Hotel Garden: Managing Severe Winter Weather
By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 29, 2013
Co-Authored by Mike Fitzpatrick, Vice President, U.S. Lawns
Though winter brings to mind blankets of white snow and nights curled up by the fire, the season's inclement weather can bring many challenges when it comes to maintaining a property's landscape. In order to operate efficiently and safely during the colder months, hotel leadership must ensure that all walkways are treated, snow is plowed and a watchful eye is kept for ice and slick spots. Not only will proper snow and ice management keep a hotel landscape looking hospitable and accessible despite inclement weather, it will also help avert potentially dangerous conditions.
Winter weather comes in many forms, all of which can cause significant damage to a hotel landscape. Snow can block employee access to parking lots and can inhibit patrons by either covering walkways created to direct customers to entrances or blocking access to buildings and driveways. Heavy snow accumulation can cause structural damage to hotels such as cracks in the foundation or leaking. Clearing snow properly will help keep a hotel accessible in even the worst weather, ensuring operations can continue and revenue will not suffer due to weather.
Snow management is essential to maintaining a hotel's image. For those hotels that do not work with a landscape professional, keep in mind that clearing snow to keep vehicle and pedestrian areas clear may require a significant number of man-hours from hotel personnel. For hotels in colder areas, it is likely necessary to use a snow plow to keep parking lots, driveways and pathways open. Despite their utility, snow plows can pose big challenges to the layman. For example, heavy snowfall can cause issues for a plow. Waiting for significant accumulation can result in serious damage to plowing equipment with expensive repair costs. Experienced snow removal professionals know that it is wise to plow early and often if a large amount of snow is expected.
Hotel owners and managers who operate in a region susceptible to severe winter conditions should take care in choosing the right landscape professional for the job, as many landscape professionals are trained to properly tend to a property in winter months. Selecting an experienced and trusted landscape professional can ease winter worries and remove hassles for any business owner or manager. Look for the landscape professional who has all the necessary equipment and tools to safely care for a property and make sure they are able to provide the expertise and experience to identify specific inclement weather care needs. Properly trained landscape professionals can offer peace of mind, as they often track weather patterns and adjust maintenance strategies accordingly.
Another important factor to consider when planning for the winter months is the necessity of maintaining safety around a hotel's building structure. It can be extremely dangerous to leave large amounts of snow on a building's roof. Sliding snow and ice falling from above can harm pedestrians, vehicles and the building below. In extreme cases, snow accumulation on a building roof can cause roofs to collapse due to the extra weight load. It is also important to ensure that snow isn't allowed to accumulate around the base of a building. Snow that sits too close to can lead to leaking that can ultimately damage structure walls and cause basement flooding when the snow melts.