Hotel administrators, agritourism and B&B owners are increasingly becoming interested in gaining specific markets, and cyclo-tourism is one of these.
They ask themselves, and ask us, how they could reach as many cyclo-tourists as possible, making them choose their own structure.
We are here to tell it to you!
First of all, you would be very lucky if your structure stayed in a strategical position: all is more simple. A good position is either at the beginning or at the end of a stage, being it part of a well-known itinerary, or in a zone rich in good roads for bikes.
In some cases there is such an appealing structure that tour operators manage to make the itinerary pass in its proximity…but this is actually the exception that proves the rule.
The only thing that is fundamental is a secure shelter for the bikes. Shelter means no bike under the sun or the rain and secure that no one can stole them. A reserved part in a parking, a small warehouse, a unused room are sufficient. Hooks or something similar to hang the bike would be even better, but it’s not fundamental.
Another very useful thing is a wash-dry machine, since having the possibility to wash your bike suit and getting it dried the day after is a great comfort. Also because washing your stuff in the bidet is not very elegant 😉
Breakfast? Best thing is buffet, letting you choose among salty and sweet food and fresh fruit. Additional hot meal would be a wise thing to have.
For those who host mountain-bikers it is necessary to have a space for bike-wash. Nothing complicated, it’s sufficient a water-pipe, a bucket and some sponges. A helpful thing is a support/structure/tree on which hold the bike in order to more comfortably wash it.
And what about “the little mechanic’s workshop“?…it’s the usual litany of the so-called well-dressed consultants. The same who have no idea how many leg a cyclo-tourist has.
Let us explain.
Bikers – independent ones or those who pedal in group – have the necessaries to fix their bike, at least those for standard reparations (wheel holes, chain break and other small problems) also because it is nowadays impossible for a hotel to have all the changing parts that are currently produced!
For difficult or delicate reparations the specialized shop is still the best choice; to the hotel is given the task of keeping in contact with the shops of its area.
This is a very good service, aimed at those cyclo-tourists who decide to spend some days in your structure. Having a map with the best routes indicated and categorized for difficulty is highly useful; in case you are able to provide also road-books and GPS tracks you are a professional.
Having a bike park implies that someone has to take care of it, for example checking the bikes after each tour. If you don’t have it, it’s advisable for you to get it done, sparing much money and, most of all, much time.
OK, but: once my structure becomes a bike-hotel, are cyclo-tourists sure to come?
This is another myth to debunk.
Bike hotels were born where a cyclo-touristic market already existed. Not the opposite case.
An example: Passau-Vienna bike hotels were already-existing hotels, and, by transforming in bike-hotels they were able to catch those cyclo-tourists who used to go to classical hotel of that area, even if not having specific services for the bikes.
It goes without saying that a net of bike-hotels helps the related market, but it is not its cause. This is to say very clearly, since we cannot mislead the operators and letting them invest money by promising thousands of arrivals.
Then how may I arrange my hotel in order to attract cyclo-tourists?
Those who would like to host cyclo-tourists should have the “aesthetic pleasure for bicycle” and for everything that orbits around it… For example they cannot complain about early bikers who arrive before their tour-leader and park their bikes in front of the hotel; if in the latest-style reception you must welcome sweaty bikers; if these bikers prefer having breakfast with sausages and cheese instead of having them served during a 27-dishes dinner.
In order to host cyclo-tourists you need to be “bike-friendly”. This is the key. The rest comes by itself.