Internet of Things (IoT) technology is giving hotels and resorts more control of their facilities … and their fleets. See how one resort is using a new system to control the vehicles guests use for onsite transportation and enrich the guests’ experience.
The five-star Rosewood Tuckers Point in Hamilton Parish, Bermuda, sprawls across 250 acres overlooking rounded green hills and Bermuda’s largest beach. Opened in 2009, it reflects the island’s classic and refined British roots.
Accommodations range from rooms to suites to several residential communities, including the Golf Villas Residence Club, 20 exclusive privately-owned villas. For some time, the Golf Villas has been supplying golf cars made by a major U.S. manufacturer for owners of these properties to use as on-site transport.
But the resort had government permission to use the guests-driven cars only on their site and a small stretch of public road that leads to the popular beach club. Even so, guests were taking the cars off-site, sometimes into town, prompting the government of Bermuda to consider revoking the resort’s permit for these cars both on and off the property. That would not have affected cars used on golf courses, but the loss of that permit would have done a whammy on the Golf Villas.
“If we had lost that permit, the Golf Villas would have been largely inoperable, because our guests use them to get to recreational areas, restaurants, the beach club and everywhere else on the property,” says Buddy Fleming, general manager of the Golf Villas Residence Club.
Off-site use of the vehicles was sometimes, but not always, inadvertent. Several roads on the property lead into very busy public roads on the island, which are narrow, curvy and often lined with rock walls and fast-moving traffic. That’s no environment for small four-wheel vehicles.
The Visage® Resort Edition Solves the Problem
While struggling with this issue, the manager of the Golf Villa’s learned of the Visage Resort Edition. Developed by GPS Industries for Club Car, the cloud-based connected system relies on the latest GPS and touch-screen technology.
In 2016, The Golf Villa’s Residence Club purchased 26 Club Car Villager 4s, all equipped with Visage Resort Edition, for use by owners of the Golf Villas.
The system helps guests navigate the site. It offers on-screen messaging, two-way communications, distance to the next location, brilliant 3-D graphics of the resort and other features. “Our guests love it,” says Fleming.
Discreetly Limits Access to Unauthorized Public Roads
More importantly, the system allows the Golf Villas to program “restricted access” zones near intersections that lead to off-limits public roads. “When drivers approach such an intersection, they receive a pop-up notice on the in-car screen and the vehicle’s speed is automatically reduced,” Fleming says.
The driver is also informed, via the screen, of where and in which direction to turn to remain on the resort property. If the driver turns the wrong way, the vehicle goes into “forward movement disabled” mode, and the screen notifies the driver to place the car in reverse, then turn around to the approved travel lane to keep from going off-site.
These travel restrictions also become effective if one of the Villager 4s attempts to access other residential areas on the property, the golf course or the nearby Mid Ocean Club and Golf Course.
“Visage solved our problem,” says Fleming. “It gives us a subtle form of control over the vehicles that is in keeping with our luxury status.”
The Icing on the Cake
Resorts can also use Visage to promote specials and events and advertise resort properties for sale by setting the system so that information on a home that’s on the market pops up when a vehicle nears that property, as Casa de Campo, in the Dominican Republic, does.
The system also features real-time diagnostics and car control on electric models. This lets resorts know where their cars are at all times, set geographic fencing and lock down a single car or the entire fleet.
“Now that we’re using Visage, I can’t imagine operating without it,” says Fleming. “Having unique keys for the vehicles and being able to identify where every car is at all times also limits the use of the vehicles to owners at the Golf Villas,” says Fleming.
The vehicles themselves solved several additional problems the resort was experiencing. “The cars we bought before switching to Villagers began rusting almost instantly in this wet and salty environment,” says Fleming. “But the Villager 4s are built on rustproof aluminum frames that can withstand salt, fertilizers, and water.”
“We also love the Villager’s on-board chargers with reel retractors. They let us charge at any 110-volt outlet and keep the cord on the reel when it’s not in use. On our past fleet, the cords broke almost immediately and there was no reel. The cords were just jumbled up in an unsightly mess in the back of the vehicles,” Fleming says.
“It’s so good to work with a vehicle manufacturer that not only supplies high-quality vehicles but finds solutions to the problems we face,” Fleming says.