6 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Landscaping Contractor This Spring

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | February 08, 2015

As we head into the last six weeks of winter (yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow), now is the time to connect with your landscaping contractor about preparations for spring. While spring brings warm weather, blossoming flowers, and (at last!) greenery, thereís a lot of work to be done before the season changes. By working with your contractor now and creating a plan, you can guarantee that your hotel will be spring ready.

Here are a few simple questions to ask your contractor to ensure that all of your hotelís landscape needs are covered.

1. What Renovations are Necessary?

When you first designed your hotelís landscape, you and your landscaper likely had a long-term vision in mind. But over time, a landscape can change and shift away from the original vision. As the landscape starts to evolve, you need to ask your contractor what renovations need to be made in order to enhance and protect the design. For example, if a hotelier had an oak or willow tree planted in front of their hotel five years prior, and now itís turned into a mature tree, what necessary improvements need to be made this spring to ensure the grass beneath it receives sunlight? Or if you have trees that are blocking the view of exterior gardens, your contractor is going to have to come up with a renovation plan to fix this.

Before spring starts, hotel professionals will also need to ask their contractors about their plan of action to assess and repair possible damaged flowerbeds, bushes, and other vegetation on the property. That being said, if there was any damage that your staff reported during the winter season, itís important to relay that information to your contractor as well. Laying down a renovation plan and setting specific expectations will help your landscape grow into its ultimate vision and keep you and your contractor on the same page.

2. How Should We Invest Extra Budget?

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.