An Emerging Amenity for Hotels: Bikes and E-Bikes — Photo by Unlimited Biking

The unexpected announcement by President Biden to ban surprise fees for airline and hotel services during the 2023 State of the Union address has shed light on the lack of transparency surrounding fees that have frustrated many hotel guests.

Travelers want to know what they are paying for and feel they are getting value for their money. To minimize "fee friction" and build a more enriching, rewarding experience for their guests, hotels need to think creatively and offer unique amenities that create memorable and engaging experiences.

A new, exciting amenity for hotels: micromobility

Hotels must keep pace with changing guest expectations as the hospitality industry evolves. In the past, standard amenities such as pools, Wi-Fi, and gyms were enough to satisfy most guests. But today, these features are considered standard and no longer sufficient to stand out from the competition.

This is where providing a new amenity, such as on-site or nearby bikes and e-bikes, can make a significant difference.

By offering guests high-tech and sustainable transportation options, hotels can cater to current expectations and provide an exciting activity that guests can enjoy at their leisure. As more people seek alternatives to crowded public transportation and expensive ride-hailing services, the demand for electric bikes is rapidly increasing. It's predicted that the sale of e-bikes will surpass 1 million annually in the United States alone.

Hotels can differentiate themselves by offering a bike amenity program that caters to the growing demand for micromobility or personal/lightweight transportation. This amenity provides several benefits for guests, including:

  • Convenient and affordable transportation that enables guests to explore the local area without relying on cars, taxis, rideshare services, or public transit.
  • An opportunity for guests to engage in outdoor activities, especially in areas with parks, greenways, or bike paths, especially as cities are investing in new cycling infrastructure.
  • A means to stay healthy and active while traveling for business or vacation.
  • A sustainable mode of transportation for those travelers interested in reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Accessibility for people with mobility issues, as e-bikes can assist with uphill or long-distance cycling.
  • The potential for the hotel to build brand loyalty, as guests may choose certain hotels based on particular amenities.

For instance, the Hilton Double Tree and Hilton Embassy Suites Hotels near San Francisco Airport have offered micromobility as a service to approximately 600 guests who have enjoyed riding along the bay, exploring San Francisco, or shopping and dining locally, in rides lasting an average of 1.5 hours. The Mandarin Oriental, New York, located in Columbus Circle near Central Park, allows guests to visit a local bike shop and take an e-bike or regular bike for a complimentary ride lasting one or two hours.

Hotels can partner with companies that offer turnkey programs to manage or enhance their micromobility options for guests. Hotels can implement the service with a fleet of bikes and e-bikes without the need to purchase or maintain the equipment, including charging or swapping out the batteries.

Shoring up guest expectations surrounding fees

Ensuring a level playing field around transparency for mandatory resort or destination fees is crucial for the industry. The American Hotel and Lodging Association has committed to work with the Biden Administration, the FTC, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to establish consistent standards for fee display across the entire lodging booking ecosystem. This includes sites and apps for hotels, OTAs, short-term rentals, and metasearch crawlers.

To combat negative public perceptions of resort fees, hotels can offer newer, value-added experiential amenities that guests can appreciate and enjoy. By promoting these services on social media and digital channels, hotels can attract more guests seeking something special or unique in their travel and lodging choices.

As local businesses take notice, travel will continue to pick up, creating endless opportunities that will help strengthen communities nationwide. By prioritizing transparency and offering innovative amenities, hotels can position themselves for success in an ever-changing industry.