The Power of Trees

The last Friday in April is Arbor Day, and with Earth Day occurring a few days earlier, it’s a good time to talk a little bit about the environment and how it relates to hospitality.

Undoubtedly you’ve browsed through more than few articles discussing sustainable designs and how they can save oodles in long-term expenses on top of all the ensuing benefits for our environment. Moreover, you’ve probably come across several statistics demonstrating that modern consumers (particularly those falling in the younger demographics) are predisposed to like a brand even more if it has shown itself to be environmentally friendly.

These two subjects are worthy of their own lengthy editorials and so I’ll leave them for another time. Instead, let’s focus on a few smaller topics.

Arbor Day is truly devoted to trees and I want you to consider all the ways that trees impact our lives. Outside the obvious in that they look aesthetically appealing, they can also have a powerful effect on people’s dispositions. They can calm one’s emotional state of mind and, as nature’s air purifier, they give off a faint yet pacifying scent. Moreover, the color green itself has been proven to have a positive influence on mood, motivation and creativity.

Knowing this, how do you currently incorporate trees and other plants into the workplace? Do you have them scattered about the cubicles to accent the otherwise drab color setting? Yes, they require watering and pruning, but the positive outcomes are undeniable. Applied to the front end of a hotel, how do you think the presence of ample trees and plants would impact guests’ moods when placed strategically about the lobby, spa, restaurants and rooms? I’ll tell you from experience that a well-maintained array of beautiful plants outside the front entrance makes for quite the impressive display for arriving guests.

As a final, minor suggestion, as ‘authentic local experiences’ are all the rage these days, have you considered incorporating local indigenous flora into your hotel? An F&B outlet might offer more indigenous plants as ingredients on the menu. Fragrant local plants can be blended into specialty spa treatments and products. You might also showcase a particularly esoteric indigenous plant in the lobby for all to see and appreciate.

In closing, as part of Arbor Day celebrations, consider planting a tree. And when this time rolls around next April, give some thought to making this day every year a team building outing for all your colleagues to enjoy.

(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in HotelsMAG on April 24, 2015)

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