VICTORIA, B.C.—When guests book a stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria, they have the option of also reserving a Toyota Prius. The hotel has two of the white Toyotas decked out with green leaves and the name of the hotel property on the doors. Guests can book the vehicles through a separate website called http://mystaymycar.com/. What is truly unique about the hotel, however, is its pair of Solo electric vehicles.
Made in nearby Vancouver, B.C., the one-person electric vehicles have two wheels in the front, one in the back and are painted just like the two Toyota Priuses. And yes, the Solo cars can also be reserved through http://mystaymycar.com/.
Kirsten Kost, Director of Sales & Marketing at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria, says the hotel is the only one in the world that has Solo cars made by Electra Meccanica. The cars were purchased last May. “It’s been a good experience,” Kost says. “The program has been very popular. Everyone is talking about them. The interest has been high.” While purchased primarily for corporate travelers, all types of guests have been using the Solos.
The Solo vehicles have a range of 100 miles. Guests are encouraged to stay within the city. “We try to discourage long drives,” Kost says. The cars are charged by staff prior to guest use and after guest use. The hotel has two electric vehicle charging stations. Guests receive instruction before driving off with a Solo.
Effective Marketing Campaign
Kost says the hotel’s My Stay. My Car. campaign has been particularly effective at getting the Toyotas and Solos rented.
Acquiring the Solos was the idea of the hotel’s management company, Mairet Hotels. The idea was then pitched to Hilton which agreed to the Solos.
Kost, who has driven a Solo, says it gets a bit of getting used to. “You draw a lot of attention,” she says. “At first it feels odd. You can exit the car left or right. It drives smooth and has a push to it.”
Electra Meccanica currently has a top speed of about 82 mph and 99 percent fewer parts than a combustion engine. Showrooms are in Los Angeles, Portland (Ore.), Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C. A Solo costs $15,500.
According to Bloomberg News, by December, 5,000 Solos will be zipping around the streets of Los Angeles, with an additional 70,000 to be delivered over the next two years across the West Coast.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.