Security Challenges and Solutions for Today's Hotel Owners and Operators
By Michael Hymanson Regional Manager, New York Metro Business Unit, U. S. Security Associates, Inc. | December 18, 2011
Safe lodging and the reputation of a hotel are critical if not paramount to ensure success for a single inn, hotel or hotel chain. These entities must properly provide for the protection and maintenance of assets. This includes protecting human, physical and intangible assets. A hotels reputation and standard conduct of business is based on the protection that is afforded to guests, employees, visitors, contractors, the physical structure of the premises and all that is contained therein and pertinent to the property.
Assets must be deployed to mitigate numerous risks that Hotels face which include but are not limited to fire, criminal activities, injury, natural disaster, sabotage, and terrorism. Crime and attempted crime has increased over time due to numerous factors. With increased population there are simply more criminals. In addition, crime has gotten more viral as evidenced by that most unfortunate terrorist attack in Mumbai, India where scores were killed and injured in a horrific assault at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels. While this represents an extreme it also illustrates the vulnerability that Hotels face.
More common vulnerabilities would be the lone physical attack on Hotel guests and employees, theft of merchandise and services, injuries and claims due to both real and alleged circumstances and the devastating effect of fire and natural disaster. While all risks cannot be avoided, they can and are being mitigated through basic as well as enhanced security techniques and methods.
While the cost of systems and manpower has to be considered in the context of an overall security program, it is as noted above incumbent for a Hotel to provide the safe and secure environment that patrons expect and have a legal right for. As such Hotels can take basic steps as well as utilize sophisticated security techniques to mitigate risk. While basic steps are relatively inexpensive the decision to deploy more complex techniques will need to based on based on budgets and the financial ability of the Hotel. It is thus incumbent for decision makers at the Hotel to decide on a basic framework of expenditure for Security purposes.
What ALL Hotels can cost effectively do is TRAIN ALL staff and not just security personnel on the importance of security and what all staff members should look for and try to do when there is a situation or incident at the Hotel. Hotel staff should be encouraged if not rewarded to report situations that are dangerous or might be dangerous. A trained staff that can identify and react appropriately in the identification of potential and or actual risk is the best and most cost effective security technique for any Hotel.
Training programs can also range from simple to complex but there is no substitute or excuse for Hotel staff not to be given basic training on the importance of Hotel security. If a Hotel can afford it, advanced security training for management staff is highly recommended.
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