Westin Drops Its Workout Partnership With New Balance, No More Workout Clothes For Guests

Starwood was a pioneer 17 years ago when it introduced “Westin Workout Powered By Reebok.” They’d make workout clothes available to guests, so you wouldn’t have to pack them but could still get exercise in. And they put exercise equipment in some rooms, too.

The idea was that a hotel doesn’t just give you a place to sleep, and maybe stay nourished, but helps you live your active lifestyle and be ready for the day with peak performance. The trend towards hotels offering a ‘wellness’ or lifestyle experience has only grown since then.

Westin replaced Reebok with New Balance a decade ago, and of course Starwood was acquired by Marriott, and the pandemic hit. Westin’s New Balance partnership has ended and so has the Westin offer to lend guests workout gear. A Marriott spokesperson tells me, “We’ve concluded our successful partnership with New Balance and our Gear Lending Program is currently on pause given the current operating environment.”

I take ‘the current operating environment’ to mean ‘cost cutting due to low revenue’ rather than precautionary due to Covid. Hotels are perfectly capable of sanitizing clothing, they sanitize rooms every day. It’s not clear though whose costs are at issue, the property’s or New Balance’s.

I was tipped to this by a reader who booked a treadmill room at an airport Westin after a missed connection forced them to overnight.

As I had no clothes besides a suit, I asked to get the running shoes, shorts and shirt. I was in one of the workout rooms with a treadmill. They had some clothes remaining and a brand new pair of shoes that they gave me as a gift to keep because since the program ended.


Westin Gym

Many guests are traveling because they have to, and perhaps aren’t making decisions based on which properties help them be at peak performance, although this reader specifically chose the room they did to get some exercise in.

Hotels are going to need to quickly pivot back to being more than place where people sleep or they’ll quickly have a real problem competing against Airbnb.

DoorDash and UberEats make it easy to get food when staying at an Airbnb, so food and beverage may not be as important for some hotels going forward. But offering a place to work out, and making it convenient to do so, is an easy differentiator with a private home or apartment. Business travelers that want to stay healthy on the road, keeping up their workout routine, who want their room cleaned every day or that want healthy eating options or a seat at a bar are going to choose a hotel if those things are on offer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Makes you wonder if Marriott International was paying New Balance and not the other way around.

    But excellent point:

    1) No club lounges for the foreseeable future
    2) Many airport and office park hotels have no open restaurants
    3) No daily housekeeping or turndown service
    4) No bellmen
    5) No newspapers
    6) Coffeemakers gone from making guest rooms; same with slippers and robes
    7) Some pools or gyms closed

    Remind me why I should pay $150-$200 to stay at a full-service branded hotel when Holiday Inn Express or Airbnb is a better value?

  2. While I’ve never taken advantage of the option to borrow clothes/shoes (I always travel with my own), I’ve really enjoyed the exercise opportunities at Westin hotels. Signing up the night before for a 3-5 mile run led by an employee that knows the neighborhood has always been a great way to start the day. The Westin in Pittsburgh was particularly awesome at this – including a healthy buffet afterwards. i hope that part of the program survives. A real differentiator.

  3. @Travis — innovations cost money. Marriott is in a strong position to just coast and stop innovating. Hotels at the end of the day are a place to sleep. If you want to work out, go to Equinox.

  4. Great points, Gary. Considering Delta Diamond’s comments about what hotels have *discontinued* to offer during COVID, hotels needs to pivot *now* unless they want to be in the same situation as taxi cab companies (i.e., losing market share to Uber/Lyft). Post- COVID, they will need to continue to offer new perks to encourage business and to remain competitive against AirBnB.

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