So it wasn’t a shocker when the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TX didn’t seem keen on hosting a gathering of CrossFit affiliates that coming February. CrossFit was a little rougher back then, and we were kind of viewed as outlaw fitness. But we were used to hesitation and rejection.
“C’mon,” we urged over the phone to a person whom we imagined was equating us with something akin to the Hell’s Angels. “It’ll turn out okay. Plus, our people will spend a lot of money at the bar.”
The Hyatt finally agreed, and we held the 2009 CrossFit Affiliate Gathering in Austin. Hundreds of CrossFitters attended and that hotel hummed with CrossFit energy all weekend long.
The following week, we received a thank-you call from a pleasantly surprised manager. Apparently, our evenings in the bar were their highest grossing nights in a year. The Hyatt was not only happy that we chose them, but would we like to book for next year?
Fast forward to 2014. Things have changed for the better.
With a bit of a chuckle, I recently read a press release (“Five Los Angeles-South Bay Hotels Gear Up For Reebok CrossFit Games”) that included this paragraph: “‘Only the fittest athletes win at the Reebok CrossFit Games, but every one of our hotel guests are victorious when it comes to comfort, style and convenience,’ said Claudia Vizcarra, Marriott account manager. ‘We ensure a world-class experience by providing exceptional customer service in an environment that is warm and welcoming and look forward to cheering on the world’s toughest athletes while they are in town.’”
Not just in training or number of affiliates (10,000!) or number of CrossFitters worldwide, but also in public perception of CrossFit and CrossFitters. The Marriott doesn’t have to be convinced to let us in. In fact, they are actively courting CrossFitters.
The same CrossFitter who was once viewed as scary by the uninformed is courted by people with discernment.
Apprehension turned into anticipation. The world woke up and realized the same thing that vendors at Aromas in 2008 and 2009 did: CrossFitters have money and we’re willing to spend it on products we like. Just look at the burgeoning eco-system that supports the desires of the CrossFit community (and trails it wherever it goes). Look also at the impact on local economies of thousands of CrossFitters at hotels and restaurants (and on airplanes) at Regional events and the Games. And that’s just part of our impact.
This shift in hotel viewpoints isn’t an earth-shaking development. But it is an indicator of the economic power of CrossFitters and the lessening of unfounded fears about a movement changing the world one workout at a time.