Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis and W Minneapolis – The Foshay recently announced travel packages to encourage your clients to get out and explore “the most bikeable city in America” with the property’s general manager as their personal guide. These tours, which take place weekly on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, take guests through the city while also providing guests with breakfast to fuel up before they start peddling. Biking trips are gaining momentum across all travel markets, so Recommend’s associate editor took the opportunity to chat with the property’s general manager himself to learn a little bit more about his passion (he’s been known to bike approximately 100 miles in a day for fun) and these bike tours. Why would a busy GM take time away from his packed schedule to lead his guests on these tours? Let’s find out…
Michelle Marie Arean (MMA): How did you get into biking?
David Cronin (DC): I have been biking since I was 5 years old. The passion grew from the fact that while I attended hotel school in Germany I could not afford to get a driver’s license, so I ended up cycling everywhere in all sorts of weather. Passion grew from necessity and I saw areas of the country that one could never experience while driving.
MMA: How often do you bike? How do you find the time to log all those miles?
DC: I love to get out there, so really every day off that I have [I bike]. I cycle year-round and use various bikes to accommodate the weather. Typically twice a week with a minimum of 30 miles per ride. I have five different types of bikes that I use and have made various adjustments over the years; a Fat Bike for the winter, I love riding in the snow and on the frozen lakes.
MMA: What suggestions would you give agents who are looking to book their clients on a biking trip?
DC: It really depends on their comfort level. We have designed our program to accommodate everyone, even those who have not cycled in 20 years. The most important piece is to have fun, and remember safety—a helmet and eye protection should be worn at all times. Being in Minnesota, we have over 15,000 lakes and over 11,000 that are named. Lake Calhoun is approximately 10 miles roundtrip and is a beautiful ride. The lake itself has a max depth of 85 ft. and is over 401 acres. To get there one can traverse through Loring Park and onto the Greenway, which is specifically for pedestrians and cyclists.
MMA: As a busy GM, how do you find the time to join your guests on these bike rides with The Foshay’s packages? What do you like about leading these tours?
DC: The real reason that I got into this business was to create experiences for our guests. The hotels I manage are perfect for this. I make it a priority and there’s no better way to know what is happening in your hotels than spending quality time with your customers. This past Saturday we led a group of 12 to the lake and it is really awesome to be able to connect with people while showcasing the beautiful state of Minnesota, which can get a tough reputation for the four months of winter.
MMA: What are some unique stops along the way during these guided tours of the city?
DC: Lake Calhoun, the greenway stop for a coffee in uptown, Minnehaha Falls, Fort Snelling, a ride down the Mississippi, and West River Parkway.
MMA: Why would a bike tour be an ideal way to see a new town or city?
DC: The tour will get you closer than any other mode of transportation, the ability to pull over any time and not worry about parking…and go a little off road.
MMA: Who is the ideal bike tour client?
DC: Anyone who wants to have fun, is curious, and is open to adventure and cycling—it’s healthy! An added bonus: Remember that tired feeling, the good one…where you sleep well afterwards? We [also] tailor the pace to our audience.
MMA: In your opinion, what would be a good way an agent can get a new client to try out a bike tour such as yours?
DC: Speak to that inner child…this is an experience that money cannot buy. Remember that first taste of freedom as a child—legs up and off you go. That’s priceless. So talk about the experience.
MMA: Where is your favorite place for a bike ride?
DC: Minneapolis, of course! But Utah is a close second; riding up Snowbird is an experience, or down Park City on a mountain bike.
MMA: Is there anything else you’d like to mention regarding the new bike program?
DC: Get in the saddle and join us on the Greenway!
Both properties, the W Minneapolis-The Foshay and Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, currently offer cycling packages that include a 1-hour bike tour led by Cronin and a $60 breakfast credit. The package rate at both properties starts at $249 per night—book the Tour de Fuel at the W Minneapolis and the Tour de Minneapolis at the Le Meridien property. For more information, visit wminneapolis.com or lemeridienchambers.com.