Hilton, What Kind of Survey WAS That, Anyway???

by SharonKurheg

If you pay attention to the points and miles world, the hotel world, or just the travel world in general, you’ve probably recently read that Hilton and Peloton are teaming up to enhance the travel wellness experience. The press release about that news explains how Hilton is becoming the first hospitality brand to feature Peloton Bikes across its entire U.S. hotel portfolio of 18 award-winning brands. From the press release:

By the end of the year, nearly all 5,400 U.S. Hilton-branded hotels – from Hampton by Hilton to Waldorf Astoria – will feature at least one Peloton Bike in every fitness center, providing guests with a more holistic wellness experience, including access to Peloton’s world-class instructors and expansive connected fitness content.

In the press release, they also mention that, “A recent Hilton survey of U.S. travelers indicated an overwhelming 98 percent of respondents are prioritizing wellness activities while on the road…” I guess that’s how they’re explaining why the partnership is going to happen. Wellness, Peloton…makes sense.

That information was not new, by the way. It was originally mentioned in a Hilton “trend report” this past spring: “In a recent Hilton survey of U.S. travelers*, an overwhelming 98% of respondents said they are now prioritizing wellness activities while on vacation.” Notice that little asterisk after “travelers?” If you went down to the bottom of the report, they specified that:

*The Hilton Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 Nationally Representative US Adults Ages 18+, between March 11th and March 16th, 2022, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of US adults ages 18+.

OK y’all…I’m gonna let y’all in on a little secret. Decades ago, I worked at a marketing research place. Yep, I was one of those annoying people with a clipboard who, for about 5 years, accosted people at the Staten Island Mall. I got paid via commission (read: a certain amount per survey, based, in part, on how difficult it was to find people who fit the criteria we were looking for. If we were looking for people who drank diet ginger ale 3-4 times a week, for example, it paid more than when we had to find people who went to the movies at least once a year. The longer the survey took, the more I got paid, too.), and, I’ll tell ya, it was a good paying job for a high school senior and then college student.

Anyway, we did surveys on just about everything you can imagine. Soda. Movies. Various food products. Toys. Household cleaners. Even tampons, once (fortunately, I didn’t have to do that one LOL). And if there was one thing I learned from doing those hundreds upon hundreds of surveys for those 5 years, it’s that 98% of Americans don’t agree on anything. ANYTHING. I mean NOTHING. AT. ALL!

So anyway, when it comes to exercise, according to the CDC, 53.3% of adults age 18+ met the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity, and an abysmal 23.2% of them met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.

And according to Statista, who quoted the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of the U.S. population was engaged in sports and exercise each day in 2019.

But those are just numbers, so let’s look at real life. When was the last time you went to the fitness room of a Hampton by Hilton or a Hilton Garden Inn and saw it chock full of people? Or, oftentimes, have ANY people in it?

So did Hilton cherry-pick those 1,000 Nationally Represented US adults age 18+ and only talked to ones who exercised a lot? Did they misrepresent one of the survey questions (i.e. respondents saying YES to a question like “Do you think exercise is a good way to stay healthy while on the road?” doesn’t necessarily mean INTENT)? Or did a bunch of those people taking the survey outright LIE when they said they were prioritizing wellness activities while on the road? Because there is NO WAY ON EARTH that 98% of this country’s Chris Q. Public is actually interested in exercising. 😉

Seriously though, I did some research to try to find the survey in question – the original one published in April. I couldn’t find the exact survey, but in an April news release, Hilton described “wellness” in another way:

An overwhelming 98% of survey respondents acknowledged they prioritize wellness activities while on vacation. Today, travelers are focusing on their overall well-being and will be looking for experiences beyond access to the spa and gym that focus on connecting the mind, body and spirit – and wellness priorities vary from traveler to traveler. For example, Americans feel mentally refreshed on vacation when they get a feel for the local culture (41%) or turn their phone off and unplug (33%). Women, in particular, are likely to prioritize reconnecting with family and friends (46%), while men are likely to prioritize healthy eating (34%).

If respondents are looking for activities beyond the gym – if they’re looking for experiences to focus on connecting mind, body and spirit – that would make the whole “98%” more feasible, since ANYTHING could fit into that sort of category. Vacationing with a pet. Looking at the Grand Canyon. Meditating. Horseback riding. Lying in a hammock and reading a book.

But all of those are less of an introduction to the Peloton partnership when you describe “wellness” that way. 😉

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Too Many October 9, 2022 - 7:43 pm

In half a year to 2 years, you’ll see this partnership gone. Because Hilton will realize the data they based this decision on was wildly faulty.

SharonKurheg October 9, 2022 - 9:50 pm

…or Peloton will declare bankruptcy.


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