Preparing for Winter

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 13, 2015

By following these simple steps you can ensure your hotel will be ready for one of the busiest seasons of the year.

Step 1. Winterizing Irrigation Systems

In order to prevent damages and costly repairs, hoteliers need to winterize their propertyís irrigation system. For hotels in seasonal and non-seasonal markets alike, winterization is key in ensuring your sprinkler system works properly in the future. Particularly in regions that reach freezing temperatures, the colder climates can freeze and break pipe walls, ruining your irrigation system come spring. But even those in temperate areas need to take certain precautions, as the year-round demands on the irrigation systems will need to be checked and cleaned more often. Your winterization approach will vary depending on where your system is located, but all hoteliers should follow the basic method: turn off the water, shut down the controller, and drain the pipes.

The first step in shutting off the water supply is by turning it off using the main valve. The second step is to turn off the sprinklerís control system. This step can be more complex since there are many different types of sprinkler systems, so if youíre working with a landscaping company, itís crucial that they do it correctly.

The third and most important step is removing the water from your systemís sprinklers, as it prevents your pipes from freezing, expanding, and bursting. It also ensures that the systemís pipes are clean and working efficiently. Draining the pipes is a key step in minimizing damages and optimizing the functionality of the system, but it is also complicated, so professional help is highly recommended.

Step 2. Fall Fertilization

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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.