To in-house or not to in-house: That is the floral question

Updated: Feb 10



When I began my floral design business, I noticed that my hotel clients were asking for independent solutions for their organization's needs. I was for it and supported them by providing whatever floral solutions they needed at the time but something didn't feel right. I felt that there was a lot of extra labor and time that went in to make this happen. So I started looking around at how other floral designers around the world served their hotel clients.


What I found was pretty interesting. The common theme in places like London and Tokyo is that the hotel's floral designer is in-house. Not only could the client, in this case the hotel, be served with additional detailed attention but they also could add what normally would be a vendor, as an additional guest amenity. On top of that, the fact that a luxury hotel has an in-house florist, well that only makes the property even more exclusive and sought after, increasing it's luxury notoriety. With an increase in perception comes and increase in price. This concept of having an in-house floral designer was a no brainer to me.



I quickly brought this concept back again to my hotel clients and while some were open to the idea, some were not. Here are the top three pros and cons they listed out:


PROS:

  1. Another stream of income (connect your in-house florist to the hotel's POS and PBX system and you've just found yourself another revenue generating line item on your P&L).

  2. Great guest experience and Marketing/PR opportunity. Who doesn't love to be around beautiful flowers all day? Holiday coming up - host a workshop!

  3. Increased quality control and inventory management.


CONS

  1. Lack of space to store inventory.

  2. Short of designated working space/timing for delivery and production.

  3. Liability concerns.



Last year I realized based on this list of pros and cons, I needed to dig deeper and really get to the bottom of the benefits of having a florist in-house as a luxury hotel. And what is the biggest measurable to that?! Money. From my client's perspective, a luxury hotel, I compared the costs of having a florist in-house versus out-of-house which looked like this:


In-House vs. Out-of-House:

  1. Own inventory and supplies, therefore no more weekly rental fees vs. being charged weekly for vase rentals and any additional supplies which takes away from the floral budget.

  2. Production can be done on-sight which reduces the time and labor costs vs. scheduling a convenient time for the floral designers to come in and install everything pre-made.

  3. Designated room for storage and prep vs. the floral design business being responsible to house inventory and keep some sort of brick and mortar to produce in as well as the insurance required and the van to get from point A to point B.



Then I compared the advantages and disadvantages from my perspective, the floral designer and easily saw I'd prefer to be in-house and this is why:

  1. Maximize the actual floral budget: Instead of calculating eight hours of labor with two team members, I could lower my logistical costs and in turn maximize the actual floral budget.

  2. Reduction in Costs, for everyone: Since I now no longer needed a van, a larger team, a brick and mortar to prep and storage to house vases I used week after week, I could cut my costs and in turn pass those savings onto my hotel client.

  3. Design more efficiently, a year in advance: With the hotel now owning and housing their own inventory, I can add value by using what is on-hand to design 52 weeks in advance for the entire year. I know exactly what my parameters are, how much labor to account for and what flowers are in season so I can utilize the hotel's entire vase and supplies inventory.

By taking a step back and looking at the benefits that my hotel clients would gain, especially to their bottomline as well as the benefits for the floral designer, it was a win-win to choose to be in-house. Deciding to have an in-house florist can save you on average 30% of your annual floral budget. This savings equates to thousands of dollars, resulting in reallocation to another line item within the hotel operation.



I believe in the benefits so much that when I am working with my clients on their turn key floral solutions, I show them exactly how they can achieve maximizing not only the guest impact but their bottom line as well. Think of it like a business-led approach to all the pretty things. To learn more on how to work with me, click here.


To learn how your floral design business could partner with luxury hotels, click here.


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