Motorcycle-friendly properties

Biker-friendly program at Best Western.

Biker-friendly program at Best Western.

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By Jonathan Zettel

VICTORIA, BC—Forget the Marlon Brando stereotype of a lawless rebel, that’s not what today’s biker is about, according to hoteliers revving up to make their properties more motorcycle-friendly.

“The bikers we get in—although some of them may look interesting—they are the touring riders,” John Espley, director of marketing and communications for Accent Inns, told CLN.

Espley said Accent Inns added its motorcycle friendly program as a way to provide riders a safe place to park, rest and wash up.

All five Accent Inn locations in British Columbia provide secure parking with locks and covers available to loan. The locations also provide soap and rags at bike wash stations—also used by many pedal bike enthusiasts—and onsite laundry.

Espley said the hotels primarily receive two types of riders: the touring rider, whose motorcycles, he noted, are prized possessions; and the off-road riders, who take advantage of British Columbia’s wooded areas.

“Just the fact that you are there trying to help them out they totally appreciate,” Espley said. “Sometimes, all it takes is what little extra can we do to help.”

Accent Inns also provides local options through a program on its website called Experience Local.

Accent Inns has worked with West Coast Ride to Live, a motorcycle group raising funds for prostate cancer and hosted events.

First and foremost, Espley said, riders just want a safe place lock up their bikes for the night. “It’s having that safe and secure comfortable place to stay—it’s pretty simplistic—and it’s that peace of mind that they really like.”

At 102 Best Western hotels across Canada, motorcycle enthusiasts can find safe parking, a wash station, and receive a 10 per cent discount off room rates.

Glen MacDonell, managing director of loyalty and partnership marketing at Best Western, said groups from all over the world are coming to hotels as motorcycle touring becomes more popular globally.

MacDonell said a group of 30 from France is booked for what he called a “very significant” trip to visit five states and stay in 19 different Best Western hotels.

“It is a group that likes to travel and, especially when you start looking at those that do travel, they are typically more affluent—they are out there enjoying the lifestyle on the weekends and have different jobs during the week,” MacDonell said.

The international hotel teamed up with Harley Davidson in 2006 to launch its biker-friendly program. Part of the partnership sees Harley Davidson cleaning products used at washing stations and travellers can use Best Western Bike Rewards to purchase Harley Davidson memberships, among other in-house perks such as free rooms.

The program, he said, has been launched internationally with many locations in places such as Turkey.

“Most of the folks that are active riders, they have incredible motorcycles and take meticulous care of them,” MacDonell said. “It’s a prized possession and their focus is being on the road and that’s a perfect fit for our traveller.”