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.

It's 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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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.