As any hotelier knows, the right ambience is a vital part of the overall guest experience. It can be created by the right music, colour scheme, even down to the furniture in the rooms. But did you know that flora is also key to that equation?
Having worked with some of the largest names in the hotel business, Nurture Landscapes appreciates the importance that careful planting can play in completing the overall look and feel of any hotel. However, enhancing these aren’t the only benefits plants can bring.
Here, Nurture’s Regional Manager Matt Monckton shares his thoughts on how plants, both outside and inside, improves the overall guest experience and a hotel’s bottom line as a result.
Bring nature to the city
Guests want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life or the grind of the office. So, when they’re staying at a hotel, the last thing they want is a setting which reminds them of those. In fact, there’s a growing bank of scientific research which points to using plants or natural landscapes for reducing stress and giving a sense of social inclusion.
A carefully-maintained indoor or outdoor space, complete with colourful plants and flowers, injects that little bit of nature into a country or city break. Not only does it provide a great backdrop, but it also presents an impression of luxury and character.
Lavish indoor and outdoor areas aren’t just reserved for large, 5-star chains; boutique hotels can offer the same experience. From a garden terrace to an indoor lounge or quiet space to sit and relax in, beautiful grounds and flora are an asset for any hotel and can be what distinguishes it from its competitors.
Inside and out
Though they work wonders for a hotel’s image and can be vital in enhancing its reputation, plants have further-reaching benefits. ‘Green’ walls, like the ones we recently installed at a hotel in Southwark Street in London, have become increasingly popular with both the hotel trade and other industries as they inject that sense of nature into what would otherwise be a heavily-urbanised area.
Equally at home in a hotel lobby or on an exterior wall, green walls not only bring colour and vibrancy to a city, but also improve the air quality. This, in turn, demonstrates your hotel as being a champion for the environment from the moment guests arrive – often a major selling point.
As with green walls, roof gardens are great at bringing your hotel’s exterior to life. They can provide a natural retreat for guests as well as encouraging biodiversity, and are often easier to maintain than you might have originally thought through a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS).
SUDS are designed to mimic nature’s own patterns, collecting rainwater and managing water run off (also known as attenuation) before it overwhelms the local water supply and causes flooding. By collecting rainwater close to where it falls, plants in a rooftop terrace have unpolluted water and the local water supply can be free from harmful particles.
These, coinciding with a well-maintained irrigation system which feeds the water directly into the roots and prevents water loss through the soil, provide an attractive display wherever it is placed and allows it to be maintained wherever it is situated.
A natural defence against the elements
It might surprise you to know that plants can also provide a barrier against natural occurrences, such as flooding. For instance, hedges can act as a flood defence, taking the weight of a flash-flood before it reaches your building.
Using plants to protect a hotel in settings vulnerable to the weather is cost-effective and enhances the aesthetics of a hotel’s exterior, rather than using unattractive sand bags or floodguards. In our work for a hotel in Hamphire, heavy rain had led to the existing hedges being severely damaged, requiring them to be replaced. The actual building, on the other hand, was untouched.
Furthermore, careful planting on terraces or in rooms with large windows and around the perimeter of a site can block out unsightly views of busy roads or dampen the noise from traffic, creating the idyllic oasis guests can relax in. And of course, happy guests leave favourable reviews, which leads to increased revenue.
Guest wellbeing and experience
A guest’s experience and comfort are what they will remember most. That experience starts as they are heading up the path to your front door; you might have the most beautiful, historical building complete with stunning décor, but that will all be for nothing if guests are put off by untidy lawns.
The sight of a well-maintained lawn leading up to hotel is a treat for any guest. And getting into a consistent maintenance routine enables you to keep on top of them. However, that care and maintenance – which we’ve carried out at a chain of country house hotels all across the UK – extends all the way up to the hotel and its interior.
Thinking back to basic GCSE biology, plants release the oxygen we need, but they also absorb other particles in the air, including dust.
The sense of feeling calm and actually ‘on holiday’ generated by floral displays and green walls also adds monetary value to a hotel – guests may want to extend their stay or recommend their peers, leading to increased revenue. All from simply choosing the right plants.
Naturally, each hotel is unique, and has its own clientele with differing tastes. But taking some time to explore where you could add some additional colour, from a floral display to outside planting, might just be what makes your hotel stand out from the others on your doorstep.