Crystal City has launched an innovative visitor service pilot to its streets: rolling concierges on Segway personal transporters.
Applying cutting-edge technology to proactively serve visitors near Crystal City hotels, the pilot will help guide Arlingtons long-term visitor services strategy.
With support from the Crystal City Business Improvement Districts (BID), the program is focused on driving increased visitor spending to stores, restaurants and attractions in the Crystal City neighborhood that is home to the majority of the Countys hotel rooms.
Visitors to Crystal City will be greeted by staff on Segways wearing bright red shirts sporting the international i information symbol.
The Segway riders will scout the areas around the Crystal City Metro stop, Crystal Drive, 23rd Street, and Eads Street during peak pedestrian traffic hours from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Using an on-board tablet computer and wireless phones, they will assist neighborhood visitors with restaurant recommendations and reservations, directions to nearby stores and attractions, and information about hotels, evening entertainment, transportation and more.
Not only does it fit our mission to personalize the Crystal City experience with fresh and fun approaches, its a wonderful opportunity to help tourists kickoff their journey around Crystal City, said Angela Fox, Crystal City BID’s president and CEO.
An event to kick off the pilot program was held Wednesday in Crystal City. The Arlington Convention and Visitors Association will assess initial results this fall, with the pilot continuing indefinitely. Arlington is known for thinking outside the box in so many areas, said ACVS director Emily Cassell. As the Countys tourism organization, were thrilled to explore this fresh new approach to serving visitors.
Although Arlington has operated a centralized visitors center at Pentagon Row since 2003, research shows that fewer than 2 percent of the Countys visitors (approximately 27,000 in fiscal year 2008) actually go there. The decentralized nature of Arlington with its many Metro-centered urban villages instead of one downtown means we need to take services directly to where visitors are staying, said Cassell. This pilot will help us create a long-term solution with just the right combination of personal attention and technology.