Mr. Hutcheson

Maintenance

Showcase Your Property with Seasonal Color

By Ken Hutcheson, President, U.S. Lawns

With strong competition across the hospitality industry, first impressions are key when it comes to hotels contending for guests' business. While quality customer service and generous amenities will encourage guests to return to a property a second and third time, how do you ensure that they choose the hotel in the first place? The answer to this question could be as simple the property's grounds. A bland or overgrown landscape can speak poorly about the quality of service provided by the hotel, eroding customer confidence and injuring long-term loyalty. However, a healthy, well-maintained landscape creates an environment that is appealing and inviting to guests, and sends a strong message about the hotel's commitment to service. Regularly updating and improving a hotel's exterior appearance can present a continually fresh and lively feeling, giving guests an experience rather than just another hotel stay.

In today's fast paced world, guests now have access to hundreds of reservations online and the option to view properties before booking, making it more important than ever for a hotel property to make a great first impression. Consider the following advice as you work with your commercial landscape contractor to develop a healthy-looking, eye-catching landscape that sets your hotel apart from the competition without crippling your bottom line.

Proper planning is essential

Making sure a hotel property looks its best year-round can help keep the reservations coming in, but it requires foresight and proper planning. For example, spring bulbs should be planted in the fall, and annual plants and flowers should be selected based upon which varieties grow best in the regional climate. Tulips and daffodils are great choices for northern states like New York and Connecticut, while cool season annuals such as pansies and violas are well suited for the southern climates of Georgia, the Carolinas and the like. In regions that endure particularly long or harsh winters, ornamental greens such as red twig dogwoods and evergreens provide a festive touch during colder months. Winter-flowering plants will also inject a burst of color into otherwise dreary landscapes. The most popular winter bulbs are daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, and tulips. These cold weather bloomers are suitable for resorts in various geographic regions.

Remember that spring and summer are times to showcase inventive design and creativity, as warmer weather presents considerable options for choosing flowering plants. These flowering varieties add greatly to the overall look of a hotel and the related experience a guest has during their stay. Because there are so many options of spring and summer varieties for hotel owners or managers to choose from, creating a unique, inexpensive look is easy. During fall and winter, efforts should be focused largely on landscape preservation and maintenance. This will help ensure your property is ready to shine in the warmer months, attracting both new and existing customers. Consult your landscape contractor for more ideas about seasonal plant options and care.

Keep in mind that beauty is not everything when it comes to landscaping. It is equally important for a landscape to be intelligently designed. This means taking ease of maintenance, sustainability, and water usage into consideration. These are key details to discuss when working with a landscape contractor to develop a complete landscape plan. If done properly, a well-designed project can significantly reduce a property's operating costs, while still keeping it attractive and impactful.

Flourishing flowers

One way to improve a drab landscape is by replacing non-flowering plants with blooming varieties. While perennial trees and shrubs provide short bursts of color, annual flowers can revitalize the look of any hotel's property from the time they are planted until the first frost. With a range of colors, species and sizes, and the ability to thrive in the shade or sun, annual flowers can be planted virtually anywhere. Feature annuals in flower beds, window boxes, rock gardens or hanging baskets. It is important to also consider location, whether the floral display will be seen from a distance by passing highway traffic or up close by foot traffic. A landscape contractor can provide insight on which varieties best complement the climate and style of a particular hotel, as well as advice on appropriate designs to produce maximum impact for the viewer.

Don't shy away from color

Color is a key element of landscape design. Simple aesthetic changes to a property's landscape can greatly enhance its appeal. Ordinary landscapes can be transformed with a simple makeover by replacing non-flowering plants with blooming varieties. With a range of colors, species and sizes, and the ability to thrive in the shade or sun, annual flowers can revitalize the look of your property. It is important to choose colors that will complement both exterior building materials and interior color schemes when selecting plant and flower varieties. By coordinating these colors, a unifying effect can be created, providing cohesion to any design.

In addition, annual flowers can be planted virtually anywhere, including in flower beds or in rock gardens, or as ground covers. In the spring and summer, impatiens, petunias, and begonias are always a good choice to consider if your hotel landscape needs a vibrant splash of color. A color scheme can be tailored to evoke certain emotions-warm colors like yellow, orange and red generate a feeling of energy and excitement, and they can also make spaces appear smaller and more intimate. Cool blues, purples and greens, on the other hand, create an environment that's calm and relaxed, and white flowers contribute to a peaceful aesthetic. Remember that certain color mixtures work best; use colors in the same families for a traditional look or pair complementary colors to add interest and tasteful contrast. A landscape contractor can help decide which varieties best complement the climate and style of your property, as well offer advice on the best colors and designs that highlight your property.

Be mindful to maintain

Proper plant and lawn care is essential for preserving a healthy and colorful landscape, and proper pruning allows the trees and shrubs to maintain their greatest flowering or fruiting potential. In most cases, hand pruning is preferable to sheering to help the plant maintain its natural beauty, although there are some instances where sheering will augment a more formal garden. It is also important to ensure flowerbeds and borders are properly mulched as this will help protect the soil from harmful chemicals and will help prevent run-off. Taking the care to properly aerate and dethatch surrounding lawn areas with help to minimize susceptibility to disease for the entire landscape. In order to prevent harm to your plants, it is important to select a landscape contractor who considers the specific needs of your property, as well as the image you want to convey when it comes to maintenance.

Don't waste water

Sufficient hydration is essential to the health and appearance of the hotel's landscape. Both under-watering and over-watering can wreak havoc on plants, causing unnecessary expense. With the current trends in water and energy conservation, carbon emissions reduction, and the protection of local ecosystems, proper irrigation is crucial to effective grounds maintenance. A landscape contractor will be able to suggest a watering plan that is appropriate for a hotel's property, and may also recommend adjustments to any current watering system. Making sure that irrigation equipment is up-to-par and that plants are receiving the right amount of H20 will not only keep your plants in top condition, but it can also generate savings on water bills and reduce plant replacement costs.

An attractive landscape does not just create aesthetic value for a hotel, but it is also an investment in the business's future. By utilizing opportunities to present a fresh, floral atmosphere to new and existing customers, any hotel owner or manager can be sure to greatly enhance the experience felt by guests and increase the likelihood of guests returning in the future. Not only will a healthy and attractive landscape create a beautiful and welcoming environment sure to attract guests, but when properly planned it can generate long-run cost savings for hotel owners. By working with a trusted professional, a landscape plan that enhances the beauty of the hotel property can be developed and assist in delivering the hotel's commitment to service. And with a few simple maintenance techniques, you can ensure your hotel will always create a wonderful and lasting first impression. .

Ken Hutcheson is President of U.S. Lawns. He joined the company in 1995 and has grown the organization from a regional 18-franchise network to a national network of over 250-franchises in all 48 contiguous states. U.S. Lawns is nourished by the values and passion of family-owned and operated franchise businesses. Mr. Hutcheson champions an entrepreneurial spirit and a teamwork culture. He’s skilled at developing employee, franchisee and customer bases that are anchored on a commitment to long-term relationships. His focus on the company’s Franchise Development and Support is central to the company’s steady national expansion and consistently high rankings on industry lists. Mr. Hutcheson can be contacted at 407-246-1630 or khutcheson@uslawns.com Please visit https://uslawns.com/ for more information. Extended Bio...

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