"It did not take long before we found that the Segway HT was the ideal way to respond guest calls, such as when they have misplaced their card key or it has become demagnetized," says McPherson. "The Segway HT not only gets us to the guests quickly, but it also leaves them with the impression that we care about expediting their request. It increases our efficiency and enhances our image."
"The Segway HT has also proved to be optimal for parking lot patrols because it allows our security personnel to see over the cars," says McPherson. "It is quiet and fast and it can go places our vehicles can't. We can get anywhere on the property without getting into and out of a vehicle and then walking or running. We keep our unit in the main security office."
Ian Satchell, a security supervisor at the Westin Kierland, is particularly impressed with the ability of the Segway HT to shorten routine patrols.
"I work the swing shift from 2:30 p.m. until 11 p.m., and I am able to personally complete three patrols of the entire property on the Segway HT during that time," says Satchell. "That compares with completing one patrol of the property on foot. And when I am not using it, the other officers also use it to patrol. In fact, every officer in our security department has been thoroughly trained on the Segway HT and is allowed to use it."
According to McPherson, this has a positive effect on guest relations. "We operate 24 hours a day and for at least 15 of those 24 hours there's somebody using the Segway HT," says McPherson. "We want to be out and about, and visible to our guests. We like to have that presence."
To evaluate one aspect of its effectiveness, McPherson's group studied response times. "We looked at every security response to a guest call during the last 6 months of 2004, when we did not use the Segway HT. During that time it took us an average of 12 minutes to respond to each call," says McPherson. "We then compared that with the first few months of 2005, when we were using the Segway HT, and found that we reduced the average response time to 7 minutes. When you consider that we respond to 1,500 calls each month that is a huge improvement in our ability to serve our guests."
As for how the guests themselves respond to the Segway HTs, McPherson sums it up in one word: "Wow."
"Guests are very positive about our use of the devices. I'm stopped 3-4 times a day by guests who want to know what it is and how it works," says McPherson. "They are always amazed at how easy it is to operate."
"The Segway HT makes our security staff extremely visible and that is a good thing," says McPherson. "We become a roving concierge and a security guard, and there's not a guest that comes to this property that does not see us on it. Our presence makes people feel more secure and that has a big impact on guest satisfaction. This a very effective security tool and we are very happy to have it."