Adopting a Risk Mindset in Hotel Management

By Christopher Bolger Senior Risk Manager, Venture Insurance Programs | June 26, 2016

A good corporate culture of safety and risk management starts at the top and spreads to all staff until it is woven into the fabric of the hotel's daily activities. An effective safety program holds everyone from executives to housekeeping staff accountable for implementation and execution of clearly defined safety procedures. Hotel staff need to be proactively thinking and talking about safety – immediately wiping up spills, reporting pot holes in the parking lot and cutting off bar guests who've had one too many, among other things. By creating and implementing a top-notch safety program and holding employees accountable to it, hotels can significantly reduce their risk exposure and save millions of dollars in avoidable claims or potential reputational damage.

A Good Safety Culture Requires a Top-Down Approach

Overloaded housekeeping carts, heavy canned foods stored out of reach high atop kitchen shelves and extension cords snaking across ballroom floors all pose serious risks to hotels. Multi-million dollar claims may be easy to come by, but they can also be easily avoidable when hotel staff has a proper risk mindset.

For hotels, much like any business, a safety culture focused on risk mitigation starts with executive management. Not only must hotel executives understand safety initiatives and procedures, they must embrace and support these endeavors in their daily routines. It's essential that hotel employees see that owners and management are supportive of safety initiatives. Though it will take time, employees will then incorporate these measures into their daily activities as well.

Proper risk management is not just important from a safety perspective, but also from a cost perspective. While many executives and employees may see insurance claims as a sunk cost, this is not necessarily the case. Hotel management and employees should understand that these claims do indeed cost the business because a hotel's past claims history is reflected in its premium. In turn, these claims can have a bearing on the overall success of the hotel – which can directly impact staff via performance evaluations, be it the employee or the company.

One way executives might explain to employees the true cost of filing an insurance claim is to relate it to an employee's personal auto insurance policy. Most individuals understand that if they file a claim on their auto insurance policy, it will most likely be reflected in the form of a higher premium in the coming months. The same for workers' compensation claims, the experience of the hotel is compared against an industry standard and if the hotel's claims' rate is higher than the industry standard's, that hotel's future workers' compensation premiums will likely reflect that difference.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Mike Handelsman
Darrell Schuurman
Gary Isenberg
Bob Carr
Gayle Bulls Dixon
Faith Taylor
Andrew Glincher
Holly Zoba
Paul van Meerendonk
Mark Johnson
Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.