Harden your property against threats but keep the welcoming environment
For hotels, security and customer service can be a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, guests should be secure while staying there; on the other, security cannot be so obviously oppressive that their stay feels like a prison sentence.
There are steps – very do-able and affordable – that can bring security and customer service together so guests feel safe and secure while still fully enjoying the amenities and surroundings.
Bringing customer service into the security realm
The best security begins when a guest is welcomed into the hotel. Whether it’s a security officer, a valet, or, more than likely, employees at the front desk, that first hello establishes a safe atmosphere.
Lodging Magazine recommends that employees engage guests in conversation. Ask them about their stay and if there is anything you can do to help. By knowing whom the guests are, it becomes easier to recognize a non-guest on the property.
Developing protocols, policies, and procedures
For better or for worse, we live in an age where nothing can be taken for granted. That’s why it’s imperative that hotels develop policies and methods to outline how all members of the hotel team should handle basic requests. For example, when a guest asks for his or her car, does the valet ask for identification, room card, or ticket? Is identification required if a guest requests a replacement access card?
Stay secure when the sun goes down
In addition to having security personnel and video surveillance at all access points, you should also limit to where guests can go after a certain time. Evening hours also require an assessment of landscaping and lighting. Are trees and shrubbery providing cover for criminals who can follow guests from the parking lot to the hotel door? Is decorative lighting so decorative that it creates deep shadows where non-guests can hide?
Develop partnerships with local law enforcement
Developing a strong working relationship with local law enforcement can go a long way in creating a safe and secure environment for guests. Local law enforcement should be familiar with your hotel’s location, its floor plan, any upcoming events to be held in the hotel, and your commitment to effective security.
To that end, your security and hotel team should work with local law enforcement to develop an emergency response team and plan. These plans, which should include evacuation and response drills, should be reviewed annually. Additionally, you may want to consider evergreen background screenings – an annual re-screening of staffing standards.
Stay ahead on the technology front
Of course, technology continues to play a vital role in maintaining security. It’s imperative to stay ahead of the game. The following unobtrusive technological measures provide effective security with minimal inconvenience:
1. Thorough video surveillance combined with smart video analytics
Cameras placed strategically throughout the property are a first line of defense. And coupling them with analytics software allows staff to be notified when the software identifies pre-defined and evolving threats that humans may miss. In addition, thorough surveillance assists in monitoring the guest service provided by employees as well as possibly protecting your property from legal liability due to accidents or other unforeseen events.
2. Access control and ID
Protect your guests and your employees by instituting a dedicated access control system to ensure that only the right personnel have access to authorized areas, including maintenance closets, server rooms, administrative offices, and any areas of the premises that are off-limits during certain hours.
3. Remote monitoring
It can be difficult and expensive to maintain on-site security staff 24 hours per day, and even when on-site staff are available, it can be a challenge to monitor every camera feed. Managed remote monitoring services can provide detailed, constant review of camera feeds, as well as cover hours of the day when you lack onsite personnel to complete the task.
From computer security and key card advances to security cameras and monitoring options, security software and technology is constantly changing. The equipment, though, is only as good as the design of your security plan.
POM Technologies connects people and businesses to technology, and is committed to being a long-term partner in your security needs. To learn more about making your hotel safe while maintaining excellent customer service, contact POM Technologies today at 212.688.2767 or through our online formfor a free consultation.
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