4 Things to Factor into your Hotel Floral Budget
When it comes to planning a strategic floral budget for my clients, I first take a look at their brand standards, lists of wants, and on-hand resources. This helps me understand my parameters better as well as if we have any room for extras. Then I develop a budget taking into account seasonal pricing, maintenance requirements, any logistic issues or bonuses as well as adding a contingency in case there are any surprises over the next 52 weeks.
1. Seasonal Pricing When planning a floral budget, seasonal pricing is often overlooked, especially for florists who are just beginning to break into the hotel client and corporate world.
Seasonal pricing can affect something as simple as roses for In-Room Dining. One week it's budgeted to pay $1 a stem and for two or three weeks you're paying $3 a stem which will impact your bottom line, especially when you are buying dozens of roses. For example, a hotel such as the Baccarat Hotel in New York, who's staple are red rose pave spheres, is 100% guaranteed that the pricing they receive in August for their roses is going to be completely different than in February.
2. Maintenance requirements
Maintenance requirements could include hotels that prefer only clear glass vases. While this is beautiful,
we as flower designers, unfortunately, cannot control mother nature (as much as we'd all like to). Therefore a team member must go in at least once if not twice a week to ensure the vase is always clean and the water is always clear. Because what guest wants to check in next to a vase full of murky water? Not this traveler! Designing according to how much maintenance will be required is key to keeping your budget in line as labor hours do add up.
3. Inflation Year over year the floral industry experiences an inflation rate of about 3%-5% on average. There was a year that I had a 15% increase in YOY (year over year). One of the key reasons was logistics, which include the trucking, airline, and distributor sectors, which also fluctuate based on the activity in the oil and gas sector. For domestic flowers, sourcing comes predominantly from the West Coast, and with the recent legalization of marijuana at that time, flower farms were being sold (like wineries) to handle new crops which left less supply to handle the demand, hence prices went up. There also had been the problem with fires and floods which again affect production as farms are damaged, decreasing supply and increasing the demand resulting in a price increase. On top of that, the Agricultural Department increased their tariff and all these extra expenses were being felt in that 15% flower price increase.
Lastly, logistic issues or bonuses are key! One issue might be only being able to design and install in the early hours of the night. Logistics then begin to add up when it comes to receiving and storing the flowers. The cost of labor is time and a half, easy, for "out of work hours". Now logistical bonuses are my favorite. This is where I can save my hotel clients money and/or put more money into their actual florals. Recently I identified a dead space inside one of our hotel client's back of the house and a four-hour window of an unused kitchen. My suggestion of moving the floral operations "in-house" saved this hotel account thousands of dollars. Not only is new ownership happy but the floral designers have a much easier job now. We have to remember, time is money and if we can cut down on time, then we can cut down on the spend.
By keeping these four things in mind when planning your floral budget you will avoid a lot of common pitfalls that most florists (especially those that are new to the hotel florist industry) encounter and that eat up a lot of the profits. If you want to go further in detail on any of these topics then I recommend booking a 50-Minute Floral mentoring call where we will tackle your specific questions when it comes to all things hotel floral related. By the end of the call, you will have clarity and an actionable plan in place to land hotel floral contracts with your floral design business. Click here to book your call.