How Florists Add Value With Hotel Flowers
If you’ve been wanting to reach out to a hotel about hotel flowers but can’t seem to work up the nerve to approach the General Manager, then keep reading. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jelle Vanderbrocke who has been with the JW Marriott Houston downtown for the last five years. And prior to that, he had experience with The Four Seasons, including locations, such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Boston. He shared with me all about his experience working with florists and what a general manager looks for. A Hotel General Manager’s Advice for Creating a Strong and Long-term Partnership Between a Hotel and Florist
Jelle makes it clear that a florist different from all other vendors that a hotel deals with. The other vendors, such as linen and food, are delivering a product and there’s a certain quality that is looked for. A florist not only delivers a service but it’s about building a relationship as it is two-way communication. For example, if the GM says he only wants purple flowers all year round, that’s not really sensible or possible and a florist should communicate this with the General Manager but also provide alternatives. Another thing to keep in mind is that a general manager is hiring you to make the lobby, executive lounge, and other common areas look beautiful and they rely on your expertise as a floral designer to make this happen. Though a florist has a lot of creative and artistic freedom, it’s important that there is always communication happening between the general manager and florists to ensure that brand standards are met and the flowers achieve the desired look and feel of the hotel.
In my experience as a hotel florist and working with hotel flowers I believe it’s so important to build a relationship with the general manager and either pick up the phone or sit down with the client and have a conversation about what they envision for their hotel. If they say “big” well what does that necessarily mean? It’s important to get measurements because It’s important to understand what the expectations are so that a florist can deliver upon it. And again, it’s a two-way street. Relationships are key to the hospitality industry because the industry is all about taking care of people, not just customers, but staff and vendors as well.
Why Hotel Flowers in the Lobby are so Important
Hotel flowers should be complementary to the space, the brand, and the location of the hotel. Besides the valet, the lobby is the first impression a guest has of a hotel and important to really make this arrival experience unforgettable. It needs to be beautiful, it needs to be seamless, and of course, flowers help communicate all of this. Every hotel decor is different, at the JW Downtown Houston the look and feel of the hotel is modern, there are a lot of metals in the lobby, so it is important that the hotel flowers are a representation of this modern look to achieve the overall brand standard. Also, the same flowers in the lobby all year round is not going to work for this modern hotel, flowers need to be seasonal, they need to match and blend in seamlessly to what the hotel is trying to achieve in the lobby as the lobby is an extension of the guest’s arrival experience.
What a Hotel Looks for When Hiring a Florist
The main thing that General Managers are looking for is someone who will help make their job easier. Some who will solve the problem they have and take one more thing off their to-do list. As a florist, you have the unique opportunity to do this by demonstrating that you understand their vision and brand standards and executing your floral designs to reflect this. The majority of general managers do not come from a floral background, and so they rely on the expertise of the florist to help create a beautiful guest experience for their customers. This all comes back to having open communication with the general manager, working with their vision but also not afraid to give suggestions on how you believe it could be better. After all, this is why they are hiring you as the floral expert.
The hospitality industry is all about taking care of people. The general manager’s job is to take care of their guests, and it’s the job of the florist to take care of the hotel as they are our client. We do this by making their jobs easier so they don’t have to worry about if we are going to show up or not if the flowers are going to die if brand standards are not going to be met. By not having to worry about these things frees up more of their time to focus on creating an amazing guest experience and not having to worry one minute about hotel flowers.
The key to understanding how to be a great hotel florist and deliver beautiful hotel flowers is to understand the hospitality industry and how you add value and make the general manager’s job easier. There’s a lot to learn on this topic alone, and if you want to know the three mistakes to avoid when approaching hotels be sure to watch the FREE masterclass that I offer for florists looking to get started working with hotels.