Is it Time to Spruce up Your Landscape?

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | June 25, 2017

Now that summer is here, it might be time to enhance the appearance of your hotelís grounds. If you think that trimming, edging, and mowing every other week will be enough, think again. Your landscape deserves the best in full-service grounds care carried out by trained experts with an eye for keeping your landscape healthy.
Commercial grounds care is very different than residential landscaping, so even if your hotel has the best looking landscaping in the area, there are still circumstances youíll need to consider in order to keep your grounds safe, healthy, and looking great. As a hotelier, ask yourself these five questions to help decide if itís time to upgrade your landscape.

  1. When Was the Last Time You Assessed Your Surroundings?

    Routine property assessments should be part of any hotelierís to-do list.
    While maintaining the inside of a property might be a higher priority to
    some hoteliers, inspecting the grounds should be just as important. Your
    landscape is the first thing your guests see when they arrive, and you never
    have a second chance to make a good first impression. Typically, inspections
    should be carried out with two viewpoints in mind: first, from a landscape
    professionalís perspective, and second through the eyes of a guest.

    Most professional landscape service providers recommend having a walk
    through with you or your maintenance manager to assess your property. A
    grounds care provider should check in on their clientsí properties on a
    consistent, regularly-scheduled basis. Some hoteliers trust that their
    on-site maintenance manager would be capable of overseeing maintenance
    issues regarding landscaping, but there are some things only a seasoned
    landscape expert will notice, including hazards that could potentially
    result in an accident. These issues, if not rectified early on, can prove
    costly in the long run. Investing in a professional grounds care company Ė
    one that makes frequent inspections an integral part of their operations Ė
    will almost always pay off over time. Not only will an expert be able to
    look out for hazards that may be costly in the event of an accident, but
    they can also keep a property updated, in terms of industry trends, plant
    health, and best practices, which will enhance a propertyís appearance.

  2. Have You Assessed the Entire Property, or Just the Obvious Parts?

    When assessing the grounds of a property, most people tend to focus first on
    the aesthetic Ė and for good reason. When guests pull into the
    porte-cochere, park in designated parking spots, or take a walk around to
    the back of the hotel, itís important that what they see is consistent with
    the hotelís brand. While a hotelís maintenance manager may spot hedges in
    need of trimming, pests on shrubs or turf, or hazardous wet spots due to a
    leaking irrigation system, you may need an expert eye to discover what is
    causing those problems and others, and to address the best solutions and
    future prevention. Routine inspections and service by a professional
    grounds care provider will protect the investment youíve made in your
    hotelís landscape.

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.