Boost Operational Efficiency with Vehicle Accessories and Customization
Purchasing, operating and maintaining a fleet is a major expense for resorts, especially those that rely on pickup trucks and vans for on-property operations. These vehicles leave management reeling from sticker shock and struggling with high energy, maintenance and insurance bills.
Less expensive utility vehicles are adaptable and thus cut these costs significantly. They offer unsurpassed flexibility when customized or accessorized for the job at hand. These tough but nimble vehicles cost about half as much to own and operate as trucks or vans, without much of the high insurance costs.
“Utility vehicles are great for facilities and grounds maintenance, housekeeping, guest transport, food and beverage, site visits, banqueting and many other purposes,” says Les Van Dyk, a regional manager with Club Car.
Van Dyk works with resorts such as The Phoenician, The Sanctuary and other high-end properties in the Southwest, including The Boulders, a Waldorf Astoria resort that sprawls across a 1,300-acre tract in the Sonoran Desert in Carefree, Arizona. The resort features hundreds of stand-alone casitas, villas and privately-owned haciendas as well as two golf courses, a terraced tennis garden, four swimming pools, seven restaurants and 12,000 square feet of meeting space.
Clearly, it takes a big, dependable fleet to keep this little piece of heaven humming.
“Since we’re scattered over such a large space, much of which is closed to cars and trucks, we depend heavily on utility and transport vehicles,” says Sue Madden, director of finance at the resort. “We prefer electric vehicles because they are quiet and fumeless.”
Madden and her team have relied on customized utility vehicles to address their needs for work and transport vehicles since 2007. Not counting the golf courses, their fleet includes more than 100 vehicles, many of which were customized by Club Car’s Custom Solutions Department in Augusta, Georgia.
Every casita at The Boulders has a private outside entrance. To improve efficiency, their housekeepers drive Club Car Carryall 6s with customized boxes and permanent shelving specifically configured to hold regularly used cleaning equipment and supplies as well as guests consumables.
“These vehicles have worked perfectly,” Madden says. “The adjustable shelves in our old vehicles often got lost and had to be replaced. But these are welded in place, with designated spaces for everything.”
The Boulders also relies on a customized Carryall with a van box for distributing clean linens. A trailer hitch pulls a canvas box-on-wheels to transport dirty linens.
In addition, they use a customized Carryall 1 for vacuuming public areas. “This vehicle rides close to the ground, making it easy for our attendants to load and unload the vacuum. The vacuum is kept within a closed compartment, so it can be shuttled around without dragging equipment through public areas. And we no longer have to buy and store vacuum cleaners all over the place,” Madden says.
The resort also relies on customized vehicles for restocking mini bars and others with stake sides to deliver large items needed by housekeeping and other departments.
Fit-to-task Facilities and Ground Maintenance Vehicles
Facilities and grounds managers at resorts also rely on utility vehicles for their unique, but everyday, maintenance and service needs.
“Carryalls can pull heavy loads, yet they’re narrow enough to travel walking paths and get right up to buildings and work sites,” says Van Dyk.
Utility vehicles can be accessorized or customized with items such as:
- customized tool boxes
- extended or high-capacity bed boxes
- van boxes with reconfigurable track systems for holding tools and equipment
- ladder racks and hand-truck holders
- dump beds with or without dedicated trash bins
- removable or permanent side stakes
The possibilities for customizing utility vehicles for a specific task are almost limitless.
Food Service and Banqueting
Utility vehicles customized with insulated van boxes are ideal for room and banquet service, and vehicles with stake side kits are great for moving and setting up equipment. These can be designed with racks, so dishes, glass wear and flat wear can be taken straight from the dishwasher and loaded onto carts for stewarding.
In addition, Club Car designs and builds one-of-a-kind vehicles to meet special food service needs. Take, for example, the pastry delivery car at The Boulders.
“Our onsite pastry kitchen supplies all of our restaurants with delicate desserts. We had been delivering these in a van, but Club Car customized a Carryall 6 with shelving and a custom thermal insulation box that prevents chocolate and cream from melting. As a result, we’ve done away with the van and cut costs in this area,” Madden says.
Guests Transport and Site Visits
Moving guests and visitors in affordable comfort and style is another challenge many resorts face. The Boulders has overcome that with the fleet of Villager 6s it uses to transport guests from reception to their casitas. The six-passenger vehicles are equipped with weather enclosures for inclement weather and fold-down rear seats that transform into flat beds for carrying luggage.
“We’ve found the Villagers to be both stylish and comfortable, and easier to get in and out of than vans,” Madden says.
These limo-like rides can be personalized with made-to-order paint jobs, upholstery, resort logos or messaging, and customized bell service packages with dedicated luggage storage areas and garment rods.
The Boulders uses a Club Car Villager with four spacious forward-facing seats for site visits. “This has really boosted interaction between our staff and prospective clients, since it fosters conversation and lets us point out the features and beauty of our resort,” Madden says.
In addition, resorts with a large real estate footprint like The Boulders are able to cater to guests requiring occasional assistance getting around property. With its El Pedregal shops and dining area on site, The Boulders always has a comfortable transportation option at its disposal for those shoppers scoring big in the resort’s fine retail outlets.
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