Hotel shuttles and guest engagement

Travel can be very stressful for hotel guests, especially families. Guests often know very little about the area they are traveling to, and hotels can go a long way toward removing the pain of this process through effective use of shuttles when available. Shuttle drivers at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa., are trained to engage with guests to see how familiar they are with the area and recommend routes or attractions during the drive to and from the property. Drivers are also coached to tell the history of the area and point out landmarks, making the shuttle an extension of the hotel.

Bill Hendrix, director of rooms for The Hotel Hershey, strongly suggests using different shuttle sizes if the option is available. The property has two 13-passenger vans, as a Chevrolet Suburban and several Lincoln Town Cars. By dispatching the Suburban and Town Cars for smaller parties and reserving the larger shuttles for groups of four or more, the company saves money on gas and also gives smaller groups the luxury of arriving on property in style.

Comfort is a big deal for guests, especially families. The Hyatt Regency Orange County, Calif., operates three 45-passenger shuttles that travel to and from the Disneyland parks and face periods of high congestion at the end of every night, highlighted by tired children and exhausted parents. What can a shuttle do to ease this? A lot, according to Shane Nicolopoulos, director of rooms for the property.

By installing GPS trackers in all of their shuttles and placing an electronic signage board near the pick up/drop off area of the hotel, guests are able to track the location of a shuttle. 

“Even though it’s only a five-minute drive, when the guest can see how close the shuttle is visually, there are a lot fewer questions and a lot less frustration for everyone,” Nicolopoulos said. “Plus, once they get on the shuttle, we have air conditioning and a Disney movie playing for the kids. Dead silence and happy parents.”