Signs You Need to Hire a New Grounds Care Provider

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | April 16, 2017

Hoteliers place a significant investment in their grounds that can be dramatically diminished without proper care and oversight. Given how important it is to protect this asset, you should have a grounds care provider you can rely on. Someone who knows the specific needs of your hotel, what challenges your region can expect, and how to take care of your landscape. Otherwise you risk the health and overall appearance of your landscape.

Your grounds care provider should have a plan in place to handle the various dangers your property might encounter. Depending on the location of your hotel, your landscape can face several threats throughout the year, either as a result of natural causes or human error. Examples include improper pruning, bug infestation, over/under fertilizing, and damage from frost or wind. Another example can be seen in the mid-Atlantic region; if your irrigation isnít working properly in the middle of summer, you can burn your vegetation quickly. In Florida, your turf can burn out in just one week without proper irrigation. And in the North-East region in winter, your irrigationís pipes can burst if you havenít blown out the lines properly. Almost every property throughout the country has irrigation, so if your contractor isnít checking it, there can be serious ramifications.

But those arenít the only challenges a property can encounter. In the landscape industry, we struggle with issues including weather, employees, small tools, and equipment. Knowing this, we manage what we know we can manage and we prepare to address the problems we canít entirely prevent. This is where having the right resources on hand is so important. That way if the weather doesnít cooperate and it starts raining in the middle of a job, a grounds care provider can juggle different tasks at different properties. This level of flexibility allows the grounds care provider to attend to the other needs of his customersí properties, instead of allowing the rain to cause serious delays in his or her work. If that grounds care provider has a smaller crew, however, or they donít have enough equipment to be used at different locations at the same time, they can be in trouble.

Having the right resources available, can be the difference between having a grounds care provider who is only equipped to make remedial changes and one who can also make enhancements. Grounds care providers can work with you to make improvements to your property, they can provide timely repairs, cost-saving advice, all while protecting the life of your plants. But what if you donít have a grounds care provider you can rely on? What are things you should look out for to determine whether you have the right grounds care provider for your property?

Here are Three Signs you Need to Consider Hiring a New Grounds Care Provider

  1. The Hotelier is Having to Manage His or Her Landscape

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.