In our new series, Oyster Stats, we're sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we've accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.
We've all heard that French women don't get fat, make better parents, and are generally superior at everything. So it should come as a surprise to approximately no one that the French don't have to work out at hotel fitness centers to maintain their figures. Or at least, that's what the data we've collected on Oyster seems to suggest.
Of the hotels Oyster.com visited in Paris, only 26% had fitness centers, while in New York City, 73% of the hotels we visited did. Since most of the people staying at French hotels are French, it's possible to assume that the French aren't working out much in traditional fitness centers when they travel -- and because most people staying in U.S. hotels are American, it's possible to assume that there is a higher demand for hotel fitness centers stateside.
As Paul Rudnick's satirical piece in the New Yorker indicates, the French could be staying in shape other ways:
"The American woman obsesses over every calorie and sit-up, while in France we do not even have a word for fat. If a woman is obese, we simply call her American...To maintain my figure, I eat only half portions of any food, always arranging it on my plate in the shape of a semicolon. For exercise, at least once a day I approach a total stranger and slap him." [Ed note: This sounds like a diet plan New Yorkers could get behind.]
Below, see a bar chart of the percentage of hotels with fitness centers (out of the pool that Oyster covered) in different cities.
Interestingly, having a higher percentage of hotel fitness centers does not mean lower obesity rates -- it could even mean the opposite. Though New York City has 73% of hotels with fitness centers, 30.6% of the U.S. population is obese -- compared to 9.4% of the French. It's not a perfect comparison since the selected cities may not be representative of the whole country, but it's interesting nonetheless.
It would appear that not only do the French not work out on vacation, but they're still skinnier despite skipping the gym.
(Obesity statistics from NationMaster.com)