Security Tips for Hotels

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The most effective ways to secure your operation

The ideal hotel is a place of comfort for its residents. It's a home away from home, a place to relax, do business, or have fun. If you're the one in charge, taking care of security in hospitality is a serious responsibility. Failure to take proper precautions can lead to serious consequences for your guests and cause long-term damage to your reputation.

To avoid risk, you'll want to have every base covered decisively but subtly. This balance will give you peace of mind as a hospitality professional and allow your guests and staff to feel they and their possessions are safe under your roof. Fortunately, modern security technologies and managed services are perfect for hotels, along with some decidedly low-tech but common-sense steps. Here are some key tips for safeguarding your operation.

1. Open the right doors for the right people

This is very simple step that's not as simple as it used to be. Access control is thankfully more effective than ever, but nothing is fool proof. Make sure access cards are keyed to open the right rooms for the right people. Automatically resetting guest card codes after checkout is must. Be diligent in implementing one of the many forms of access control throughout your operation. As for the areas of your hotel reserved for staff, you must ensure that only the appropriate personnel can access sensitive areas with specifically-coded IDs.

2. Prioritize staff training

Your staff is the linchpin of your security operation. Your team can of course watch out for suspicious individuals or items on the premises, and they also serve as a visible deterrent if they are seen to be vigilant. Teaching your employees the basics like verifying visitor ID, confirming identities of guests when dealing with questions, and knowing how to react in a threatening situation will pay off.

Consider implementing a staff security training program or creating your own security checklist such as this example from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

3. Have a security plan and review it regularly

To have a really effective security plan, you need to coordinate with law enforcement and medical/safety emergency teams in your area. Working as a team, you can prepare for any eventuality from the smallest alert to the most extreme events.

This resource from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration provides a good overview on forming an emergency plan. Never forget that every security situation is unique when formulating an effective strategy.

4. Install a sufficient number of security cameras – and watch the feeds

This traditional security measure does more than act as a visual deterrent. Cameras can survey nearly every area of a hotel, quickly and efficiently spotting threats. They're also worthwhile as a means of recording evidence in the event of a crime or an accident that could create liability. Cameras keep a watchful eye afterhours, monitoring areas of the hotel that could cause liability – specifically, pools, rooftop decks, gardens, and stairwells. Having recorded visual evidence may protect your property against slip and fall claims and other alleged accidents. 

For security purposes, comprehensive camera surveillance requires consistent monitoring to be effective. Managed remote monitoring services complemented by analytics software can effectively keep eyes on the feeds at all times, ensuring surveillance reaches its full potential. Advanced software algorithms have the capability to identify suspicious movements and potential threats, followed by automatically alerting surveillance professionals to the appropriate camera feed.

5. Train your security team

Security officers can either be mobile throughout the hotel or positioned at key points to protect guests, personnel or property. When it comes to on-site staff, usually the more the better. But if additional personnel aren’t in the budget, you can augment your security team with remote monitoring.

Remote monitoring doesn’t simply keep an eye on video feeds; offsite personnel can also verify visitor ID and warn off intruders through remote speakers.

6. Secure cyberspace

Management can't afford to forget that a hotel’s responsibility extends beyond doors, windows, and walls. You're responsible for the valuable personal information of guests including (but not limited to) names, addresses and banking details. More than half of all credit card fraud occurs in the hospitality industry, with particular weaknesses for hotels worldwide being poorly defended data storage networks and lack of sufficient encryption at Point of Sale (POS).

Installing antivirus and malware protection software is a minimum and necessary step toward protecting your hotel's cyber security. Your POS system has to be looking after your customers too, by safely dealing with their credit card information. It could spell real trouble for your hotel if you're not PCI compliant. It's not only common sense – it could save you steep fines.

7. Your guests, your guards

Last but not least, your guests can be of valuable assistance in making sure your hotel is secure. Consider making safety advice and information available to them over the hotel’s website, email, or printed material in their room. This will encourage them to take personal steps and a degree of responsibility for their own security – remember the majority of hotel crime takes place in or near a guest's room.

Security is a collaborative effort. Encouraging your guests to be proactive will reduce the most serious risks and add another layer to hotel security.

Final thoughts

Check out this review of cybersecurity threats and countermeasures, we well as this study of hotel crime in the Miami-Dade area. And if you think your operation needs to step up security, be sure to consult with a security integrator who can conduct an on-site appraisal of the unique requirements of your premises.

Since 2002, Peace of Mind Technologies has delivered over 2,000 security solutions across six industries in the greater New York Metropolitan area. We work with you to provide comprehensive, site-specific security from implementation to post-installation support. To discuss your needs, complete our contact form for a free consultation.