Protecting your staff, your guests, and yourself

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RACHEL HUMPHREY
AAHOA Interim President & CEO

The standard facets of hotel security have changed immensely in the past several years. In the era of data breaches, for example, hotels have had to adopt and acclimate to new data security measures, and even the switch to mobile key cards is becoming increasingly popular among brands to increase room safety. These developments are helping our industry evolve and better suit the needs of guests. But hoteliers shouldn’t allow traditional security measures to become outdated while these new safety features are being implemented. Protocol for standard emergency issues like a fire, natural disaster, or criminal activity should regularly be updated in the same way hoteliers continually improve their digital security.

With this in mind, it’s important to recognize that the best security protocol of one hotel might differ greatly from another. Location brings certain challenges that are unique to that area, from extreme weather to specific types of crime. For this reason, getting the expert opinions of local law enforcement and emergency responders is essential. Meeting with personnel from the local sheriff’s department or even a fire marshal over a cup of coffee can help you understand the unique challenges your area faces that you might not be aware of. It’s also a chance to highlight security issues your business has faced that you’re not sure how to properly handle. In both cases, they can assist you in determining optimal security measures and emergency strategies based on their experiences and knowledge of what is working for other local businesses.

This is a great opportunity to ask questions on specific ways to improve the security measures you do have in place, even if they already meet local, state, and federal requirements. Hearing first hand about your property can better enable them to identify areas where you might need another security camera or help you create more efficient emergency exit routes. They are the most informed professionals to let you know if there are any gaps in your security.

Staff training is another area you can discuss with these officials. As every hotelier knows, all hotel staff receive a slew of training during their onboarding process, but they can suggest additional trainings that could supplement the training you already provide to help your employees better prepare and react to different emergency situations. This could be anything from a threatening person entering the hotel to what to do in the event of a power outage. Your employees will feel more secure going to work each day knowing that they have the tools necessary to handle any situation that could come their way.

Reaching out to local law enforcement and first responders will help you improve the overall safety of your hotel for guests, your staff, and the property itself. It will also foster a relationship between your business and first responders that will benefit both parties in the event of a crisis. You and your employees will be more in tune with what to expect and because your employees are prepared, they will be able to offer assistance to officers as needed. Starting off with a simple conversation can reap long-term benefits and protections for the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Make this a part of your business plan by scheduling that visit today.

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