Keeping Your Hotel's Landscape Healthy and Safe on a Budget

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | May 28, 2017

Your hotel's landscape is responsible for making a first impression with your guests. Your landscape should be a reflection of your hotel's brand and should clearly demonstrate to your customers the type of experience you hope your property will deliver-relaxing, comfortable, safe, and fun. In other words, dedicating financial resources to landscaping and grounds keeping are more than worthwhile from an ROI perspective. Nevertheless, as any hotel executive knows, unforeseen circumstances often require difficult budget decisions. If you are forced to dedicate less budget and resources to your landscaping, follow these best practices to ensure that your landscape's health, aesthetics, and safety do not suffer.

Have a Clear Scope of Work (SOW)

Keeping your hotel's landscape healthy on a budget starts with having a clear scope of work (SOW) with your landscape company or grounds care company. The SOW should define all the landscape activities that will occur throughout the year. Typically it will include the core services – mowing, edging, leaf blowing, trimming etc. – plus additional select services to enhance and protect the property, like irrigation maintenance, fertilization and pest control, arbor care and tree maintenance, mulch replacement and replenishment, shrub fertilization and pest control, annual color rotations of flowers, etc.

It is important that budget planning is incorporated into the SOW. Hoteliers must consult with the hotel's landscape professional in order to plan ahead for the coming year and the longer term. Additionally, the grounds care or landscaping company needs to know about, and understand, the hotel's year-round landscape plan and overall budget in order to provide proper care; ensure the landscape's beauty, health, and safety; preserve the hotel's investment in the property; and safeguard the hotel's brand. It is a true partnership that develops over time, to the benefit of both the professional grounds care company and the hotel.

A professional grounds care company is a true partner to your hotel, so hoteliers should feel free to discuss these potentially cost-saving options with them. Just remember that your grounds keeper provides core services, the frequency of which shouldn't be adjusted, because they are preventative: they help you avoid major, unexpected expenses down the road. Select services, however, are optional and their frequency can be safely altered, helping you immediately save money. These services include the amount and type of materials like turf, flowers, trees, and shrubs.

Align Your SOW with Your Budget

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.