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.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.