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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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.