Landscaping Around High-Traffic Areas

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | April 26, 2015

All hoteliers—no matter what size their properties are—have high-traffic areas.
From the moment a guest walks onto the property, to the moment he or she leaves, high-traffic areas can impact a guest’s experience. Since high-traffic areas are the most densely populated parts of the property, it’s important to have a well-designed landscaping plan to keep those areas property crisp, clean, and safe.


Hardscapes, such as sidewalks, walkways, and footpaths, play an important role in the way high-traffic areas function. They help define the landscape’s border, direct people to their preferred routes, and help guests enjoy amenities on the property. Without the use of hardscapes, guests would be walking aimlessly around the property (which is a hotelier’s worst nightmare.) Just like with sidewalks located in cities or suburbs, hardscapes are a great resource to help hotels regulate foot-traffic.

Hardscapes are also great opportunities to promote your hotel’s brand message. For example, if your brand message is about creating a relaxing environment and a place to escape, like a Sandals or the Atlantis, subtle winding paths are a great way to lead guests to the pool and spa areas, as well as to the gardens and fountains areas. However, if your hotel is located in a major city, or is an efficiency hotel, those types of hardscapes aren’t needed.

Planting Around Hardscapes

The landscapes surrounding walkways and footpaths will be vulnerable to damage that results from foot traffic. The goal of your landscaping should be to keep guests off of grass and gardens. The best way to protect your grass is by planting landscape beds around walkways. Landscape beds work to add greenery and highlight a property’s features, while helping to regulate traffic and re-directing guests back onto sidewalks.

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Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.