Updated: Feb 10, 2020
I recently received this message, "While I’m not in the industry, I do aspire to have a brick and mortar one day. And I had no clue prior to meeting you that I could hire someone to make my space look amazing with fresh florals. Sure, we’ve all seen a flower wall at events but, even for only grand openings, I’m convinced no one (even event planners) know how to hire a floral consultant, why they need one (and they do), and what questions to ask to hire the right fit for their needs."
This person was right. It got me thinking...
How much money companies could save or how much money could be efficiently used when it came to floral design, especially on a large scale, if a floral consultant had been consulted prior.
As an expert, providing turnkey floral solutions for luxury hotels, I start by analyzing the desired guest experience. Ensuring a cohesive voice relating to brand standards as well as the actual space which needs to add impact to the overall look and feel.
So let's start with the guest. While the hotel and/or hotel brand is my client, I focus first and foremost on what they want to communicate to their guest. Therefore the guest is my priority. Their arrival experience is not something you get a second chance on. We've all heard the quote, "First impressions are the most lasting." by PROVERBS. As humans, we have a level of expectation when we are traveling and especially when investing in luxury hotels. It's a sense of exclusivity and for a moment in time, a way to elevate the every day. Therefore when a guest enters the hotel, especially the arrival experience in the lobby, it needs to be nothing short of a WOW moment.
That is an impression that they won't forget and will make them easily look the other way when minor disappointments in service or amenity offerings are experienced through out their stay. With this in mind the designs we create are not ordinary and should provoke curiosity and excitement.
Many times I hear the guests chatting amongst themselves, "do you think those are real?" or, "how do you think they got them to stay like that?", or my personal favorite, "have you ever seen anything like this?!". When you're considering hiring a floral consultant, ensure they have your guest's experience and first impression at heart because then your mission is easily achieved.
Next is to consider brand standards. Every luxury hotel brand is different and can have property specific differences depending on ownership. For example, the way we design for a classic, convention hosting, downtown property would be completely different than the way we design for a contemporary downtown hotel catering to the modern business traveler.
Some brands specifically outline non negotiable florals and botanicals such as succulents and roses. Other properties insist on clear vases vs. colored. It's important to hire a floral consultant who understands your hotel property specifically as well as what your brand standards are.
Often these brand standards are used to rate hotels within the portfolio. For example, a client we have served for three years was “Awarded Classic Luxury Hotel of the Year 2018” by Marriott. Last year their brand standards changed to having two floral installations in the lobby to be reconsidered. It's important that when selecting a floral consultant that they have an understanding of your brand requirements so they can ensure they are doing their best to help your property/brand achieve these coveted accolades.
Lastly, let's talk about the actual space. Personally, for preexisting hotels, I spend 24 hours in each property analyzing the opportunities and what spaces could offer the most impact for the guest experience and brand's standards. For new construction, I walk with ownership to understand what their vision is and where we can add value in those last detailed decisions.
If you're in a cold climate, it's the holiday season and you walk into a five-star hotel and they only have tropical plants, there is going to be a big disconnect that your guests are going to notice.
It will feel dated and almost like an after thought. If your guest walks into a modern lobby and there is a very traditional floral arrangement, again it will stick out like sore thumb. However, if you can balance the synergy between bringing the outside, inside and finding the opportunities to add value and compliment the space with the right floral designs, you're guest might not remember exactly what it was but that their experience matched their expectations.
The investment of hiring a Floral Consultant will reward you in so many ways. They will either find ways to maximize your floral budget, assist you in creating a floral budget and/or ensure your brand standards are met and your guest experience surpasses that of your competitors. Especially in the day of social media, luxury hotels are constantly looking for a way to market their properties and offerings and what better way than giving your guests a backdrop where they promote you for free. Think of your floral budget almost as a marketing budget. There is hardly anything else that is more photogenic and/or lush than a large install of fresh hotel flowers that your guests can snap an image with and tell all their friends how amazing their stay is.