Hotel Garden: Managing Severe Winter Weather

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 29, 2013

Co-Authored by Mike Fitzpatrick, Vice President, U.S. Lawns

Though winter brings to mind blankets of white snow and nights curled up by the fire, the seasonís inclement weather can bring many challenges when it comes to maintaining a propertyís landscape. In order to operate efficiently and safely during the colder months, hotel leadership must ensure that all walkways are treated, snow is plowed and a watchful eye is kept for ice and slick spots. Not only will proper snow and ice management keep a hotel landscape looking hospitable and accessible despite inclement weather, it will also help avert potentially dangerous conditions.

Winter weather comes in many forms, all of which can cause significant damage to a hotel landscape. Snow can block employee access to parking lots and can inhibit patrons by either covering walkways created to direct customers to entrances or blocking access to buildings and driveways. Heavy snow accumulation can cause structural damage to hotels such as cracks in the foundation or leaking. Clearing snow properly will help keep a hotel accessible in even the worst weather, ensuring operations can continue and revenue will not suffer due to weather.

Snow management is essential to maintaining a hotelís image. For those hotels that do not work with a landscape professional, keep in mind that clearing snow to keep vehicle and pedestrian areas clear may require a significant number of man-hours from hotel personnel. For hotels in colder areas, it is likely necessary to use a snow plow to keep parking lots, driveways and pathways open. Despite their utility, snow plows can pose big challenges to the layman. For example, heavy snowfall can cause issues for a plow. Waiting for significant accumulation can result in serious damage to plowing equipment with expensive repair costs. Experienced snow removal professionals know that it is wise to plow early and often if a large amount of snow is expected.

Hotel owners and managers who operate in a region susceptible to severe winter conditions should take care in choosing the right landscape professional for the job, as many landscape professionals are trained to properly tend to a property in winter months. Selecting an experienced and trusted landscape professional can ease winter worries and remove hassles for any business owner or manager. Look for the landscape professional who has all the necessary equipment and tools to safely care for a property and make sure they are able to provide the expertise and experience to identify specific inclement weather care needs. Properly trained landscape professionals can offer peace of mind, as they often track weather patterns and adjust maintenance strategies accordingly.

Another important factor to consider when planning for the winter months is the necessity of maintaining safety around a hotelís building structure. It can be extremely dangerous to leave large amounts of snow on a buildingís roof. Sliding snow and ice falling from above can harm pedestrians, vehicles and the building below. In extreme cases, snow accumulation on a building roof can cause roofs to collapse due to the extra weight load. It is also important to ensure that snow isnít allowed to accumulate around the base of a building. Snow that sits too close to can lead to leaking that can ultimately damage structure walls and cause basement flooding when the snow melts.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Debbie Bermont
Teri  Utley
Ronald Harrison
Jonathan  Sockell
Andy Dolce
Elaine Oksner
Mary Gendron
S. Lakshmi Narasimhan
Bram  Hechtkopf
Phil  Tufano
Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.