Hi, I’m Franceska, The Hotel Florist and an International Floral Designer, exploring the world through flowers. These are my 5 tips to land hotel partnerships with your floral business!
Specializing in Hotel Floral Design and Installations, I have designed for every major luxury hotel brand, while operating 3 successful studios in Dubai, Dallas, and Houston.
In the first year, I transformed $18,000 in savings to a 6-figure business, and in less than 6 years, I’ve generated almost almost 7-figures in sales.
Let’s get started!
1. Knowing Who to Reach Out To
Property level is always a good place to start in landing hotel partherships, but these people aren’t necessarily the decision-makers.
It is more so, the gatekeepers that can put you in front of the decision-makers. These property-level roles are the ones you’ll be supporting on a week-by-week basis, so you want to sell your solutions to their problems.
How can you make their lives easier where they want to work with you and only you (and they’ll make sure they tell their boss about you)?
Points of Contact
If you can start with the General Manager first.
Worst case scenario? They will push you to the Director of Operations or Hotel Manager.
In most cases, the GM is the ultimate decision-maker, so it’s wise to have your first impression be with them.
Director of Operations
They report to the General Manager and are the gatekeeper for hiring the in-house florist. They also are the ones who most often approve the weekly floral designs.
They are incredibly budget-minded, as they present the annual budget to upper management for approval every year.
Some brands (i.e., Four Seasons) have a Hotel Manager who reports to the GM, and the Director of Operations reports to the Hotel Manager.
In this case, the Hotel Manager is the gatekeeper and the decision-maker. With florals being an essential part of brand standards, they are likely to be a part of the day-to-day processes.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Not getting anywhere with upper management? Contact the Director of Sales and Marketing.
It’s common for 4- and 5-star hotels to push floral design (and holiday decor!) to the Director of Sales and Marketing.
They are typically the most friendly and willing to hear your sales pitch.
Hotel Ownership or the VP of Operations
Word of warning – it will be tough to reach this level in the hotel hierarchy, and these people do not have the time, nor are they willing, to engage directly with vendors.
However, ownership is usually invested in newly acquired hotels, so if you can get your foot in the door early, showing how you can add value (translation = increase their ROI), it will be an impression they won’t forget each month they sign your check.
2. Find the Right Contact Information
It can be tricky to track down the contact information for those in a hotel’s upper management positions.
I recommend the following steps to land hotel partnerships , in this order:
Pick up the phone. I know it’s scary, but my largest accounts came from picking up the phone and having human interaction with another person.
Hotels are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So there isn’t a reason you can’t make this option work.
Follow up your phone call with an email. Record your conversation in writing and quickly remind the person whom you spoke with who you are and what you can do. Pro ti, attach your media kit to your email, including your services and pricing.
Meet them in person. I’m a huge advocate of this! This is where I have always “sealed the deal.”
Ask them if you could treat them to a 15-minute chat over coffee at the hotel (you bring the coffee) so you can explain in person what you do and why you believe this partnership would be valuable to them.
Don’t give up until you receive a clear answer. The hotel will communicate that they either:
a) don’t need a floral designer at the moment,
b) the contract with their current in-house florist is still active
c) they are interested in learning about new vendors – that’s you! – and want to set up a meeting.
3. When to Email and When to Pick Up the Phone
Always pick up the phone first. Hospitality professionals are very busy, so try to catch them first thing in the morning. Avoid Mondays. The sweet spot is Tuesday – Thursday from 10 AM – 12 PM.
After briefly introducing yourself, ask if it is a good time. If not, ask when a good time would be for you to call them back.
Email is only to be used as a follow-up to a phone call or in-person meeting and should always include a call to action.
If they ask you to follow up, set a reminder on your calendar. Honoring your word is vital and the mark of a professional in the hospitality industry. It is a people-centric business, after all.
The exception to email serving as a follow-up is if you can’t get them on the phone or agree to an in-person meeting.
If this is the case, email your proposal along with your media kit.
If you have a mutual contact to mention, it can make the cold call a little warmer, and the likelihood of receiving a response is much greater.
A great way to find contact information is to Google the first and last name of the person in upper management.
If you don’t know their name, Google the hotel and the role you’re interested in contacting and you can often find press on the hotel that mentions the name and contact information of the person you’re looking to contact.
Lastly, Linkedin is a great place to find contact information. Never pitch from this platform. It’s unprofessional and too informal.
4. Nurture the Relationship
Depending on the hotel professional you are engaging with, here are a few suggestions on nurturing the relationship to help you land hotel partnerships:
Director of Sales and Marketing
Share how you help their Sales and Marketing efforts, i.e.., if they are showing an event space to a potential bride, they can refer to your floral design and how you offer in-house florals for weddings and events.
Director of Operations
Share how your floral installations will provide free social media marketing as guests take photos in front of the gorgeous blooms, share on Instagram, and tag the hotel.
Share how you add value, meet brand standards, and maximize their ROI because you know exactly how to maximize the budget.
5. Use Social Media to Attract Hotels to You
Influencer marketing is THE thing these days, and hotels are partnership (and even paying!) influencers to experience their hotels and share it with their followers and it works the other way around too!
You can be a social media partner that hotels want to affiliate with year-round.
Because of your social media community and following, you’ll be even more attractive to be their hotel florist and working with you gives them even more free exposure.
Three ways to attract hotels to you on social media:
- Build an engaged following
- Post high-quality, scroll-stopping content of your work
- Use hotel hashtags
Looking for help landing hotel partnerships?
Take the first step to becoming a hotel florist and landing hotel partnerships by saving your seat for my free masterclass. It’s specifically for florists looking to create consistent $5K months without depending on unstable wedding and event income!