Holistic Risk Assessment: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Addressing Threats

By Jason Porter Regional Managing Director, Pinkerton | February 15, 2015

Hotel facilities face a multitude of unique risks not always present in other industries. That unique set of risks creates an ever-changing demand to firm up your business operations and remain vigilant in your security and emergency response plans. With the rise of new threats constantly evolving, one of the most effective ways to protect your guests, employees, hotel operations and your facilities to is conduct a thorough risk assessment. After all, it’s impossible to know the threats and vulnerabilities that affect your safety and security if you don’t reasonably identify them in the first place.

All facilities, from small independent hotel locations to international hotel chains, face a myriad of unique risks, many of which ultimately differ depending on a hotel’s physical location. Not only do hotel operators need to promote their guests’ and their employees’ safety, they may ultimately also be responsible for guests’ financial information, personal belongings and equipment and properly maintained facilities.

The risk profile for the hotel industry tends to be considerably greater than in other industries. However, a thorough and comprehensive risk assessment can help you identify and define your risks, vulnerabilities and potential consequences, outline a plan to prioritize and address these issues, and ultimately help keep your hotel facility and guests comfortable and secure.

Identify and Define Your Risks

In our industry, we define a risk assessment as: a holistic approach to identifying all of the threats, vulnerabilities and consequences that are associated with the potential risks that a hotel may face. A threat can be conceived as anything that has the potential to disrupt your business, interfere with operations, harm your guests, employees or physical property, or subject your facility to liability.

It may be tempting to take a “one size fits all” approach to risk assessments when determining the potential threats that may affect your facility, but this tends to be an incorrect approach. Risks and vulnerabilities are truly unique from location to location. The simple fact is that a hotel in Dallas, Texas and a similar location from the exact same chain in Wichita, Kansas will each face unique threats. Their employee uniforms may look the same, their operating procedures may be identical to a tee, but the threats and risks can be completely different. As such, it’s vital to take an honest look at all of the potential and unique risks facing your facility, and how your individual location can best respond to them should an incident actually occur.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

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.