Who Are We Trusting with Guest's Valuables?

By Alan Zajic Independent Security Consultant, AWZ Consulting | March 11, 2012

Co-authored by Derk J. Boss, CPP, CSP, CFE

The guests that rent rooms in our hotels have an expectation that the proprietor has done some form of due diligence in screening the employees who have access to their valued possessions left in a hotel room. It really does not matter to them that you may provide an in room safe, install expensive door hardware and have appropriate window stops if you have not taken the time to investigate the employees that you grant access to their personal and often treasured possessions.

The hospitality industry is sometimes fragile and susceptible to large revenue losses as a result of a single negative event such as theft of valuables of a guest who just happens to be with a large convention group. Word travels quickly with these groups and meeting planners can be quite adept at researching these issues when deciding on a hotel for their convention.

Conducting Background Checks

Although the law varies from state to state most jurisdictions hold that an employer can be held liable for not conducting a pre-employment background check if that investigation would have resulted in the knowledge that they were a potential risk. The courts have repeatedly taken the position that an employer should take reasonable steps to conduct pre-employment screening to include a background investigation.

The cost of conducting these investigations can be expensive especially in those labor markets where high turnover and a lack of qualified candidates create a challenge for the hotel proprietor. Many companies advertise primarily on the Internet that they can conduct a background check for as little as $12.95. Serious research should be conducted to determine what information you are requiring and the validity of that information. A background check that utilizes just database information is not a true and accurate investigation. The only true method for an accurate criminal check is actual court checks in the jurisdictions in and around where the perspective employee has resided.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.