Securing Hotel Parking Lots
By Alan Zajic Independent Security Consultant, AWZ Consulting | June 24, 2012
Co-authored by Derk J. Boss, CPP, CSP, CFE
As with any business in the world today parking areas are a necessary and vital component that has a tendency to be underestimated as it relates to guest or employee protection. Every hotelier is aware that parking lots generate a large expense in maintenance, lighting, cleaning and the associated landscaping and accesses. Everything has a direct cost and security is no exception.
The hotel ownership and executive management must balance those costs against revenues and realistically apply reasonable security measures into the overall business plan. Questions are always pondered and evaluated as to the cost and necessity of traditional security measures to include if "boots on the ground" are needed or required in a hotel or transient rental environment. There is not a simple yes or no answer to the question absent a professional analysis.
If an economy hotel with a low ADR as compared to the area competition does not provide security officers is that acceptable? Many operators feel that if they are not providing security services and have a lower rate as a result that it insulates them from liability which is incorrect. Every state has various statutory and common law provisions regarding the duty that a hotel has to provide reasonable security measures to provide some form of protection to people from foreseeable harm. Your attorney is best qualified to assist you in understanding what is required.
Conducting the Risk Assessment
The professional and accepted manner to assess what security measures should be deployed in a hospitality environment is to conduct a Risk Assessment. If the facility has a qualified security manager or director who knows how to conduct one it can use that person as the ranking security official. Many corporate security departments already have personnel who address risk and manage overall security policy. For those operations who do not have the benefit of a corporate security or risk department the task may involve retaining a qualified security consultant to conduct one for you. You can be assured that if you are sued for an incident in a parking lot one of the legal questions propounded to you will be did you complete one or hire an outside security consultant.