Need to upgrade?

In our recent public workshop on Managerial Effectiveness, a point came up on how it is important that management spends on upgrading equipment constantly. When reminded that upgrades take a lot out of a capex budget, the young managers still insisted that they need to keep with the times and newer hotels springing up constantly around them. One of them gave an example of how the airport transfer fleet need to be upgraded every year. But is this really practical? Can a hotel change it’s cars frequently? What about innovative ways to offer guest exciting experiences along with the pick up and ensuring that the costs are covered or minimal?

Guests arriving by air for stays at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, can ask to be met at the airport by pro cyclist Scott Kasin, who provides them with a bike jersey, a water bottle and their own top-of-the-line Orbea road bike. Kasin then guides them along for an incredibly scenic transfer to the hotel—and high-altitude workout.

Dig around and you’ll find that hotels can offer a lot more than just a limo when it comes to helping you make a grand entrance—options can include helicopter, boat, motorbike…even horse-drawn carriage. In India, we have so many novel transportation options like a auto-rickshaw, a cycle rickshaw, etc… assuming the hotel is close by of course!

A chauffeur can greet Milestone Hotel guests upon arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, take their luggage and escort them to the Heathrow Express for a 15-minute ride to Paddington station. That’s where the transfer gets unusual: At the station, they are met by a butler who escorts them to a horse-drawn carriage for a royal gallop through London’s streets to the hotel, which overlooks Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. To be treated like royalty, expect to be billed like royalty: The cost for this carriage is $1,275.

If a horse and carriage is too staid, too slow or too expensive, you can opt for a ride on the back of one of Virgin’s Limobikes for the trip from airport to city. Drivers of its fleet of Yamaha FJR 1300s can zip around London’s famous traffic jams. Passengers are fitted with protective clothing (and even a blanket on cold days) and a helmet that allows the passenger to speak with the driver and make phone calls while in transit. There’s even room for a carry-on bag. And you don’t have to fly Virgin Atlantic to get the service. The price for the ride from Heathrow to central London runs about $125.

At the Maldives resort of Dhoni Island, guests arrive at their private island sanctuary after a five-hour sail aboard a handcrafted Maldivian dhoni, where a personal butler will pop open a bottle of bubbly to ease any lingering jet lag.

And if all this still seems too pedestrian, try something truly unique: flying to Oman’s Six Senses Zighy Bay on a paraglider (with a guide)—a James Bond–like entrance that will make you forget there was ever such a thing as a hotel minivan.

It’s not about only spending and investing money always… sometimes one can even make money on innovative and creative options… one has to keep ahead of the competition and not necessarily the times.

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