How to Make Your Downtown Friendly [Free Guide]

Gain a reputation for being the friendly downtown

Make your downtown friendly and watch the district bloom. The more comfortable and welcome people feel in your district, the more likely they are to not only return again, but to tell others about their great experience.

Change perceptions of your district and become known for your hospitality by following these best practices.

Ambassador Making Downtown Friendly

1. Hire for personality

Ambassadors are the single most important factor in making your improvement district more hospitable.

People with outgoing and caring personalities need only to be equipped with knowledge of the district to become excellent ambassadors.

2. Train to serve many “publics”

Consider the different “publics” your ambassadors will encounter and train them to identify and understand the needs and approach for serving each group.

3. It begins and ends with parking

Because an unfriendly or disinterested parking attendant can ruin a great experience downtown, it is important that parking facility operating companies are committed to achieving the same customer service standards.

Free hospitality guide

Seven more hospitality strategies are included in our hospitality guide. Improve your hospitality experience, make your stakeholders happy, and bring more visitors to your district by implementing these strategies. Make your downtown friendly, and download our hospitality guide to get started today.

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Ambassador Amigos


A Day with Ambassador Amigos in Centro San Antonio

The Rivard Report features Robert Rivard as he walks through a day in the life of our tourist-friendly Ambassador Amigos in Centro San Antonio.

He begins his adventure meeting with experienced Ambassador Amigos bright and early, donning the official Centro San Antonio uniform and heading out to serve the district.

Detailed in his report of the day, Rivard walks his readers through the day, as they provide services to individuals across the district and in doing so, get to know the city a little closer and bring a little more warmth to its inhabitants.

Read more about his adventure at Rivard Report.

Tim Pearson, the Downtown Eyes and Ears


Tim Pearson recently was named “Ambassador of the Year” among his 80 or so colleagues who patrol 120 blocks for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID), the nonprofit business funded mostly by downtown property owners.

The four-year-old nonprofit works to make downtown a better, cleaner, safer place for businesses, employees and residents.

Last year, DID ambassadors, who are paid $13.42 per hour plus benefits after a year on the job, assisted nearly 120,000 pedestrians, collected more than 1 million pounds of trash and recyclables, tended to thousands of trees and plants and shoveled a lot of walks. Crime is trending down, thanks partly to their pro¬active work with citizens and the police.

Q: What do you do during a typical day downtown?
A: We meet and greet people. We consider ourselves the eyes and ears of downtown. We will carry bags to cars for shoppers, help them find their car or the bus stop or a taxi … or a restaurant.
We are visible in our bright caps and coats. And we like to think that we also deter crime. We work with the police. We contact our dispatcher if we see anything suspicious. And they contact the police and take it from there. In the summer, there are more people on the streets downtown, in the better weather and during the baseball season. We also use the pressure washers to keep sidewalks clean and we’re maintaining flowers and shrubs. I like working with people more than plants, but it’s all part of the job of keeping up downtown.

Q: Did the award come as a surprise?
A: A welcome surprise. I intend to do a good job every day. It’s easy to do the job if you like your job, and this fits me to a T. I like to communicate. I grew up in this town. I care about downtown. And I like people. That’s important to be successful in this job.

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Safety, maintenance from patrol ambassadors revitalize Westwood Village business, impressions


By the time the shops in Westwood Village open their doors for another day of business, Deandrea Dobson has already been patrolling the streets for two hours.

Before she greets the sun, Dobson weaves in and out of the streets to wake the homeless sleeping on the Village streets and cleans debris on the streets.

Clad in her uniform khaki pants and bright blue polo shirt, Dobson is one of 16 ambassadors that have been patrolling the streets of Westwood Village for more than a year to ensure its safety and cleanliness.

Read more about how Block by Block helped revitalize Westwood Village at the Daily Bruin.

In Downtown Crossing, a rising tower lifts all boats


Downtown Crossing Makes Its Impression as Friendly and Helpful

Downtown Crossing, part of Boston’s historic downtown, made a big impression on Irish tourists Mike and Brenda O’Brien.

“Our first trip to your lovely city was a revelation to us. The clean & tidy city is so easy to navigate (after a couple of days) and the transportation system is as good as any we have used. The people are friendly and welcoming,” the couple wrote in a letter to the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, singling out the organization’s paid “ambassadors” as being particularly friendly and helpful.

Rosemarie E. Sansone, president of the private nonprofit Downtown Boston BID, acknowledged that the Downtown rarely received such accolades in recent years. “It was always tired, beleaguered, down-trodden,” she said. “But now there’s great momentum. We want people to know that this place is coming back.”

Read the full story at the Boston Business Journal.

Ambassadors Keep Downtown Nashville Safe and Clean


Keeping Downtown Nashville Safe and Clean

See graffiti on a downtown building, notice too much litter in the Gulch or just need help navigating the area? The safe and clean team is there to help.

The team, clad in bright yellow shirts and riding bicycles or Segways, works to ensure the downtown Central Business Improvement District and the Gulch remain clean and attractive for the area’s 6,000 residents, nearly 50,000 employees and millions of tourists.

The cleaning team provides daily supplemental service and assists property owners through an online reporting system. The staff are employees of the Nashville Downtown Partnership, which is contracted to manage the program by the downtown and Gulch business improvement districts.

“It is so important to focus every day on keeping the area safe and clean and attractive,” said Tom Turner, president and CEO of the Nashville Downtown Partnership.

“Visitors from other cities and countries often comment about how clean our downtown is — and we want that perception to continue.”

Read more about how Block by Block keeps Downtown Nashville Clean and Safe at The Tennessean.

BID Highlights Progress in Westwood Village


Westwood Village Cleanup Update

With months of street cleanup in Westwood Village behind them, Business Improvement District officials said the once-neglected community has taken a turn for the better.

An update on the state of the Westwood Business Improvement District (BID) was given Thursday at the nonprofit organization’s August board meeting.

“Prior to our formation … things weren’t so clean, safe and beautiful in our district,” Westwood Village Improvement Association (WVIA) Executive Director Andrew Thomas said at the Geffen Playhouse Thursday. “What is the district like today? I think it’s dramatically different.”

Graffiti-covered walls, overgrown trees, trash-filled streets, and homelessness issues plagued Westwood Village, he said. But much has been done since the BID went to work.

“We led an initial assault on trash and graffiti in our district,” he said.

Read more about how Block by Block helped transform Westwood Village at the Westwood-Century City Patch.

Downtown Ambassadors Prepare to Greet World Choir Games International Guests


Downtown Cincinnati Ambassadors Ready the City for World Choir Games

With the start of the World Choir Games just one day away, the Queen City is shifting it’s focus to the expected 15,000 international guests.

Downtown Ambassadors will be spread out across the streets of Cincinnati to greet and to guide visitors. The ambassadors are also in charge of making sure downtown stays safe and clean during the 11-day event.

The ambassadors will be wearing bright orange shirts and khaki shorts so they’re easily recognizable.

Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated initiated the Downtown Ambassadors program. More than 20 ambassadors have already been patrolling Fountain Square, but organizers say they’ll be providing even more of a service during the World Choir Games.

Read more at The Kentucky Post.

Downtown Berkeley increases ambassadors on the street


The number of “ambassadors” who roam the streets of downtown Berkeley reporting inappropriate behavior to authorities and assisting visitors is more than doubling to 16, representatives of the Berkeley Downtown Business Association announced Tuesday.

The newly revamped association, which started Jan. 1 with $1.2 million in new property taxes, held an official kickoff at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza.

Read more at The Oakland Tribune.