Preparing for Winter

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 13, 2015

By following these simple steps you can ensure your hotel will be ready for one of the busiest seasons of the year.

Step 1. Winterizing Irrigation Systems

In order to prevent damages and costly repairs, hoteliers need to winterize their property's irrigation system. For hotels in seasonal and non-seasonal markets alike, winterization is key in ensuring your sprinkler system works properly in the future. Particularly in regions that reach freezing temperatures, the colder climates can freeze and break pipe walls, ruining your irrigation system come spring. But even those in temperate areas need to take certain precautions, as the year-round demands on the irrigation systems will need to be checked and cleaned more often. Your winterization approach will vary depending on where your system is located, but all hoteliers should follow the basic method: turn off the water, shut down the controller, and drain the pipes.

The first step in shutting off the water supply is by turning it off using the main valve. The second step is to turn off the sprinkler's control system. This step can be more complex since there are many different types of sprinkler systems, so if you're working with a landscaping company, it's crucial that they do it correctly.

The third and most important step is removing the water from your system's sprinklers, as it prevents your pipes from freezing, expanding, and bursting. It also ensures that the system's pipes are clean and working efficiently. Draining the pipes is a key step in minimizing damages and optimizing the functionality of the system, but it is also complicated, so professional help is highly recommended.

Step 2. Fall Fertilization

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.