New Hotel Luxury Car Experiences

Are You Covered for a Porsche or Pinto?

By John Welty Practice Leader, SUITELIFE, Venture Insurance Programs | June 04, 2017

The opportunity to drive their dream car is on the bucket list of many. That goal can be checked off fairly easily these days as luxury car driver experiences are available through a variety of venues, including hotels and resorts. Dreamers no longer have to shell out hundreds of thousands to drive a Lamborghini; they can reserve a luxury suite at certain high-end hotels and enjoy the privilege of driving one for a few hours.

Of course, for hotels and resorts offering this luxury service, new risks come with the experiences. In this article, we discuss what hotel and resort owners participating in these luxury driver experiences can do to make sure they have taken the proper steps to protect their guests, employees and their bottom lines.

Who could forget the scene in the classic comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where the parking garage attendant takes off for a joy ride in Cameron’s father’s red Ferrari? It seems wrong, but it’s hard to blame him. Who doesn’t want to get behind the wheel of a luxury car and paint the town as well?

Among its many other high-end amenities designed to pamper guests, luxury car experiences are now on the menu at the revered Waldorf-Astoria. Hotel guests can do just that – take their dream cars for a spin. Exotic cars like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and McLarens are available to guests with valid driver’s licenses who are willing to open their wallets.

Without a doubt, this trend will take off and it won’t just be the Waldorf offering this experience. Already, many four- and five-star hotels and resorts have arrangements with luxury auto manufacturers, wherein they highlight and promote the brands’ featured vehicles. This typically includes the availability of a fleet of luxury vehicles for use by special guests of the hotel.

While this is an appealing perk for many, what happens in the event of an accident? The nature of these cars and driving experiences beg us to consider the risks of potentially deadly accidents and damage to cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hotels and guests should consider their insurance policies and coverage limits before signing on to drive one of these vehicles. Does a guest have enough coverage for a luxury vehicle or just enough to cover their family sedans? What does the hotel’s commercial auto policy say?

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.