Renting and rolling is all the rage in many of Spain’s major MICE cities. In fact, Segway tours occupy half of Madrid’s Top 10 Outdoor Activities on TripAdvisor. What gives?
Part of the allure has to do with the landscape. Though cradled by mountains and perched 2,120 feet above sea level, Madrid occupies a relatively flat plateau—perfect for cruising on the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicles. One of Europe’s highest capitals, it’s also among the driest as well as the sunniest.
“We have many places to explore on these easy, comfortable vehicles, including big parks,” explained Sara Millan, an administrative guide at Madrid’s Segway Trip. “Conference groups really like to get out and have fun.”
Barcelona is making a strong showing, too, with new rules that allow Segways to access almost the entire city, gliding through spacious plazas and down wide bike lanes, according to Vincent Dammann, co-owner of Barcelona Segway Tour.
“MICE visitors often have little spare time,” he noted. “Segways allow them to get a good impression in a relatively short time, connecting sights in the city center with those a bit farther away.”
Dammann’s company is Spain’s top provider for company events, collaborating with industry leaders like American Express Global Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, the UK’s Kuoni and MCI/Ovation.
“Segway tours are for almost all ages and require practically no physical effort,” Dammann said. And then there’s the “wow” factor.
“The vehicles are expensive and not too many people own one or have ridden one before, so it’s a more exclusive and exciting way to discover the city than a bus tour,” he said, a factor that helps attract high-profile professionals, senior management and vice presidents. “They’re unlikely to join, say, a bicycle tour, especially in a work context and when the temperature is 27°C [80°F].”