For owners and managers within the hospitality industry, regular reviews of hotel safety and security are critical to the smooth operation of any establishment. Reaching and maintaining compliance is only part of the reason behind this procedural commitment and doing everything possible to protect staff members and guests from everyday hazards and threats, as well as unexpected incidents, is the mark of a truly high-quality hotel.
Staying up to date with security procedures and guidance is a challenge in today’s fast-paced world, however, through comprehensive assessment and with the integration of new technologies any establishment can maintain and increase security for all stakeholders. Below are 10 critical security procedures your hotel should be implementing or reviewing, allowing your establishment to offer top-level service to customers and protect your employees at the same time.
The Importance of Safety and Security in Hotels
Safety and security have always been primary concerns for both tourists and business travelers alike, and generally speaking, the hotel industry is keen to strike a balance between robust security measures and a welcoming atmosphere.
Over the past 20 years, security measures have been ramped up in response to the increased threat of terrorism and today’s global health crisis. In addition, and today’s hotel security must also encompass guest management in line with the latest hygiene guidelines.
Rising awareness of the dangers to staff within the workplace is also making a huge impact on the industry. Today, managers and owners are facing increasing pressure to provide safer working environments for employees, and comprehensive security procedures allow them to do this. In turn, better working environments provide staff with peace of mind, allowing them to perform better and for your hotel to run more efficiently.
The importance of robust and regularly reviewed hotel safety then cannot be understated, not only to offer guests and staff protection, but also as a determining factor for travelers when choosing accommodation and as a way to deliver top-level service that circles back and provides enhanced security for everyone.
Ways to Ensure Guest Security
There are many different approaches to ensure protection for hotel staff and guests while delivering positive guest experiences at the same time, and in fact, many security systems, procedures, and technologies can be implemented subtly and without dramatically overhauling the structure or ambience of the building.
The CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) framework is a good place to begin, encompassing the following factors:
- Physical security
- Movement control
- Management and maintenance
- Defensible space
Many of these elements can be implemented through simple resource allocation, good management, and regular maintenance. Here, we look at where to start:
Make sure isolated spaces are well lit and regularly maintained. Problematic behaviors often happen in dimly lit areas, and ensuring bulbs are checked and replaced when broken, or improved lighting systems are installed, has been shown to reduce crime by up to 36% in cities. Public areas such as parking lots, hallways and alleys should be the focus.
2. Control Access
Either using a surveillance system or by redirecting paths, all traffic should pass through areas that can be easily controlled and monitored. “Non-spaces” should be eliminated or blocked from public access and your premises should be designed in a way that directs footfall through the building in an efficient way to prevent large groups accumulating in busy public areas.
3. Regulate the Number of Entrances
The fewer there are, the fewer security personnel and resources will be required to monitor them. Again, controlling through traffic can help you decided on the best placement, and entrances should always be part of your access plan. Exits should be designed with fire safety in mind, allowing fast egress of the building.
4. Exterior Maintenance
Simple maintenance jobs such as painting, gardening and cleaning up litter from hotel property send a message to both hotel guests and potential transgressors. The “Broken Window Theory” suggests that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder may encourage further crime and disorder. Additionally, a well-maintained exterior also improves client-perception of your establishment.
5. Hotel Room Maintenance
Cleanliness and proper maintenance tell good customers they are valued and dissuades bad behavior. In a similar way to exterior maintenance, a dirty, messy, or poorly maintained room is in invitation to treat it in the same way in which it was found. Dirty rooms are also among the most common guest complaints, and so ensuring yours are of the highest standard is a win-win.
Uses of Security Tools and Devices in Hotels
Alongside regular maintenance and the intelligent use of space, technology has a large part to place in hotel security procedures. Modern security systems are discreet and can help improve guest experience while supporting security officers. Video surveillance, digital key cards, and hotel panic buttons are three ways to achieve this.
6. Access Control
Conventional room keys are easily lost, literally opening the door to theft or break in. Digital credit card-type key cards, however, can activated or deactivated when necessary. Additionally, this technology also prevents criminals from copying keys for use after they have checked out.
7. CCTV Security Cameras
Today’s security systems are discreet and highly effective, and not only allow you to catch illegal activity that may elude security guards, but also serve as a deterrent. Cameras covering the front desk and in other public areas will decrease the likelihood of bad behavior or criminality while also providing hotel staff and the law enforcement with a visual record of any incidents that may take place.
8. Wearable Panic Buttons
Delivering a fast response when staff or guests are in danger is key to delivering effective help or stopping incidents escalating. Wearable panic buttons offer this type of functionality, providing a discreet safety net for staff in trouble while also allowing frontline employees to alert security if guests are in danger, without also placing themselves in harm’s way.
Theft and Fraud: Monitoring at Hotel Premises
Not all hotel guests come with good intentions, and it is essential to flag suspicions from the start. In addition to this, poor onboarding and recruitment can leave you vulnerable, with theft and fraud two of the most pervasive issues in the industry—from both guests and staff. There are two effective ways to minimize fraud and theft on your premises:
9. Registration Process
Best practice is to ensure staff fill out the information contained in registration forms themselves by asking relevant questions. Ask for several pieces of I.D. from each guest; ask questions about the number of people staying in the room and potential visitors; check license plate numbers. In addition to this, keep easily accessible records, introduce more secure payment systems, and ensure data protection policies are adhered to.
10. Treat Hotel Employees Well
The underlying motives behind employee theft and fraud are complex, however, one study suggests that the adrenaline rush involved taking revenge against poor employers plays a large part. If this is true, then treating your staff with respect, paying them fairly, providing vacation time, and communicating hotel policies can go a long way to combating the issue, removing the need for employees to “hit back” at the employer.
For hoteliers across the US, improving hotel security, and subsequently, hotel safety is an element of management that cannot be overlooked especially with today’s labor shortage. The good news is, however, that this can be achieved with a few simple changes and the introduction of market-ready technologies. In fact, any hotel can improve hotel security procedures without necessarily investing large sums of money. Take this ROI calculator to see for yourself.
Finally, as legislation also begins to catch up and prioritize both guest and employee security within hotels, the issue of compliance must also be discussed. For example, panic button laws have been spreading across the US, and hotels will be mandated to provide technologies such as these in the future to mitigate threats on a number of levels.
This is why ROAR has developed our panic button technology specifically for hotels, providing your workers with wearable and discreet panic buttons to summon help quickly. Contact us today to learn how we can help protect your hotel staff.