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 hotel's 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 you'll 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 it's time to upgrade your landscape.

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

    Routine property assessments should be part of any hotelier's 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
    professional's 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 clients' 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 –
    one that makes frequent inspections an integral part of their operations –
    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 property's 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 – 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, it's important that what they see is consistent with
    the hotel's brand. While a hotel's 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 you've made in your
    hotel's landscape.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.