Always the pioneer, IHG announced this week that it would be creating a new type of hotel, one that I think will attract as many tourists as the original Holiday Inn did. Called "Even", the hotels will have a health and fitness emphasis, yet unlike other hotel chains that make a big deal about their exercise equipment, Even will be for the value-minded traveler. The nightly rate will be on the affordable Hilton Garden Inn or Hyatt Place level.
In media interviews, the founders have promised that these new properties will have better-than-usual fitness facilities which will be featured front and center. Guests will be reminded that they should be working out because they'll see the workout room from the lobby as they check in.
On the healthy food side, mini smoothies will be a breakfast option and the hotels will pass on vending machines. Meaning fewer 2am soda and chips temptations for stressed business travelers.
The location of the first Even hotel will be announced this spring. IHG hopes to open several hundred Even properties in the next five years.
As a road warrior who's constantly fighting the battle of the bulge, I, for one, am heartened by this news. Even: I may be one of your first customers!