Does Luxury Equal Security?: A Tale of Two Properties

By Philip Farina CEO & Principal Security Consultant , Farina and Associates, Ltd. | May 20, 2012

Luxury properties are wrought with upscale amenities from lavish architecture and furnishings designed to transform your world, exotic ingredients and foods to satisfy even the most squeamish and discerning palates, rare wines and cocktails procured specifically to take guests on a euphoric journey. Even what you smell, what is in the air, has been carefully selected to entice guests to embrace the full experience and pleasure of what the hotel has to offer. Yet with no expense being spared on providing these amenities; the security and safety for guests often falls short.

Its a common misconception. Most guests believe that due to the high level of accommodations and the prices that they are paying for these services, their security and protection is assured. In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, security and safety in hospitality properties around the globe is considered way behind the curve ball when compared to other industries.

The reasoning behind this can be three-fold:

1. Reputation - Hospitality organizations are concerned about their reputation to customers, stock holders and their competition. Any information related to security, or lack thereof, can make the organization appear weak and is often deemed a detriment that can affect the strength of their branding.

2. Financial As noted, hotels do place a tremendous emphasis on providing the best amenities to their guests while attempting to maximize their revenue. This leaves little room for the security and safety aspect.

3. Return On Investment, or ROI - Traditionally speaking, security and safety have not been known to be revenue producing entities or contributors to the bottom line. Successful programs attempt to quantify cost savings for the organization through a decrease in liabilities and risk. This is where many hotels draw the line and don't have an expectation of anything more. To complicate matters further, many hotel management teams place security and safety into stereotypical "required" expense categories.

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Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.