How to Choose a Landscaping Contractor – And Knowing When it’s Time to Switch

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | December 28, 2014

Creating Your Qualifications Checklist

Identifying Your Goals

Regardless of your aesthetic preferences, every hotel professional should ensure that their property is consistently maintained and kept clean and safe so that all guests feel welcome and comfortable upon arrival. This should always be a baseline goal.

However, the most successful hotels go one step further and aim to create a landscape that represents their brand. The entire exterior property serves as an extension of the look and feel of the interior spaces. To create a consistent theme from the inside out, first identify your brand’s characteristics—Is your hotel luxurious? Contemporary? Traditional? Minimalist? Over-the-top? These attributes will drive the design of your landscape and the requirements of your landscaping company. If your hotel’s brand encompasses a luxurious lifestyle, for example, then you would expect to invest in expensive décor, lighting, furniture, dishware, etc. The same holds true for a landscaping company - you will need to invest in a professional who can provide that same level of quality.

Finally, it’s important that the look and feel of your landscape reflects the services that your hotel offers. For example, if your hotel primarily caters to families traveling on their way to a final destination, you would want your landscape to be welcoming, yet simple, with plenty of well-lit, clearly marked walkways for late arrivals. If your hotel caters to the business crowd and often hosts conferences, you will want to have plenty of outdoor seating so visitors can sneak outside and make a private phone call or have an impromptu meeting with a small group. If your hotel positions itself as a luxurious destination for a romantic getaway, your landscape should feel lush and exotic. If your landscape does not match the primary purpose of your hotel, you risk alienating visitors or attracting a customer whose needs you can’t meet. The best way to avoid this is to identify a contractor who is experienced in working with hotels like yours.

Establishing Your Needs

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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.