Sole to supply 150 Hiltons with on-call, guest-room treads

Sole Treadmill may be a relative newcomer on the cardiovascular equipment block, but its fresh concept has taken hold -- landing it a contract to provide its treadmills to 150 Hilton Hotels by the end of the year.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Sole Treadmill may be a relative newcomer on the cardiovascular equipment block, but its fresh concept has taken hold -- landing it a contract to provide its treadmills to 150 Hilton Hotels by the end of the year.

Founded by two former employees of Icon Health & Fitness, who stayed close to Icon's Logan, Utah, offices with Salt Lake City headquarters, and two other partners, Sole designs and supplies treadmills built specifically for easy moving around hotels and in and out of rooms.

Hilton, which announced the program May 20, was convinced after a pilot program late last year that put the treadmills into five different types of Hilton properties in five different markets, Hilton Spokesman Thomas Wingham told SNEWS. Already, the equipment is in 94 Hiltons. The number available to guests at each hotel will vary based on its size and customer demand, he said.

Actually, a brand under the company Fitness Equipment Services, Sole so far only deals in treadmills (six models with list prices from $1,500 to $2,600) built for the company by Spirit Fitness and also sold at Galyan's. Sole's hotel program includes working with the hotels it supplies on maintenance and service -- something that helps convince the hotel properties to take on the concept.

What that means is hotels in the program -- also Kimpton Group's Hotel Monaco, and select Omni Hotels, with a test program currently at Marriott -- aren't necessarily shopping around for other types of equipment or brands to have on-call for guests. Yet.

"As the program evolves, we may explore different fitness services and amenities," Wingham said.

Hilton fitness centers won't change, he said, but this will allow guests who desire privacy or have strict time constraints to book a treadmill for their room in advance for an additional $15 per day -- or once a guest arrives if one is available (www.inroomfitness.hilton.com). With the option for in-room fitness, "we're just providing another choice," Wingham said.

The treadmills (www.soletreadmills.com) have narrower frames for fitting through doors and hallways and into elevators, larger 5-inch wheels for easier moving, folding decks, and a 10-year motor warranty and lifetime deck and frame warranty.

The seeds for the company were planted in January 2000 when the partners, Will MacFarlane and Dave Babcock, former Icon employees, and current vice president of operations Steve Gasser, cruised a trade show to talk to treadmill companies to decide who would or could work with them, MacFarlane told SNEWS. The current models only have subtle differences from Spirit models, including differently shaped front handrails, bigger wheels, and narrower frames, but more drastic differences will come in coming models, he said.

"We're trying to get the mainstream business traveler, the people who go on the road for three or four days and are used to their routine and frustrated when they can't get their workout," Gasser told the New York Times in a recent story. Recently, traveling celebrities willing to pay the price for moving and assembly have had professional exercise equipment delivered to hotel rooms, but it was difficult to move about and could cause noise and vibration problems for guests below or beside the rooms. That led to the idea to design sturdy but portable machines that can be moved from room to room, Gasser said.

SNEWS View: This is one of those times when a lot of folks must be whacking themselves upside the head and saying, "Now why didn't I think of that?" It's obviously not enough for a treadmill to be foldable to be maneuvered around a hotel, so the extra features make the program more attractive to hotels. And, heck, hotels don't have fitness equipment service staff so that addition really makes it a no-brainer since many hotel surveys and business traveler questionnaires these days show that the travelers want to keep up their program but find it frustrating. We will betcha that Sole won't take long to get into other types of equipment too: Think ellipticals and dumbbell sets or even portable home gyms.

Related

FitnessbyPrecor.jpg

Hilton, Precor partner for sleek hotel fitness rooms; part of new Hilton fitness push

As a key part of Hilton Hotel's chain-wide fitness initiative, Precor and Hilton have partnered on hotel fitness rooms that will be mandatory by the end of 2007 in every full-service hotel, with a strict set of standards from size to decor. "We are making a real commitment to ...read more

Spirit goes overseas for new treads

Spirit Fitness – a company that has always proudly touted the Made-in-the-USA banner on its equipment line – has introduced four treadmills that are made in Taiwan. Shown at the Health & Fitness Business Expo & Conference in Denver for the first time, the treadmills allow the ...read more

Hotel workout rooms: A traveler's lament

Hotels starting saying years ago that they recognized travelers' needs and desires for an on-site workout room. That got those of us who travel and like to workout regularly pretty excited. Hotels also said they were indeed putting in such workout rooms to satisfy their guests' ...read more

SportsArt adds limited life warranty on top home treads

Jumping into the arena of lifetime warranties, SportsArt America has added a limited lifetime guarantee on the frame and the motor of its three top-of-the-line 3100 treadmills. A lifetime warranty -- in most cases for original purchasers only -- is common on frames alone, but ...read more

Precor workout room planner: Fitness meets Home Depot

A grid-like space planner for home workout areas and gyms unveiled by Precor could remove a consumer barrier to home fitness, according to the company. If nothing else, the planner offers a pretty fun time, moving around little drawings of everything from shelves and desks to ...read more

Icon to intro package with tread, coaching, supplements, meal plans

Looking for a summer debut, Icon Health & Fitness will step up with a package that the company hopes will give consumers everything they need to help them succeed at fitness: a treadmill, coaching, daily meal plans, and a box of personalized vitamins and pills. Called the Total ...read more

Fitness Quest hires Bill Hebb to get serious about treads

With more than 1 million treadmills under his belt, calling Bill Hebb an industry veteran seems to be a bit of an understatement. But in hiring him to head up its motorized treadmill development, Canton, Ohio-based, Fitness Quest is showing the world it is ready to be a force, ...read more

Life Fitness tread recall public after SNEWS pushes CPSC

A treadmill recall announced in September by Life Fitness was posted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website on Oct. 16 -- back-dated to Sept. 3 by the CPSC -- after SNEWS investigated the recall rumors and pushed the government agency for information. According to the ...read more

TML Partners with Korkers to Supply Guests with Traction Footwear

Tordrillo Range, AK--April, 24th 2012—Tordrillo Mountain Lodge's fishing guests will now be wearing the new award-winning Korkers Metalhead wading boot during Alaskan fishing adventures. The Korkers Metalhead boot won the “Eco-Friendly” award at last year's International ...read more