The £7m Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel (EAC) at Loughborough University will place bespoke nutrition at the centre of the offering to be delivered by Imago Venues.
The facility will also be available to meeting and event organisers looking to use a unique venue built on a foundation of performance improvement and competitive success.
In addition to the wider event and sporting facilities on campus, the EAC offers accommodation with altitude control, appropriate rest and relaxation facilities and the right nutrition to support not just athletes in training but also delegates looking to maximise their learning experience.
To achieve the EAC’s goals, Loughborough University are working with key players across sports development, nutrition, training and performance.
Kath Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and chair of UK Sport, comments: “UK Sport is a world leader in the development of elite athletes and I am delighted that Loughborough is continuing to play a fundamental role in the advancement of top level sport.
“This investment will create a unique facility that will be of huge benefit to all involved. In particular, the decision to focus on nutrition will be key, as it is such a fundamental building block when it comes to successful performance.”
The team behind the EAC recognises that there is a need to go beyond just the food being served if they are to meet the needs of their guests.
Chris McLeod, PhD student in eating behaviour at the University, goes on to explain: “A delegate might theoretically know what is right for them, but that is put under pressure by the sight of the average hotel breakfast buffet. To perform at their best, eating behaviour and food psychology are as important as the nutritional values and ingredients in the food itself.
“We can better influence their choices by making the right foods available and accessible. It is less a matter of control or force but more a case of support by directing behaviour in the right direction. Ultimately the choices are their own, but we can help by giving them the best possible options in the first place.”
The EAC’s unique offering is its ability to provide bespoke services for individuals or teams through communication and collaboration.
Mark Davies, Head of Sports Facility Operations and Customer Service at the University, comments: “Ultimately, the key to delivering something so bespoke for each individual is its flexibility. It is something that simply isn’t possible under the normal business model used by hotels and other accommodation providers.
“However, through a flexible and choice-focused approach, it is possible to deliver something that works for everyone. Once that collaborative approach is combined with the right facilities, accommodation and rest & relaxation offering, we will deliver something truly groundbreaking.”
Kay England, Chief Executive of Imago Venues, who will operate the EAC, concludes: “As the operators of the EAC, the Imago Venues’ team will face challenges previously unknown to the hospitality sector. However, much like the athletes using the facilities, our team are amongst the elite in their own field and relish the opportunity to deliver something unique in the market.
“We are already seeing high levels of interest from a variety of groups and individuals looking to use the EAC. From the sales and front of house, through to operations and catering teams, we recognise that a customer centric approach – which we are already known for in our other properties – will be fundamental to the success of the EAC.”