To maintain a secure and safe environment for guests and employees, general managers should establish a “culture of safety,” where all staff understand the importance of keeping guests and coworkers safe through attentiveness to any potential issues. This culture must extend through the entire organization, especially into HR and management, through open-door policies and proper de-escalation and crisis training. General managers can then reinforce this training with daily “stand up” meetings and through motivation and recognition. Your team should know that safety is everyone’s job, not just the job of maintenance or any other single department or employee. In addition, it’s crucial to have well-planned and efficient security procedures in place. When creating these plans, here are some best practices to consider:
1. Local agency partnerships.
Invite senior leaders from local emergency agencies to meet with key staff and managers to discuss the importance of guest safety and build a strong relationship to reduce criminal activity, like human trafficking, and increase guest security. Offer on-duty police complimentary coffee or breakfast to promote a positive presence of law enforcement.
2. Key card control.
Ensure that only authorized employees can create and distribute keys and provide the correct access to registered guests and employees. Master keys should be securely stored, checked in and out daily by the staff, and never used to grant a guest access to any room or area of the hotel. Assign someone the task to inventory all master keys daily and report any discrepancies to management. Regularly update active employee lists in the PMS and electronic lock systems, and have your staff implement strong passwords and two-factor authentication whenever possible.
3. Emergency key control.
Make sure all emergency keys are valid, functioning, and stored securely. If a portable programmer or any other device is used to access the electronic lock system, it should be stored securely. Consider installing a lockbox equipped with a breakable glass front behind the front desk and work with your local fire department to install a Knox Box with a full set of emergency keys for fire department use in an emergency.
4. Housekeeper precautions.
For safety, housekeepers should clean rooms with doors closed and carts in front of the door. In case of evacuation, they should bring their carts into the guestroom to clear the hallway.
5. Front desk precautions.
Front desk staff should avoid announcing room numbers and positively confirm the guest’s name before connecting any calls to a room.
6. Due Diligence.
Regular security audits should be conducted to identify and address any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in security systems and protocols.
By following these best practices, a hotel can create a secure and safe environment for guests and employees, while protecting its assets and reputation.