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Destination Fitness: Tap the Tourist Market

Do you provide health and wellness services to the vacationing population? If not, this could be a lucrative new market for you. Services targeting tourists can include fitness camps, with weeks dedicated solely to losing weight; personal training in hotel rooms; boot camps in local parks; and even group tours utilizing jogging, walking or biking to see the sites. Increasing your tourist business will lead to more local business and a stronger presence and status for you in the fitness world.

“People who are active at home and lead healthy lifestyles look for vacations that offer wellness and fitness classes and full-service spas, as well as everything else a destination has to offer,” explains Caroline Peifer, wellness coordinator for Sunset World Hotels and Resorts. Based in Mexico, the company takes advantage of the Yucatan Peninsula’s natural resources to offer vacation packages that include biking through jungles, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and snorkeling.

What You Can Do

As a personal trainer, how can you profit from destination fitness? Since it’s your city or rural community that visitors have chosen for their vacation, incorporate local attractions into the workouts.

Your first step should be setting up a plan of action. Remember that while clients will be expecting a workout, they are still on vacation and will want an element of fun and luxury. As you plan your services, bear in mind that creativity often enhances marketability.

  • Teaching Classes/Giving Tours. Using the natural surroundings that have already lured vacationers to your area, you can teach a heart-pumping, muscle-building fitness class. Parks and beaches make the perfect settings for these classes. For example, New York’s Central Park boot camps command from $20 to $30 per person per class. Sightseeing tours have become increasingly popular as a quick, easy and entertaining way to explore. By including a wellness aspect in tours, you will make these attractions all the more alluring. Walking and biking tours have taken off in many cities.
  • Training Visitors. Wealthy visitors to your city may require a bit more privacy and personal attention for their training sessions. Moving your practice to private gyms or even your clients’ hotels will allow you not only to cater to these needs but also to charge more for sessions.

Getting the Word Out

Once you have decided what type of services you want to offer to visitors, you need to market those services. Here are a few steps to think about:

  • Set Up a Business Website. As you visit local hotels, shops or tourist attractions to build your network and seek out potential partnerships, have information about your services readily available. A business card with a website detailing your programs is a good way to establish yourself.
  • Develop Your Contacts. Contacts are your key to excelling in the hospitality world and securing new clients. Helpful contacts include local sport retailers, tourist attractions and hotels. Smaller hotels may be more willing to set up partnerships with you. Offer hotels a percentage of your in-room training fee in exchange for promoting your services.
  • Promote Your New Services. Advertise in local magazines and newspapers, and list your programs in event calendars or materials distributed to hotels. Make sure you tell your existing clients about your new services, to raise awareness of them. Peifer also suggests encouraging your clients to consider a fitness vacation themselves, so that they maintain activity levels while they are away.

For additional insights on destination fitness, including suggestions on what to charge for your new services, please see the full article, “Destination Fitness,” by Jennifer Kress in the online IDEA Library or in April 2010 IDEA Fitness Journal.


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Jennifer Kress

Jennifer Kress is a NASM-certified personal trainer with over 7 years’ experience in the fitness industry. She is currently working as an independent trainer and fitness instructor in Manhattan. She is running the fitness training for the first 8 Weeks to Wellness® program in New York, which celebrated its grand opening in January.

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