Snow and Ice: Pre-planning for Natural Disasters

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | November 16, 2014

Winter of 2014 was one of the most severe winters in recent history, with many major cities seeing anywhere from 100 to 300% more snowfall than usual and the “Polar Vortex” keeping the northern half of the United States in record cold temperatures for days at a time.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts this winter to be another arctic blast with above-average snowfall throughout much of the nation. Weather has proven to be cyclical, and we’re in the early stage of a cycle. The severity of the storms the country experienced last year came as a shock to most - especially folks living as far south as Georgia.

One of the biggest challenges hotel owners, operators, managers, and other hospitality professionals will face this winter is keeping their properties safe from the snow and ice that comes with each storm. To avoid potential hazardous conditions and to ensure the safety of hotel properties and their guests, it’s imperative for hotel professionals to understand the importance of snow and ice management and to have a plan in place.

By preparing in advance for winter storms and by following a few simple safety tips, property owners will be able keep their hotel landscapes beautiful and their guests, and employees safe and comfortable.

The Importance of Snow and Ice Management

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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.