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You are here: Home  July 2009  Comment Marketing: 2009 is the year of the bike

Marketing: 2009 is the year of the bike

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Toronto mayor David Miller is proposing bike lanes for Jarvis Street, a major north-south artery in downtown Toronto. Montreal has launched a $15 million, 3,000-bicycle strong, bike sharing program called “Bixi”—an interesting word blending the words “bicycle” and “taxi”—that costs tourists $5 for an entire day. And the Canadian Automobile Association is now offering member benefits to Vancouver cyclists.

Bikes are big this year, and no one knows it better than Canadian hotel operators.
Bicycling fits well with recent trends—it’s environmentally friendly, it’s inexpensive and it gives tourists a more up-close-and-personal perspective of the community they are visiting.

Here is a sample of some of the year’s most innovative bicycle promotions.
Fairmont got the wheels rolling this spring, with its free bicycle service in Canadian hotels, a partnership with automaker BMW featuring BMW Cruise Bikes in both adult and child-size versions.

Stay & Ride packages at hotels in Whistler include three nights accommodation plus two days in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park for less than $200 per person. And this summer, visitors have the opportunity to cheer on or take part in the first mountain bike race to be held at the spectacular Whistler Olympic Park. It’s an inclusive program—there’s even a kids’ race designed for children under 10.

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Starting August 1st, Park Hyatt Toronto's Bicycle Valet program offers use of the bikes in four-hour increments, as well as bottled water, helmets and a map of bike trails throughout the city.
Visitors to Quebec can bike on the trails that surround Lake Massawippi, just over an hour from Montréal. There’s a four-night bike package where guests stay two nights at Manoir Hovey, then bike over to Ripplecove Auberge & Spa at the other end of the lake—while their concierges take care of all the luggage and logistics. Bikes are provided free of charge. The bike package even includes a backpack filled with goodies for a picnic lunch.

The environmentally-built Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre, in Guelph, Ontario, an hour west of Toronto, now offers its guests bicycle rentals as a more sustainable alternative to exploring the city, according to Lynn Vanschaik, director of sales for the hotel.
  
“With the Bicycle-Friendly Guelph initiative already in place, providing safe and convenient access to cycling lanes, we are simply trying to do our part in reducing the city’s environmental footprint,” she says.

Packages start at $140 and include one night’s accommodation, a full day bike rental, and breakfast for two adults and two children.

Five-star Victoria bed and breakfast, Villa Marco Polo, offers a package called “Butchart and Biking”. It includes two nights of accommodation, cycling and a spa treatment, along with a visit to Butchart Gardens, a National Heritage Site of Canada.

And outside Canada, the Marriott Marina Del Rey in California now offers a free bicycle valet service.

“Those valet guys who previously were parking CO2 emitting wheels, are now safely parking and watching those of the two-wheeling variety. (We’re guessing parking a Schwinn is a lot less fun than parking a Lamborghini),” says website HotelChatter.com.

—Colleen Isherwood
Editor, Canadian Lodging News

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