Pleasing the Eye: Enhancing Your Hotels’ Curb Appeal
Do You Pass the Curb Appeal Test?
Let’s take a short quiz together on the power of your current curb appeal. To begin, stand where your prospective guest will see your property for the first time. Look at it objectively, as if you’re considering entering your hotel.
- Does the hotel exterior look a little past its prime?
- Do you see any signs of storm damage?
- Are the green areas poorly maintained, overgrown or dull?
- Do planting beds have few blooms?
- Are the windows dingy?
- Are there pot holes, cracks or loose asphalt in the parking lot?
- Are the parking lot lines fading and discolored?
- Does water regularly puddle into “birdbaths” on your parking lot?
- Are the sidewalks cracked or weed-ridden?
- Are the fences damaged or missing paint?
- Is snow removal and ice control poorly maintained, inhibiting safe passage?
- Are old or thinning amounts of mulch in planting beds?
- Is trash scattered across the parking lot or landscaping?
- Has your building’s facade been defaced by graffiti?
- Does lighting fail to support safe ingress and egress or present an uninviting atmosphere?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your property’s curb appeal is most likely suffering and in need of some rejuvenation.
Importance of Exterior Appeal
Exterior appeal is often noted by a high percentage of customers as a determining factor in their choice of businesses to patronize and also affects their decision to be a repeat customer. A visually pleasing exterior significantly influences potential guests’ initial impression of your hotel, provides reassurance of the service they’ll receive and is a crucial factor in determining a company “brand”. With the arrival of spring and summer, your commercial exterior will reveal the effects that Old Man Winter’s harsh conditions can have on your exterior assets. The trees may be damaged, plant material may be dead, turf damage from snow removal may be present, the irrigation system may need repair and re-activation, and your hard surfaces are no doubt in need of inspection and likely repair. There’s good news; however, with a bit of proper planning, a well-prepared and well-executed spring rejuvenation plan will bring your exterior assets back to their former splendor and keep customers coming back all year long!
These exterior maintenance tips will help keep your curb appeal in peak condition as temperatures rise and the focus shifts from snow and ice control to landscaping, irrigation services and parking lot repairs.
A landscape should be aesthetically pleasing, functional and safety-oriented. Prior to beginning a spring rejuvenation plan, facility managers must first make an assessment of the grounds to identify and correct eyesores and potential hazards. These preventative measures can reduce the risk of lasting winter damage, help restore your landscape’s aesthetic appeal and ensure a healthy landscape through the seasons.
- Note the amount of leaf litter and deadfall that may have accumulated after the completion of the previous autumn’s clean ups.
- Visually inspect all curb lines and corners to check for rutting from delivery trucks and probable damage to irrigation lines and heads.
- Measure the depth of your mulch and if not satisfactory, schedule a mulch replenishment with your exterior services firm.
- Applying pre-emergent herbicide can be critical in achieving weed-free vigorous turf and should be applied prior to temperatures achieving a steady 60 degrees plus.
- Place your order now for any seasonal plantings you incorporate to ensure availability and top-notch selection.
- Always plant tender or less than hardy shrubs in protected areas around the building to shield from wind and snow.
- As plants begin to resume growth, provide adequate moisture and balanced fertilization to ensure maximum bloom and vigor from your landscape’s bed and ornamental areas.
- Inspect all turf areas for any potential frost heaving or soil splits from winter freezes and check all trees on site for dead or diseased limbs.
- Ensure lighting properly illuminates walkways, entrances and the hotel’s exterior landscape, providing a safe and inviting environment.
Springing Into Irrigation
There’s a very narrow window between winter’s end and green start-up to prepare irrigations systems for the new season. Depending on the weather in your area, the optimal time to begin inspecting and repairing your irrigation system is at the first sign of spring, but regions with an increased risk of damage due to heavy snowfall and freezes should begin the process as soon as possible.
Inspecting for winter damage and re-activating the system is best handled by a professional with the proper knowledge and experience to recognize problems in the system. An expert will perform these basic steps during the re-activation process:
- Inspection of motors, engines and control boxes for wiring damage
- Removal of end caps to flush system of debris, insects or small animals that may have accumulated during the winter and could potentially clog sprinkler heads
- Replenishment of water into irrigation system
- Examination of sprinklers for signs of leakage in pipes and drains
- Replacement or repair of any needed accessible parts
- System adjustment for proper coverage and time
- Pressure assessment
- Final inspection for breaks or leaks
Once the inspection process is completed and necessary repairs are made, your irrigation system should be equipped to handle all your irrigation needs until you winterize next fall.
