People stay at hotels for a variety of reasons: vacations, business trips or simply an overnight on their way to visit family or friends. They expect a comfortable stay; but more than that, they expect a safe stay. Hotel security is critical not only for your guests but also for the reputation of your business. If you manage a hotel, you must place security at the top of your list of priorities. In our culture of social media, an unsafe situation posted for the world to see can mean the difference between a packed house or empty rooms.
It is clear that hotel safety and security is a serious issue. However, even with strong processes and security protocols, hotels still deal with security issues all the time. Hotels are hot targets for criminals. Vandalism, theft and loitering are just some of the threats that hotels have to address. And it’s not just from guests and outside parties. Hotel staff who have a thorough understanding of your vulnerabilities can take advantage of your business for their benefit.
Now more than ever, hotels are also targets for cybercriminals who want to hack into hotel systems to access valuable guest information.
What can hotels do to protect their guests while still providing an enjoyable and comfortable stay? In addition to being keenly aware of common vulnerabilities and training staff to recognize those threats, hotel management can take plenty of other actions to ensure safe, happy stays for their guests.
Hotel Theft and How to Handle It
In many hotels, guests can walk freely from the lobby to all floors of the building. This means that unauthorized guests can do the same. Make sure that your surveillance systems are in working order. It is an all too common occurrence when a crime is committed that the video cameras were not working at the time of the incident.
Update your door lock systems. Keycards and FOBs can track who enters a room and at what time. Not only can this deter thieves and employees from committing a crime, it can help you identify the culprit after the fact.
Provide excellent customer service. By this we mean more than just providing towels on demand. Employees should be trained to greet guests as they enter the building and engage them in conversation. With training and a little experience, employees will be equipped to identify non-guests or those who may have intentions of committing a crime.
Staff experienced and professional security guards. The safest hotels are those who hire professional security guards. The optics of uniformed guards patrolling the premises give your guests comfort in knowing that you take their security seriously. Hotel management has peace of mind knowing that they have highly-trained and skilled guards on the premises who know how to identify suspicious behavior and can respond in a competent manner. The presence of security personnel is often enough to deter a guest, non-guest or employee from attempting to commit a crime.
Guards can also perform mobile patrols throughout the property to check for security threats. Parking lots can be sites for violent crime, loitering and other illegal behavior. Guards can also check for inoperable lighting, broken locks and other vulnerabilities that can put your hotel at risk.
Employee Theft in the Hotel Industry
Employee theft is a huge problem for business owners, especially in the hotel industry. Employees have access to a large amount of information and with time, can learn how to commit a crime and get away with it. The first step to preventing employee theft is to hire wisely. Have comprehensive employee screening practices in place, including drug and background checks. Establish mentoring programs to ensure that employees are trained properly. Skilled mentors may also be able to identify if a new hire is acting suspiciously or has ulterior motives.
Hotel management should also take steps to empower and engage their employees. Employees who feel a sense of ownership and respect are far less likely to target your business in a crime. Give employees opportunities to grow within the company and take on larger responsibilities.
Also, ensure that you have systems in place that allow for employees to report issues anonymously. Practices like this can help management identify security issues right away, while keeping employees safe from retribution.
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