Would you forbid someone to take his bike into his room?
It is undeniable that the number of cyclists has increased substantially in recent years in so-called slow cities and steep mountain areas. In Europe, Amsterdam is a genuine amusement park for bicycles. Copenhagen, with a not exactly Mediterranean temperature, already has the bicycle as the main means of transport of its citizens. No less than 55% of urban movements are made there on two wheels. When I drove through their streets last year, I remembered what these Nordic cities were like when I first visited them 30 years ago, totally invaded by polluting cars and major traffic jams everywhere.
The bicycle today has become entrenched in the collective mindset as an instrument of advanced societies. More than a means of locomotion, it is the icon of a new philosophy of life, a flag of freedom and personal sensibility toward the environment. In fact, the stage of development of a city is no longer measured by the number of cars or televisions per capita, but by the kilometers of bike lanes. Both the fiber optic layout and the proliferation of parking lots are no longer valued. Thus, we can surely say that Seville and Barcelona are more developed cities than Madrid in this sense.
But the velocipede is not only an expression of an urban lifestyle and unpolluted environment but also of healthy people who want to improve their quality of life. That is just the value that the tourism industry proclaims, but does not always assume. The current transition from an analog society to a digital one represents a great opportunity for those who innovate and seek diversification of their products. Many are struggling to think about what to offer, how to be different. But many hoteliers recognize how difficult it is today to invent something enticing for travelers.
If we refer to the civilization of cycling and the growing tendency to use it in advanced societies, can anyone answer how many hundreds of hotels in the world have specialized facilities for cyclotourism? We have consulted in the cloud, and we only found a few. To be more precise, we have found only one in Spain: the Barceló Pueblo Park hotel. It is not an establishment dedicated to cycling actually but touches it tangentially with a touristic offer that includes bicycle rental, storage room, bike shop, laundry area, air compressors and pumps, bottles of drinking water, buffet for athletes, padlocks, and maps of cycling routes around the island. But we have to point out that guests are not allowed to store bikes in their rooms.
Would you choose a hotel if it prevents you from keeping your bike in the room?
Meanwhile, Italy pampers the cyclist as much as many places can. Fausto Coppi Italia team presents an exclusive website to hotels for bicycles: Italy Bike Hotels. We can find in it, detailed by regions, the best cycle routes around the hotels with specialized facilities for two-wheeled tourism. One of them, next to Lake Garda, accepts bikes in their rooms as well as an endless number of services for aficionados. Even if no one goes to the Marmolada pass on snowy days, guests have the opportunity to spend them under the sun at a Wii console that the hotel puts at their disposal in the bedroom. The Mirage is said to be a Biker Friendly hotel. It is set up to allow guests to make friends through Facebook and share a guide with whom to explore the surroundings of the lake and the mountains of Trentino. It offers some games of explorations with GPS and cycling gymkhana from the starting point of the hotel itself.
A long time ago we coined the Liturgy of the Slipper for a model of differentiation for hotels based on the geographical and environmental conditions of the Way of Santiago, in Spain, one of the most popular treks in the world. We advocated for enhancing this trail to captivate thousands of cyclists who dare their endurance and skills every year with a kind of Liturgy of Pedaling. Why not design theme hotels for biker friendly guests that easily access to their room by pedaling directly there? We are talking about hotels with a soul of two wheels, sensitive to bikers, ecological, sustainable, with some facilities and services for both amateur and professional athletes.
If “the bicycle is a good invention”, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers sang, we have to be ready for new fairy tales in the Hospitality industry. That is just what we expect from the civilized business of tomorrow.
Fernando Gallardo |