Bikes and e-bikes offer a cost-effective amenity that allows hotel guests to explore
by ANNIE ZOU
During his 2023 State of the Union address, President Biden unexpectedly declared his intention to ban surprise fees for airline and hotel services. While the speech focused mainly on larger global issues like climate change and the war in Ukraine, the president’s announcement surprised many viewers.
Many hotel guests have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of transparency around fees. They want to know exactly what they’re paying for and feel like they’re getting something valuable in return.
To address these concerns, hotels need to start thinking outside the box and find new ways to excite guests. One promising approach is to offer experiential amenities that provide memorable, engaging experiences for customers. This will help reduce what is known as “fee friction,” and create more positive guest experiences.
MICROMOBILITY AS AN EXCITING NEW AMENITY
Traditionally, amenities like pools, Wi-Fi, and gyms were enough to satisfy most guests. However, many people now consider these amenities standard and don’t want to pay extra for them.
This is where offering bikes and e-bikes on-site can make a real difference. Not only are these high-tech, sustainable options in line with modern expectations, but they also offer guests a fun, exciting activity that can be enjoyed on their own terms. Electric bike sales are expected to surpass 1 million annually in the U.S. as more people look for alternatives to crowded public transportation and expensive ride-hailing services. By offering this new amenity, hotels can stand out from the competition and provide a unique, memorable experience that guests will love.
By instituting a bike amenity program, hotels can benefit from this rising interest. Micromobility, or lightweight transportation, is particularly ideal for hotels for several reasons:
1. Convenient transportation
By offering bikes in the lobby or partnering with nearby shops, hotels can enable guests to easily explore the local area without relying on cars, taxis, or public transit.
Bikes are less expensive than cars and don’t require licenses or insurance.
3. Explore more
Hotels near parks or greenways have a perfect opportunity to attract guests who value the outdoors, especially as cities add miles of bike paths and invest in new cycling infrastructure.
4. Health and fitness
Biking offers a great way to stay healthy and active, even when guests travel for business or vacation.
Bikes provide environmentally friendly transportation, which can appeal to those interested in reducing their carbon footprint while traveling.
E-bikes can be an accessible mode of transportation for people with mobility issues or who find it difficult to bike uphill or across long distances.
7. Brand loyalty
Hotels that offer bikes or e-bikes can build customer loyalty, as travelers may choose a particular hotel brand based on a particular amenity.
For example, at the Hilton Double Tree and Hilton Embassy Suites Hotels, San Francisco Airport, the micromobility as a service has offered approximately 600 individual guests the opportunity to take an average ride of 1.5 hours. Most guests enjoy riding along the bay or making excursions into San Francisco, or they use the vehicles for local shopping and dining.
One hotel that has taken a unique approach to offering micromobility is the Mandarin Oriental, New York, located in Columbus Circle near Central Park. The property recently rolled out a program where guests simply visit a local bike shop to pick up their e-bike or regular bike for a complimentary ride around the city lasting one or two hours.
Companies like Unlimited Biking offer convenient, comprehensive turnkey programs that allow hoteliers to provide or boost their micromobility options for guests. Hotels can implement the service with a fleet of bikes without the need to purchase or maintain the equipment, including charging or swapping out the batteries.
SHIFTING GUEST PERSPECTIVES
Newer, value-added experiential services that guests can appreciate and utilize will go a long way in helping ease public acceptance of resort fees. Hotels can promote these services on social media and digital channels to attract more guests seeking something special or unique in their travel and lodging choices. As the public and local businesses take notice, travel will continue to pick up, creating endless opportunities that will help strengthen communities all over the country.
Annie Zou is the director of sales at Unlimited Biking, one of the largest bike rentals, tours, and experiences operator in the U.S.