Exploring the Lifecycle of Your Landscape

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | January 10, 2016

Like all other living organisms your landscape has a natural lifecycle. But, with so many different landscape components (i.e. grass, shrubs, trees, flowers, etc.) it can be difficult for hoteliers to recognize the red flags indicating the need to renovate.

By understanding the importance of the landscape’s life cycle from a holistic approach, and taking the necessary steps to protect each component, hoteliers can ensure they’re fostering a healthy and valuable property.

The Value of Your Landscape

Hoteliers know that their landscape is a direct extension of their overall image, as it can be the first interaction guests have with their hotel. In fact, if properly designed and maintained, the landscape can add a tremendous amount of value to the property and the guests’ overall experience. At the very least, hoteliers need to maintain a crisp and clean landscape to boost the hotel’s curb appeal and create a safe environment for guests.

However, to determine how much return on investment a hotelier can expect from their landscape, and therefore decide exactly how much to invest, they must think about the type of experience they’re offering to guests. For example, a four or five star hotel brand like the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Hyatt, or Fairmont, would require a landscape that is more intricate and elegant in order to uphold their brand standards and live up to the guests’ expectations. In contrast, a two or three star hotel, would likely take on a more simplistic and clean landscape.

It’s important to point out that all features from the main entryways, sidewalks to the pool and other property areas, contribute to the hotel’s brand. By supporting the hotel with the appropriate landscape practices, hotel owners and managers can foster the type of atmosphere that will please guests and more importantly turn them into returning guests. As previously stated, high-end hotels and resorts, will invest more into a landscape in order to make sure they uphold their brand standard. No matter the location of the hotel, whether it is in a city or suburb, they will have to spend more on their landscape and property features. This also means that their landscape will require more upkeep throughout the year because their foliage will be more extravagant, compared to that of a less expensive hotel, in which a hotel owner or manager will just need to make sure their landscapes are clean and safe.

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.