Securing a hotel is an incredibly difficult thing to do. If you think about it, the core of security is ensuring that only authorized persons are allowed to enter a building or an area, and monitoring what leaves the area too. This is easy with your home – only you and your immediate family are going to be entering or leaving on a regular basis. It’s easy for most workplaces too, since the list of authorized people, while long, is not likely to change often.
With a hotel, the entire business model relies on a large number of people spending a relatively short amount of time on the property. And each of those people will need to be able to enter and leave the main building, and their room, as they please. You need to make sure that each room is secure so that guests can leave their belongings in their rooms without fear. It also goes without saying that the entire property must also be secured properly for the guests’ own safety.
Simple Ways to Improve Security
The approach that you take to security will depend on whether you are running a small hotel or a large one, and how many guests you tend to have. Tim Wilson, Jr., owner of IGS Protection, one of the top security companies in Houston, offers the following simple ways that hotels and motels can improve security.
One of the biggest problems with hotels – especially large ones – is the issue of copying keys. If your hotel uses simple physical keys to lock and unlock guest rooms, then you run the risk of a guest copying the key during their stay, coming back at a later date, and using that key to gain access to their old room. This is a common problem in a lot of cities. Keycard locks are problematic because they are often prone to data loss, but are one of the most common systems in use today. Electronic combination locks are probably the best choice in terms of reliability, but you might find that there is a customer service burden because of people forgetting the combination to get into their rooms. For this reason, many choose to forego this option in favor of practicality.
Get CCTV installed in the hallways and parking lots, and combine that with some type of motion sensor so that your security staff will be notified which monitors they should be watching. Don’t put CCTV in guest rooms – this would be a privacy and PR nightmare. Simply monitoring the halls, stairwells and parking areas for suspicious activity should be enough – if security staff are concerned something is going on, then they can investigate in person.
Train Your Staff to Be Proactive
Having security staff standing around and being intimidating might create the illusion of security, but it’s the cleaners, reception staff and restaurant staff that have the best opportunity of making a difference. Get them to talk to customers they encounter wandering around. Ask people if everything is OK with their room, or if they are enjoying their stay. Customers will respond positively, and many non-customers may be caught off-guard and will often give away clues to what they are doing. A non-customer might be someone visiting a room for a meeting, in which case there’s no harm done, or they could be a criminal. If an employee meets someone that they think doesn’t fit the usual demographic of a standard hotel guest, then they need to make a decision about alerting security or not.
With a few smart decisions, it’s possible to make a hotel secure without ruining the stay for legitimate guests. You don’t have to have curfews and demand that guests turn their keys in before they leave. There is a compromise between a secure environment and one that is welcoming and positive for all kinds of guests while reassuring them security is a priority.