Hotels are always innovating to stay competitive and find an edge in their city that will keep people coming back. In a marketplace more and more diluted by individual residency rentals (think AirBnB), hotels have had to begin upping their amenities-game to compete with local offerings.
It’s the same amenities arms-race that took room service from a luxury to a requirement, brought us “free cable” in 99% of rooms, and is responsible for the now ubiquitous internet access travelers crave. The next step that hotels are embracing in that evolution is bikes! In this post we’ll cover four reasons hotels are turning to two-wheels when it comes to attracting (and retaining) their guests.
1. Millennials LOVE Bikes
Pushing passed Baby Boomers, Millennials now make up more than 25% of the country’s population and are our new largest demographic. Growing up with technology, instantaneous communication and entertainment, and at a time when customer service was revolutionized from common sense to a scientific field, their expectations are higher than ever. When they travel, they look for experiences as opposed to exclusive relaxation, and hotel bikes fit the bill perfectly! Giving them the freedom to explore the locale and curate their own experiences with (the help of technology) has a proven record of making their stays more meaningful. Gone are the days of asking the concierge for a recommendation for dinner, today’s guests pull up yelp, foursquare, etc… grab a bike and go exploring!
2. “Adventure” Makes a Stay Memorable
And it’s not just the Millennials who are into exploration! People of all ages are more likely to have a positive memory about their stay (and brag to their friend about how cool it was) if they have “an adventure” during the trip. No need to think X-Games, adventure in this sense just means getting out, being active, and seeing or doing the unexpected. Hotels are embracing that fact by offering bike tours of local landmarks, setting up gourmet picnics in the park, or providing maps with local highlights and letting tourists explore on their own.
Sean MacPherson, owner and designer of New York's The Jane, The Maritime and The Bowery hotels explains his use of fleet bikes by saying, "Taking visitors on bike rides has always been one of my favorite ways to show them the city, so it seemed natural to offer bikes to hotel guests." It’s all about the experience. And, in an industry where attracting new customers costs 10x as much as retaining an existing one, anything you can do to make their memories positive ones is money in the bank.
3. Bikes are Social Media Gold!
Word of mouth has always been the best form of traction and now, thanks to social media and the web, people are talking more than ever! And again, it’s not just Millennials. The average Facebook user is 40+ years old, and millions of travellers use Instagram, SnapChat, etc… to share their lives with friends. We’ve all seen the braggy vacay posts people love to make when they’re away and bikes are proven to generate traffic. Sometimes all it takes is giving people something to post about, and a having a little two-wheeled transport in the shot implies fun, exercise, and a whimsy that just says “vacation”. They’re also great for generating standard press as local news organizations and trade mags love covering hip new additions to the city, like a hotel’s shiny new bike fleet!
4. Bike Tourism is Bigger than Ever
Appealing to cyclists used to require a hotel in the mountains or long stretches of bikeway where enthusiasts could ride unencumbered. Nowadays the appeal of riding a bike has expanded beyond the competitive set and everyone from grandparents to kids are using bikes to get around. That’s been a real boon for local tourism. Saving your guests the costs of a rental car puts more money in their pockets for exploring the city, and people on bikes are more likely to stop and checkout local offerings (instead of whizzing by in a car until they’ve arrived at their destination). North Carolina’s Outer Banks area reaps an extra $60 million annually thanks to embracing bikes as a means of moving tourists around easily (and cheaply).
It’s really that simple! Last year, US hotels spent $6 billion in capital expenditures to improve guest amenities and services. Bikes are well worth consideration for attracting new guests, retaining existing ones, and giving everyone who stays with you something special to remember (and share with their friends). Let us know how your business benefits from bikes in the comments and, if you’re interested in how our hotel clients are using bikes to boost their numbers, give us a call!