Tis' the Season to Be... Safe and Secure

By Bernard Robinson Director of Security Services, St. Regis Atlanta | December 11, 2011

When planning for your travel during this holiday season, thoughts are often about family gatherings, the hotel or just getting through the busy airport. Warm greetings inundated with holiday music complimented with cheerful exchanges, can sometimes feel like work. Because we desire not to conjure up negative images, or introduce trepidation, less attention is directed toward safety associated with traveling and environmental awareness of criminal activity. Just as we anticipate the joys of the holidays, it behooves us to possess a more heightened sense for safety and security when traveling and being aware of your surroundings.

The need for travel safety consciousness is applicable for everyone. There are several basic factors to assuring safety and security is a part of every phase of traveling throughout the holiday season. Travel options during the holiday season are mostly air travels, car rentals, and hotel accommodations.

Secure Your Home Before You Leave

Travel arrangements begin with precautionary measures at home before departing. In planning your travels, you must first secure your home and take proper measures to prevent any accidents or burglaries. Suggestions to implement safety measures are:

• Never announce your intentions to leave. You never know who is listening. Only let trusted family and friends know of your travel plans and have them conduct a periodic check of your residence.
• Leave contact information and travel itineraries with only trusted family and friends. Even if you choose to drive to your destination, inform them of your intended route just in case of an emergency.
• Place a "hold" on all postal deliveries for the duration of intended stay away from residence. If you forget, have a family member or neighbor collect any/all mail during time away.
• Place timer for home lights to give the perception the residence is occupied. Perception is a workable deterrent for potential burglaries.
• Do you have pets? If you can't bring your pets with you on your travels, make prior arrangements for pet hotels or sitter. If you are bringing your pets, you'll want to check with rental Car Company and the hotel that it is ok to have pets in the car or stay in the hotel room with you. You don't have to any surprises or have to scramble for other lodging. Also check with the concierge of your hotel. They usually will know if there is a pet hotel close to the property.

Air Travel Safety

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.