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Hotel security: Navigating concerns and identifying solutions

Bob Chartier, Vice President of Key Accounts, AlliedBarton Security Services. | June 24, 2014
Here are nine considerations for balancing security and hospitality


A single act of crime on your property could diminish your brand.

Business and recreational travelers demand safe and secure hotel accommodations, as well as responsive and friendly customer service. How can hoteliers ensure that their property provides as secure an environment as possible, while maintaining friendly customer service?

As Warren Buffet said, "it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

With that said, here are nine things to consider when it comes to blending hospitality and security.

Maintain Security Minded Customer Service
Front desk staff and valets are trained to embody a customer first, customer service model. While maintaining friendly, responsive interactions with customers is crucial, it is also important to vigilantly follow all security protocols.

What happens when a nicely dressed man asks the valet for his car or stored bags? As a matter of course, does the valet validate the request against identification, room card or ticket - or do they take the man at his word that that the Gucci luggage and Mercedes Benz are indeed his own? Does the front desk require identification when providing replacement access cards to those who have misplaced or lost their cards?

Key Card Access Review
With a few pieces of hardware and minor programming, it is possible for a criminal to gain undetectable entry to millions of key card protected hotel rooms.

At a security conference, a hacker presented the vulnerabilities he discovered in hotel room locks by a major manufacturer whose devices are installed in about seven million hotel rooms internationally.

The manufacturer answered this security breach and is working with customers to repair these faulty mechanisms with hardware retooling. Hotels need to ensure that their key card access systems are not vulnerable to hacking or unlawful access.

Hoteliers should remind all guests of the security safeguards they offer and remind guests to use their lock bars and chains and dead bolts when retiring for the evening. Room safes or securing valuables at the front desk should also be recommended if available.

Establish Evergreen Background Screening Protocol
While the hotel industry is ahead of the curve on ensuring that applicants complete comprehensive background screening, not all hoteliers are as vigilant when reviewing the processes of their contract partners such as landscaping and security.

In addition, background screening should be an evergreen process. This is an important element of an ongoing commitment to safety and security. Re-screening employees annually can help hoteliers maintain the high level of quality staff they desire.

Control After Hours Access
For maximum safety, posting security personnel at front entrance and other access points is vital. Security personnel are able to report suspicious activity, conduct property tours and protect guests and guest information from outsiders.


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