• GUEST BLOG: Top tips for hotel security

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    By 2020 CCTV

    There are, of course, lots of important factors to consider to ensure a successful hotel business – but security and the safety of guests and staff is always front of mind.

    Depending on which market a hotel is tapping into, there will be different ways to make the establishment stand out from the crowd. This will likely require extensive research into nearby properties and businesses to see exactly what is working and what isn’t.

    However, one aspect which should be a consistent consideration for any and every hotel is safety. Here’s a brief overview of techniques and technologies that can help…

    CCTV

    CCTV installation is a good way to ensure guests feel safer.  However, just having a surveillance system in place isn’t enough. Be sure to constantly monitor your set-up, even if this means hiring a third-party company to do so. Certain systems also come with a voice command option, which means that if you spot any wrong-doing, you can quickly warn those involved to stop their actions. You could even use cloud CCTV storage so that you can view your property from a control room, smartphone or a tablet 24/7.

    Think electric

    When it comes to your electricity supply – it’s crucial to have a regular Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) conducted.  This is because, since your business is constantly in operation, your systems can be subject to wear, tear, corrosion and overloading. This report, which must be carried out by a qualified electrician, will ensure that the electrical appliances in each room are fit for purpose.

    Electrical checks should be carried out periodically (diarise them).  Doing this will ensure you are limiting the risk of electrical shocks, fires and accidents, therefore reducing accidents in the workplace – something which is a legal requirement since the introduction of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

    Your gas supply

    Your gas supply is another potential safety issue, and gas safety should be a consideration. Similar to your electricity supply, your gas mains and appliances should be periodically checked. The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 states that you must arrange annual gas safety checks for any appliances that are serving guest accommodation, even if it’s sited away from the guests’ rooms.

    Staff should not be left out of your gas safety policy.  Make sure staff have full training in the operation of any gas appliances – and this should include spotting any obvious faults, by using visual checks.  This could include any damaged pipework or connections. While any new installations must be carried out by someone who is Gas Safe-registered, anyone can change a LPG gas cylinder or hose once they are competent to do so.

    It’s also extremely important to make use of carbon monoxide and dioxide alarms.  These can signify any fault and help you avoid any catastrophes. They should give an audible alarm when levels are dangerous and should be able to automatically shut off your gas system.

    Emergency response plan

    Do your staff know what to do in the case of an emergency?  Hopefully it will never happen, but if there is an emergency then your staff should be fully up-to-date about what they need to do in the scenario. Regular meetings with law enforcement and emergency services should be scheduled so you have a good communication plan in place and can update it as and when required. In doing so, you can prepare your staff so that everyone is calm and knowledgeable in a worst-case scenario.

    The staff uniform

    An obvious one (though surprisingly not always!), adopting a staff uniform policy is important.  Not only does it help your business look professional and smart, but it also gives your guests a clear view of who they can approach about a query, and who indeed is allowed in certain areas of the business. In guest areas, knowing who members of staff are is essential. This is because it shows that your company have guests’ safety at the forefront due to staff always patrolling the areas.

    Securing online data

    Although physical safety is obviously important, it shouldn’t be your only safety consideration. Hotels have become a prime target for cyber attacks. According to a report by PwC, the hospitality industry has the second-highest number of cybersecurity breaches, with most of the prominent hotels in the industry having fallen victim to breaches.

    Regularly update your IT systems.  Doing this will help to ensure the safety of files and information, and thereby reduce online data security risks.  You should also be making sure that backing up your data becomes a habit, so you can eliminate the risk of losing it or having it irretrievably damaged. A recommended strategy is to use a cloud service daily, have weekly server backups, and follow these up with quarterly server backups and then yearly backups.

    Be vigilant with your passwords.  Remember, password security is important, just as it would be for your personal devices. Be sure to change it often and make sure you change it any time a staff member leaves to avoid any breaches.

    A hotelier business is – hopefully – a busy one.  There are lots of things to consider but safety should obviously be a key consideration. It’s crucial to keep on top of the methods you are using. Following the above steps should help provide your business with insight on how to keep your guests safe.

    Sources

    https://smallbusiness.co.uk/four-things-to-know-before-starting-a-small-hotel-2459257/

    https://www.cintas.com/ready/healthy-safety/9-ways-to-help-boost-hotel-security-for-guests-and-employees/

    https://www.mr-electric.co.uk/birmingham-north/5-reasons-all-guest-houses-and-hotels-require-an-electrical-installation-condition-report-eicr/

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/safetycheckswho.htm

    https://www.tourismtattler.com/articles/hospitality/hotels-prime-target-cyber-threats/70691

    https://www.siteminder.com/r/technology/hotel-data-security/quick-tips-stay-secure-online-hotel-systems-safe/

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien