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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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.