Outside help: How other companies can help with transportation

Some hotels are able to strike a deal with car manufacturers to supply vehicles and sometimes services to a hotel with minimal requirements on the hotel’s end.

The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel entered into a partnership with Fiat that supplies the hotel with five vehicles and a chauffeured car service to anywhere within a five-mile radius of the hotel. Guests can also take the cars out for test drives between 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The cars are stored in the hotel’s underground garage. Two of the vehicles are powered by electricity, so the hotel also installed 40-amp charging stations for the cars.

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Paul Leclerc, managing director of the Loews Santa Monica, said the pilot program for the Fiat partnership was extended to five hotels in New York, Santa Monica, Miami, Hollywood and Washington, D.C., and plans are in place to extend the service to other Loews properties.

Apart from the hotel’s three shuttles to the local Disneyland Park, the Hyatt Regency Orange County is visited daily by two other shuttle companies that bring guests to other hotels, shopping outlets and beaches. The hotel’s concierge desk is equipped with brochures of information on how guests can take advantage of these opportunities, and all staff members are trained on how to direct guests to the desired location.

If this sounds confusing, Shane Nicolopoulos, director of rooms at the hotel, doesn’t see it as a challenge. “The key is to keep in close communication with the companies that run the shuttles, and hold weekly meetings with staff to keep everyone’s story straight,” Nicolopoulos said.

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