Add plants to give your guests their green fix

Introduce more plants into your hotel to relax and delight your business guests. Not only will plants improve the air, guests will also pay up to $100 more for a greener environment.

Text: Lois Hoyal // FOTOS: iStock

Guests walking into The Kimpton Gray recently certainly got their green fix. In a bid to introduce more natural life, the Chicago-based hotel teamed up with the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest greenhouse conservatories in the US, and Orbitz a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine, to provide the first-ever plant pop-up hotel.

For one weekend in October 2019, green-loving guests could book plant-themed rooms: The Fern Room, Palm House, Sugar from the Sun, The Desert House. Each room included didactics and labels identifying plant species, popular books on plant care and art modelled after installations at the Conservatory, as well as green-themed amenities for guests, including daily care instructions for their leafy green friends.

More greenery in hotels, more satisfied guests

The initiative followed on from Orbitz research revealing just how much guests would like to see more greenery during their hotel stay: 63% of millennial travellers stated that the hotel amenity they’d most like to see is more plants in their hotel rooms. In the survey of 1,028 travellers aged 25-44, 61% of respondents stated that plants boosted their overall mood, while 56% said they helped them feel healthier on the go. Nearly half were more likely to book a hotel featuring photos of plants in a room, while almost a quarter (24%) said they’d pay $50 to $100 more for a plant-filled room.

“Being a Kimpton brand Hotel, the Gray is dedicated to creating unique guest experiences and connecting to the community,” said Dina Fenili, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Gray. “When Orbitz came to us with the opportunity to partner with them and host the first plant pop-up hotel, we were incredibly excited to bring such an unique experience to our guests, especially due to the recent data that Millennials seek out more plants in their lives. Based on the positive feedback and reception for the plant pop-up, we would love to replicate it in the future.”

So why else precisely should hoteliers introduce more plants? The key reason is aesthetics, says Craig Dallow, Plant Plan, which provides planting for hotels, offices and restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland. “A well thought out and designed planting scheme looks fantastic and can elevate the whole hotel from the visitor’s perspective.”

There are other less known reasons, too. For example, including planting in a hotel has been shown to subtly affect the perceptions visitors have in a positive way, he continues. The benefit for the hotel is that they’ll be prepared to spend more, stay longer, have more positive perceptions of the hotel and be more likely to recommend it to colleagues.

A healthy atmosphere

Even if business travellers don’t fully notice the plants in your hotel, they may subconsciously benefit from their presence and the oxygen-rich purified air they provide. Indoor plants and flowers have been shown to improve idea generation, memory retention and even boost productivity. Executives will subconsciously link your hotel with a productive professional trip and are thus more likely to return.

Plants have plenty of health-giving properties, too. Being surrounded by plants is said to reduce stress and provide us with a sense of well-being. Not only do they have a relaxing effect and make us happier, they also improve the air quality around us by purifying the air and reducing pollution, as well as mould, bacteria and dust. Providing an environment full of fresh, live plants will literally be a breath of fresh air for travel-weary executives who have been battling dirty airports, crowded trains, and harsh city conditions.

Best lobby décor and noise protection

Just where precisely should you place those plants? There’s no doubt that lobby plants create a welcoming first impression to guests entering your hotel. In addition, plants can soften areas that have a lot of hard elements, such as communal hotel areas with concrete or porcelain floors or large windows. Plus plants absorb sound through their stems and leaves so greenery can reduce noise levels in unused space, such as corridors, where there might otherwise be an echo.

Overall, plants are an effective way to contribute to the feel and distinct style of a hotel. Attractive vases and pots can match your colour themes, vibrant blooms can inject a spot of colour and an eye-catching display brightens up any dull area.

Dallow adds a word of caution though – it’s best to get a professional planting company involved. “Too often, we’re called in to replace DIY efforts that have gone wrong, and in the long run it costs the hotel a lot more.” Other than that, try to ensure that live planting is suitable for the space chosen: putting in the wrong plants will mean they struggle to survive, look poor, and quickly need replacing.

A wall of green

It’s not just potted plants that can add a touch of greenery. A living or moss wall can introduce a real wow factor to your hotel, bringing the outside world inside. Green walls are also ideal for absorbing sound. And vertical gardens can serve as a center of attraction in any given space.
Hoteliers can also be creative with window boxes – try mixing tall, twiggy plants with spiky grasses and flowering annuals.

From a design perspective, plants can create balance: a towering cactus or cheese plant can provide a visual counterpoint to a large piece of heavy furniture in a room. A planting scheme can likewise break up large spaces or provide privacy, for example by separating off a dining area to provide privacy and seclusion for diners.

It’s not just a passing trend either: Dallow expects hotels to introduce more plants in future. “The trend towards biophilia and recognising the value of nature within the built environment means there’s not going to be any slowing down soon!”

Have you ever heard of hotels for plants only?

In fact, plants are so much en vogue right now that the world’s first hotel for plants has opened in London. The Patch Plant Hotel offers to look after your plants, free of charge, while you head off on holiday. It even offers free top-notch fertilizer, careful watering and the perfect climate controlled space for its botanical guests.

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