A lack of guest safety and security could be a nail in your coffin and make your occupancy rate plummet overnight. One negative incident can send your reputation into a fatal tailspin, resulting in costly legal fees and long-term revenue loss. No insurance product can save you from a bad reputation.
As a business owner, you can (and should) take preventive actions to reduce the likelihood of a crime and other threatening losses at your hospitality operation. Here are a few simple tips to implement that will help make your guests feel safe and secure while frequently your establishment:
- Know your location: This includes a review of public records, crime and law enforcement responsiveness to criminal activity. Talk to local businesses to find out what safety or security problems they have or are currently experiencing. Invite the police and fire department to tour your property and help familiarize them with your business.
- Know your premises: This can be accomplished through documentation of regularly conducted premises inspections. The inspections should include not only security items, such as lighting and doors, but also guest safety, such as cleanliness.
- Know your customers: Your typical customer profile will provide you with insight as to the type of losses that can be expected. For example, having a lot of children on the premises could result in furniture climbing (a liability for patron injury) or attract disreputable people that prey on unattended minors. On the other hand, having a majority of elderly patrons might mean you need to be more conscious about slip, trip and fall exposures.
- Know your employees: Employees can make or break the success of a business and put you at higher risk for loss—i.e. poor customer service, internal theft or overall underperformance. Employee selection and training is key to ensuring that you have the best team in place to help you be successful. Criminal background checks should be completed for 100 percent of your employees. It is your responsibility as a business owner to know how you employ, and ensure your guests’ property and physical safety is not at risk. For additional advice, read “6 Tips to Reduce Employee Theft.”
- Develop and Enforce Necessary Plans: Review current processes and assess whether or not you have taken the appropriate measures to identify and control potential loss sources. Formalized plans ensure that processes are implemented correctly, employees and teams are held to your standards and all recommended precautions are taken. These plans can also offer a reference point for review and analysis. If aspects of your loss prevention plan do not work, assess areas for improvement and evolve accordingly.
It is no industry secret that consumers are more informed than ever before. With online reviews at the click of a mouse, one bad comment can make or break a reservation. Close calls and near misses may be all that is needed to tarnish a good reputation.
Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead for J.D. Power, stated the following in 2013’s North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Survey:
“In many cases, hotel review sites play a key role in influencing guests to select one property over another, making them a powerful tool. Before these sites became mainstream, guests tended to choose a property based on price, previous experiences or location. But now, armed with so much more detailed information from fellow travelers, guests can make more informed choices that ultimately result in more realistic expectations about the property. This can go a long way toward satisfaction with their stay.”
For these reasons, it is imperative that your business keep customer security and safety at the forefront of your daily activities. If you need any assistance with reviewing the safety and security plan for your hotel, contact a local Westfield Risk Control Representative.