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.

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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.