message Peloton to suggest hotels that they'd like to see added to the Hotel Finder network, and Peloton would subsequently reach out to the property to alert them to the request. For hotels, the cost of a bike is slightly higher than on the consumer-facing side ($2,395), with a class subscription also at $39 per month per bike.

Roughly 300 hotels are currently registered on Hotel Finder, with that number growing by as many as 25 listings a day. 

"Digital fitness amenities have certainly arrived and will only continue to accelerate in popularity, whether they're in hotel rooms or simply offered for guest use during a stay," said Crabbe.

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