Several quick suggestions for improving guest safety at hotels.
Premises Audit: Often referred to as a legal liability audit, these initiatives help hotels identify and address the risks they face on their properties. The audit can be performed by a hotel’s security team or a third party, but it needs to be conducted by an expert with a wide range of knowledge about hotel weaknesses and potential breach points. The higher the profile of the hotel (e.g., does it host professional athletes/teams, celebrities, etc.), the more frequently the audit needs to be conducted.
Experience is a Demanding Teacher: Because hotels confront an unending and ever-changing landscape of liability issues (e.g., hundreds of guests with camera phones, the immediacy of photo distribution applications like SnapChat, etc.), incidents – whether they are violations of privacy or physical assaults on guests – drive remedial action. At trial, hotels rarely get credit for the steps they have taken to make their properties safer. Nonetheless, they must continually strive to improve overall safety.
Conducting Sweeps for a Different Type of “Dirt:” Hotel security must regularly conduct security sweeps throughout the hotel to prevent security breaches. Because a hotel has control of its rooms, and because hotel staff is regularly in the rooms, hotels must develop policies and procedures by which all hotel staff, no matter the rank, actively look for potential breaches. Hotel staff must be trained to look for possible acts of voyeurism so as to prevent violations of guest privacy.
Background Checks on All Staff: Hotels should, as company policy, conduct background checks for every new and current hotel employee to prevent employee/guest assaults, particularly those employees who have access to hotel guests’ personal information and hotel room keys. A hotel must also have strict policies in place as to how it distributes room keys to persons who claim to have lost their keys and must, at a minimum, require identification before distributing a key after a guest has already checked into the hotel.
Guest Privacy Policies: Hotels should establish strict policies to never provide the personal information of a registered guest or reveal the room in which a guest is staying. Additionally, a hotel should ensure that it has a policy in place of not blindly accepting requests to be placed in hotel rooms next to other hotel guests. Furthermore, if it has not already done so, a hotel should institute a policy and procedure that requires that a hotel guest be notified by hotel staff if someone wishes to speak with him over the phone or wishes to be placed in a room next to him or her.