Your asphalt is a major investment, important asset and large part of curb appeal. Potholes, cracks and loose debris are all negative reinforcements upon your guests’ first impression. No matter what your geographic location, a well-planned and budgeted preventative parking lot maintenance program will lower unexpected costs and prolong the life of the investment. Asphalt kept in good condition not only increases the value of the property, but also helps eliminate possible safety hazards. Ignoring minor wear and tear on your parking lots can easily grow into major problems that will increase your costs and decrease customer retention.
Regularly inspect your parking lots for the following signs of wear and tear:
- Small, fragmented cracks
- Large cracks that flow with traffic direction
- Discoloration of blacktop or striping
- Cracked curbs, sidewalks or speed bumps
- Difference in surface texture
- Oil or antifreeze spots
- Loose asphalt
- Ruts or dips in surface
- Weeds or moss
Many factors influence when, and how frequently, pavement should be scheduled for sealcoating and painting. While there’s no set maintenance matrix based on geographic or climatic regions, the generally accepted schedule is a 2-4 year cycle rotation for sealcoating and 1-2 year cycle for striping. Your hard surface areas are another crucial component to ensuring a pleasant experience for your guests when visiting your establishment.
Some helpful information:
- Most significant contributors to pavement deterioration: Original construction quality, traffic and heavy loads, petroleum spills, cracks left unfilled, sun and water
- Parking lot life depends on a timely maintenance program. Too little, too late, just increases maintenance costs over a shortened life span
- One dollar spent before pavement deteriorates will significantly increase; costing $5 after pavement deteriorates (i.e. oxidation, cracking, etc.)
- Sealcoating increases pavement life by sealing hairline cracks, preventing sun from oxidizing, protecting against oil and gas leaks, helping to retain the asphalt’s flexibility, and easing cleaning
- Sealcoating saves real dollars — Unsealed pavement will require repairs starting with the second year and could require a one-inch overlay as often as every seven years
- Pot holes are the result of either an inferior sub-base installation or lack of maintenance that allowed water to enter through cracks in surface. Asphalt cracks should be addressed promptly as moisture infiltration is the primary cause of pavement deterioration
- Parking lot painting life will be determined by: the amount and type of traffic, amount of UV light exposure, weather conditions (rain, ice, sleet, snow, sunshine), chemical exposure (petroleum products, antifreeze, coolant fluid, acid rain, calcium and sodium chloride, salt air), and wind-blown sand and grit
- Tropical environments are the most severe on parking lot paints due to intense sunshine and UV light, high humidity, salt air, high temperatures, heavy rains, and strong winds
- Your public address lettering and ADA usage should be in good repair. Inspect your fire lanes, handicap spaces, arrows, and ADA accesses whether concrete or asphalt to ensure that they are in acceptable condition.
- Lighting must strongly illuminate parking lots to provide safe ingress and egress.
The charts below depict two similar views of what happens to pavement and the costs to maintain it.
As both of these charts illustrate, taking a proactive approach to your pavement maintenance will help save you time, money and frustrations in the long-run! Your dedication to curb appeal will be evident to your valued guests and increase the aesthetics and safety of your property.
Most professional Exterior Services Management® (ESM) companies provide specialized and custom-tailored programs to meet your hard surface needs and can be readily relied upon to meet those needs in a timely and thorough fashion. Additionally, their expertise will likely provide insight not yet gained or applied by your facilities department.
An ESM Company Keeps the Green Coming & Helps You Stay in the Black!
As the spring season approaches, your facilities team has much to consider when evaluating your property’s exterior assets. Without proper care, your exteriors, and your bottom line, may suffer the consequences. By entrusting your exteriors to a tried and tested professional ESM company, you can focus on interior core competencies and appeal. They can develop a comprehensive maintenance program with various services including, but not limited to – green care, irrigation, snow and ice control, and parking lot maintenance to ensure your properties are in peak condition through the seasons. Good winter maintenance, founded by proactive summer planning and implemented by an effective ESM company, offers the following benefits:
- Reduced overall maintenance costs
- Reduced sweeping costs
- Improved levels of service and quality assurance
- Increased equipment life
- Reduced overall material use
- Lessened environmental impact
- Streamlined service delivery to all properties
- Eliminated liability concerns
- Improved landscaping and customer appeal
- Assurance that specifications meet national formats