Pedal power

Hotels may not be in the bike business, but bikes are an incredible and fairly inexpensive value-added amenity. My research has me convinced bike programs may be the breakout amenity for the summer of 2014.

Why implement a bike program?

  • Bikes attract active guests looking for new experiences.
  • Bikes are an inexpensive alternative to renting cars or taking cabs in busy cities.
  • Guests love them because they are a quick and easy mode of transportation.
  • Bikes are a great way for guests to get out and explore everything your surrounding area has to offer.
  • The cost of implementing a loaner bike program is relatively low.
  • Implementing a bike program is another way to promote your property as a “healthy hotel” and/or “environmentally friendly.”

Bike types

There are many types of bikes you can choose. A few thoughts to ponder:

Are you going to equip some of the bikes with a wicker basket to upsell chef-prepared boxed lunches? 

What about tandem bikes for guests desiring a leisurely pedal with someone else? 

Cruisers are popular if your location is about rest and relaxation or near water.

Mountain bikes can be attractive for extreme-cycling enthusiasts.

If steep inclines surround your property, motorized bikes might make sense.

Success stories

Austin’s hip Heywood Hotel may be small in room count, but its Republic bicycles — sporting one green wheel and one white wheel — have proven to be so popular the hotel has launched special bicycle scavenger hunts with photographic clues to area sights.

When guests complete the tour and post photos of their finds on social media, they are given a complimentary T-shirt complete with hotel logo.

Another fascinating example is at Fairmont Hotels. With a few rare exceptions, most Fairmont properties feature BMW bikes for their guests’ complimentary use. One Fairmont, the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, states it would be hard to beat the scenery found on a cruise through the forested reserve surrounding its lodge located at the base of Africa’s second-highest peak.

At Kimpton hotels, guests can enjoy custom-designed Public bikes on a first-come-first-serve basis.

On a side note, while some properties have launched impressive in-depth bike programs that come with an additional charge to the guest, many are inclusive within the resort fee, while others are not charging for a bike privilege.

I look forward to your bike thoughts and any stories or experiences about how bikes have enhanced the guest experience.