6 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Landscaping Contractor This Spring

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | February 08, 2015

As we head into the last six weeks of winter (yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow), now is the time to connect with your landscaping contractor about preparations for spring. While spring brings warm weather, blossoming flowers, and (at last!) greenery, there's a lot of work to be done before the season changes. By working with your contractor now and creating a plan, you can guarantee that your hotel will be spring ready.

Here are a few simple questions to ask your contractor to ensure that all of your hotel's landscape needs are covered.

1. What Renovations are Necessary?

When you first designed your hotel's landscape, you and your landscaper likely had a long-term vision in mind. But over time, a landscape can change and shift away from the original vision. As the landscape starts to evolve, you need to ask your contractor what renovations need to be made in order to enhance and protect the design. For example, if a hotelier had an oak or willow tree planted in front of their hotel five years prior, and now it's turned into a mature tree, what necessary improvements need to be made this spring to ensure the grass beneath it receives sunlight? Or if you have trees that are blocking the view of exterior gardens, your contractor is going to have to come up with a renovation plan to fix this.

Before spring starts, hotel professionals will also need to ask their contractors about their plan of action to assess and repair possible damaged flowerbeds, bushes, and other vegetation on the property. That being said, if there was any damage that your staff reported during the winter season, it's important to relay that information to your contractor as well. Laying down a renovation plan and setting specific expectations will help your landscape grow into its ultimate vision and keep you and your contractor on the same page.

2. How Should We Invest Extra Budget?

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.