Safehotels Andy Williams explains how business travellers can find safe, secure accommodation in Italy’s Travel for Business magazine.
Please describe the role of a hotel security manager?
The primary role of the hotel security manager is to ensure security is integrated with hospitality for what is a community of hotel guests, employees and public visitors open 24/7 365 days a year. The Security Manager, working with the all hotel department managers is the guardian of this community providing: safety and security training to employees, producing plans and procedures in the event of an emergency or disaster, developing working relationships with local police and civil defence, monitoring and putting pro-active measures in place to counter potential threats to the hotel, guests and employees.
Concerning security, what should travellers expect from a hotel?
It depends where the hotel is located and the threats within the location or to the hotel. In a high threat location where usually terrorism or civil unrest is a daily concern, travellers will expect to see high levels of physical and professional security officers on duty. In a lower threat location the traveller wants ‘seamless security’ that is always present and ready but not directly obvious or in the travellers face. The role of security in a hotel is to make sure nothing happens, the expectation of a traveller when staying in a hotel is for them to enjoy hospitality rather than a security incident.
When selecting hotels for business trips, where can travellers get information on security?
Business travellers have access to a lot of security information on the location of a hotel in terms of the threats to the city or country where the hotel is located, however information on security of the actual hotel is more limited. Other than sending a specialised security expert to visit the hotel in advance the following is available: 1. If the hotel is an international brand chain, the brand may publish or provide generic security information regarding a specific hotel or brand. This could be on the individual hotel website or company website. 2. If the hotel is an independent or local chain brand, conduct a media search of the hotel for comments guests have made and pictures guests have taken and posted of the hotel. 3. Contact a specialist travel security consulting company who may already have knowledge of the hotel or have contacts who know of or have stayed at the hotel. 4. Check with an independent hotel security certification company to see if the hotel is independently security audited and certified.
According to your experience, do hotels give sufficient attention to security? What about travellers?
Hotels usually give as much attention to security as their guests require and expect along with any local laws or code requiring minimum levels of security to be in place at a hotel. Many hotels including some international chains and independent hotels or local brands see security as a cost and will provide a minimum level unless the hotel is in a high threat environment. However, hotels are beginning to notice and understand the higher levels of expectation travellers have for security, especially where it can be a sales differentiator when the discerning traveller will choose a hotel with higher and more effective levels of security and in some cases pay a higher room rate for this. This is mainly the case for business travellers. Leisure travellers tend to pay less attention to security unless something goes wrong.
When can a hotel be considered secure?
A hotel can be considered secure when a guest does not experience a security incident an emergency or is a victim of crime during their stay. In reality the vast majority of hotel stays are secure , there is probably on average a 0.001% chance of having an unsecure stay at a hotel that has reasonable security measures in place. The most important is the security of the hotel room and public areas of a hotel for low risk locations, which is where the majority of hotels are located in the world. Security measures should include electronic locking systems with a double lock bolt mechanism, a secondary secure door chain on the door frame, a viewport in the door, evacuation plan on back of the room door, an electronic room safe secured in the room. In public areas and the reception desk there should be CCTV coverage and staff training in security awareness, first aid and emergency response. Making a hotel secure in a high threat environment where terrorism is a day to day threat and the hotel is likely to be the favoured targeted compared to general public crowded spaces requires perimeter walls, fences, gates, vehicle access control and search procedures, pedestrian search procedures similar to airport style security, extra training for all employees in security awareness and emergency response procedures.
Please talk about Safe Hotels certification (how can hotels be certified, what are the advantages etc..)
Safehotels Certification is a way to more easily identify a hotel is secure and the security is independently audited, verified and Certified by experts in hotel security on an annual basis. This enables travellers, especially business travellers to know a hotel will have consistently high levels of security in place.
The benefits to the traveller are there is less chance of experiencing a security incident in a Safehotels Certified hotel and if there is an incident or emergency it will be responded to effectively and efficiently. The benefits for the hotel are enhanced security in place to an international, independently verified standard; a differentiator in RFP process providing ROI on security, communicating to guests and travellers the certification on their hotel website and in the hotel lobby where the certificate is displayed, enjoying a potential reduction in Insurance premiums from being a Safehotels Certified hotel.
Hotels and hotel companies take the initiative to become certified by contacting Safehotels. They prepare for certification based on Global Hotel Security Standard developed by Safehotels including 250+ individual security standard points covering 6 main sections 1. Hotel walkthrough of all areas, floors, perimeter and external grounds of the hotel from the roof to the basements. 2. A review of all security related process, procedure and training 3. A test and check of the security equipment and systems in place 4. A test and review of the Fire Equipment and systems in place 5. A check and review of the Fire Procedures and Evacuation Plans 6. A check and review of Emergency and Crisis Management Plans and procedures in place.
To read the original article in Travel for Business, click here: https://www.travelforbusiness.it/2019/09/17/online-il-magazine-dedicato-ai-viaggi-e-mobilita-aziendale-sostenibile/