It would be remiss of me not to tackle the topic of Hospitality Safety Tips in one of my articles. And Hospitality Safety Tips is my first in a series of three articles
Whenever we hear of accidents or crimes being committed while inside hotel rooms, we are usually shocked but sadly not surprised. The privacy, anonymity and the assurance that hotel employees must always protect guests’ identities somehow gives some guests the confidence to do things they normally wouldn’t do elsewhere.
We only need to look to Social and Mainstream Media in recent months. There have been numerous celebrity and joe-public physical abuse incidents that have taken place in hotels recently.
Whether under the influence of alcohol and other substances or not, the fact remains that some guests prove to be dangerous. Not only to their companions but also potentially to hotel employees that may come across their path.
And the types of hospitality safety tips we need to manage such situations may not be part of our Induction Training or morning briefings.
What can you do to keep yourself safe while working in a hotel?
The dangers of working in an environment that puts you in the presence of strangers who may have different or dangerous motives are very real.
Whilst hotels should have strict security measures in place, it doesn’t hurt to consider some of the points below. Equip yourselves with these tips for how to avoid being compromised or put in dangerous situations. And how to deal with it when unwanted things happen.
Hospitality Safety Tips
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
In the workplace and anywhere else, nothing beats consistent vigilance.
Always stay alert and observe your surroundings.
Never be complacent or put your guard down.
If you’ve been working in the same place for a long time, you will know when something is amiss.
An unattended bag or package could be a cause for concern. A guest who seems to be crossing the line between friendly and pushy could be a red flag. Always err on the side of caution, and don’t hesitate to involve your superiors and even Security when necessary.
2. Take advantage of safety and security related training provided by the company.
Most hotels provide all sorts of training related to safety and security for their hotel and employees.
Such training can include
- bomb/suspicious package detection training.
- how to identify suspicious behavior in guests
- how to respond to emergencies such as fires, earthquakes and medical emergencies.
Some hotels even provide basic self-defense training. Especially for staff who are exposed to guest interactions on a regular basis.
Do not just attend these training sessions just for the attendance (or the free snacks!). Absorb all the information you can because it could save your life (and others too) one day.
3. Don’t be sloppy when it comes to security.
Make sure to keep doors locked where they should be. Monitor prohibited areas to make sure that guests don’t end up where they shouldn’t.
Do not leave sensitive information lying around for anyone to see. Do not leave your screen monitor where guests could see private information. Always lock your screen when you leave your station.
Never leave cash or other valuables in areas where anyone could easily swipe them when you’re not looking.
When it comes to safety and security, we cannot afford to let our guard down. We could end up regretting it one day.
4. Follow established security procedures when dealing with guests.
SOPs are there for a reason. Be sure to follow them to protect yourself from potential problems.
Always check for guest identification in your transactions, regardless of whether they are inhouse guests or suppliers.
Never divulge information that you should be keeping confidential.
Never, ever issue keys to unregistered guests unless explicitly instructed by the registered guest. When in doubt, seek advice from your supervisor or manager.
Better to be extra cautious and careful than sorry.
5. Avoid putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations.
In our line of work, it’s sometimes inevitable that we will be alone with a guest. When we are escorting a guest into their room, when delivering luggage, when cleaning a room or when delivering food, there are times when we will be alone with a guest inside the room.
In this case, it’s important for us to pay close attention to our senses. Our sixth sense or gut feeling which alerts us when something is “wrong” or “off”.
When inside the guest room, always try to position yourself between the guest and the door. And, as much as possible, always keep your back to the door and face the guest to be completely aware of your surroundings.
We don’t necessarily need to treat all guests as a potential threat, but it pays to be in tune with your senses. It’s those senses which often tell us when something’s not right.
6. Familiarize yourself with emergency safety procedures.
As much as we try to keep ourselves safe at all times, there can be times when we are put into situations where we need to save ourselves.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with emergency numbers, emergency exits and protocols to follow.
When you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, try to make an exit as soon as possible. And find another member of staff and ask for help.
7. Arm yourself with self-defense techniques.
If the hotel does not offer basic self-defense training, make it a point to do some self-learning to protect yourself. Inside and outside the workplace.
There are tons of helpful videos online that will show you how to respond to different kinds of attacks. Or what practical items you can use to defend yourself. As well as when to fight back vs. when to flee.
There are also some facilities that offer face-to-face self-defense training where you can practice your techniques with an “attacker.”
Equipping yourself with these kinds of knowledge and skills will enable you to respond better and faster if ever caught in a situation nobody wants to be in.
If you think about it, most of these Hospitality Safety Tips are basic common sense.
However, when you’ve been working in the same place, and doing the same things for a long time, there is a tendency to become complacent and relax a bit on safety and security procedures.
We sometimes feel invincible, as if it’s never going to happen to us…… Until it does.
So, it’s always better to be on the side of caution and keep these hospitality safety tips in mind.
Make sure to follow safety and security procedures to a T. Listen to your gut and be aware when your senses are telling you that something’s off. Familiarize yourself on what to do when caught in a dangerous situation. And equip yourself with self-defense knowledge and techniques.
If you never get to use these hospitality safety tips, that’s great. However, in the off-chance that you happen to need any of them, it is better to be in the proper mindset so you can be calm and composed enough to save yourself from potential danger.
Stay safe out there, hoteliers!