Just over a year ago, The Westin Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Beach Resort added a healthier twist on the happy-hour concept, with weekly runs for guests hosted by “run concierges.”
Traditionally, happy hour is a time for socializing and networking, fueled by discounted drinks in crowded bars. Just over a year ago, The Westin Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Beach Resort added a healthier twist on the happy-hour concept, with weekly runs for guests hosted by “run concierges.”
The happy-hour run was developed last year when General Manager Bruce Roy forged a relationship with the owners of Running Wild, a local running store. Roy wanted to start taking resort guests for runs, starting at Running Wild and ending up at the resort, where the group then gathers for free beer and healthy foods at its rooftop venue.
“There’s something very freeing about running,” says National Run Concierge Chris Heuisler. “At a bar, it’s loud and there’s music playing, but after running, endorphins are high and there’s more openness. You already feel good, and then tie it off with a happy hour.”
But the benefit goes beyond health, Heuisler says. By grouping out-of-town guests with local runners, the resort is helping to cultivate a stronger relationship with the community, directing travelers toward the best that the city has to offer.
“We want to be more engaged in communities,” Heuisler says. “I don’t want the run concierges to only know their three-to-four-mile running route, but also to help guests by recommending a good yoga studio or a great running trail. So they’re almost a local wellness concierge.”
The program is seeing the most growth among those traveling for business in groups, giving them an outlet for healthy activity after sitting for eight hours. With the Thursday night scheduling, the happy hour has encouraged some guests to stay an extra night to meet up with local runners, Heuisler says.
The concept has proved to be so popular, Westin properties across the country are getting in on the action, hosting morning or evening runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“Westin Fort Lauderdale has been a catalyst to other properties,” says Heuisler. “When we caught wind of it, we thought it was such a great idea.”