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Guests put a lot of faith in the properties they stay in. They trust that their room will be ready when they arrive, that there will be food available, and that staff will try their best to handle any concerns.
In the same way you want to meet these expectations, hospitality businesses also need to make sure you’re taking steps to keep your guests safe — as well as the employees you depend on to provide an excellent hospitality service.
The right practices and processes can do a lot to make any property a little safer. With these safety measures, you can help guarantee the security of your guests and employees.
1. Basic Security Tools
Most modern hotels use a system of cameras and electronic keycard locks to keep guests safe. These tools are an essential investment, and any hotel should make sure they have these locked down first.
Newer tools — like motion-sensing devices, anti-tamper devices, and hidden cameras — can help improve security, especially in high-risk areas or rooms that are harder to secure with more conventional security technology.
You can also invest in new access management technology, like intelligent access control systems. These are smart systems that enable keyless entry for guests. By using a token on their smartphone, they can access any room they have permission to enter, even if they don’t have a keycard on them. These systems can also provide easier building access for staff who need to quickly move around the property.
There is also a wide range of technology and tools specifically designed to help improve staff safety.
Employee safety devices (ESDs), for example, are one way that you can prioritize staff safety. These devices, also called panic buttons, allow frontline employees to buzz for help if needed. Typically, they’ll be placed with front desk staff or any employee that will enter a guest room by themselves.
Most modern ESDs use Bluetooth technology or Wi-Fi to communicate with building safety systems — meaning most of these devices won’t require any extensive wiring or extra hardware.
A handful of cities and states already require that hotels and other businesses provide these buttons. Even if they’re not mandated by law in your area, they’re still a great way to grant some extra safety to your staff.
2. Evacuation Plans and Employee Trainings
Having a plan for emergencies is essential if you want to keep guests and employees safe.
These evacuation plans should cover where employees should go and how they should evacuate during different types of emergencies. For example, you may have an evacuation plan that designates an outdoor meeting area where employees and guests can gather in case of a fire. A different plan may advise those on the property about the best place to shelter in the case of a hurricane or significant storm.
Just having these plans on paper probably won’t be enough. You’ll also want to make sure employees are trained in these plans so that, in the case of an emergency, they’ll know where to go or what steps to take to keep themselves and property guests safe.
Keeping visitors aware of these protocols is a great way to let them know about the steps you’re taking to keep them safe. In addition to providing valuable information, keeping visitors aware can also be an effective part of your customer retention strategy.
Like other customer retention techniques, demonstrating how your business prioritizes security can help you to create a wider range of consumer touchpoints, improve your brand reputation, and take some pressure off your sales and marketing team.
3. Safe Building Design
Simple tweaks to the design of a property’s buildings can also have a major impact on how safe it is for guests and staff.
Safety signage, for example, can make a building much easier to navigate in the event of an emergency. For example, many hotels have signs pointing towards fire extinguishers or marking areas that are good for sheltering in place during a storm. Others may point to the nearest exit or let visitors know there are security cameras keeping watch over the room they’re in.
Safe building design also means always considering safety, even when making changes that aren’t directly related to building security.
For example, automatic lights are popular in many commercial settings. They turn off automatically when no motion is detected, making them an easy way to lower energy costs and conserve resources. However, in an area where critical safety tasks are performed, or in dangerous environments — like a kitchen — these lights can become a safety hazard if not properly installed.
Similarly, an on-site laundry room will need proper ventilation to reduce the risk of dust buildup and fire. Good building design will also make your HVAC system and dryer lint filters accessible, making it easier for staff to clean them or swap out filters when necessary.
4. Verify Guest Identity
To keep visitors safe, many hotels have front desk staff quickly verify the identity of all hotel guests. For example, many hotels require that front desk staff not allow guests to check in without some form of ID.
Similarly, many hotels also work to verify the identity of any visitors, even if they’re not guests. Catering staff, maintenance contractors, and construction workers may all have reason to be inside a hotel at one point or another, but it’s still good practice to verify their identity — or at least make sure they’re on-site for a reason.
How Hospitality Businesses Can Keep Guests and Staff Safe
The right protocols, plans, and design decisions can go a long way in making your guests and staff much safer.
Emergency planning, safe building design, and the right security tools are all effective strategies for boosting the security of a property. They’ll help reduce safety risks and potentially improve your brand’s reputation.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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