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Guest Safety and Security

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


Importance of security systems


It is a hotel’s responsibility to protect the guests, employees and their properties. Hotels

have a team of security staff who look after safeguarding the entire property. The

responsibilities of the security team include - patrolling the property, monitoring surveillance

equipment, and ensuring that the guests, visitors and employees are safe and secure.

The security personnel should be trained to handle situations like - vandalism, terrorist

attack, bomb threat, fire in the hotel, etc. Safety awareness should be an ongoing

programme in all establishments. Periodic training should be given to all employees in order

to raise awareness about safety.


The front office department also plays a key role in maintaining the hotel's safety. Being the

first point of contact, the front office personnel have to deal with not only guests but also

vendors, visitors and delivery people. The front office employees, like door attendants,

parking attendants, bell boy and receptionists observers all the people who are entering or

leaving the hotel premises. If they notice any suspicious activity or circumstances, they

should immediately report the same to the security personnel.

 

Safe deposit


Hotels provide safe deposit lockers to guests where they can keep their cash, jewellery and

important documents safely. Hotels mostly have in-house safe deposit lockers. These

lockers can only be opened with a single key. Some hotels have a separate locker room,

where a locker facility is provided to guests on paying a nominal charge or no charge

depending upon the hotel’s policy. Simultaneous use of two keys is required to open the safe

deposit locker - one is provided to the guest and one remains at the front office.


The entire process will be carried out in two steps -

1. Issue of locker - where an empty safe deposit locker is provided to guests upon filling

of safe deposit box registration card.

2. Surrender of locker - where the guest surrenders the locker key to the front office

staff after signing the acknowledgement that he has received all the items from the

locker.


 

Key control


The keys must be kept in safe custody to ensure the safety and security of guest belongings.

Hotels may have a Hard-key system or an Electronic-key system. When the Hard-key system

is used, the guest should be instructed to deposit the keys at the reception while going out

from the hotel premises. The key tag is purposely made heavy and large, making it

inconvenient for the guests to carry it. When an electronic-key system is used, a fresh key is

produced for every guest on his / her arrival. The door lock combination can be changed if

required. Key control sheets are maintained by front desk employees to keep a check on guest

room keys.


There are three types of room keys -


1. Emergency Key / Grandmaster Key - This key opens the door locks of all the guest

rooms, even if they are double locked. It also double-locks the room against all other

keys. Hence the emergency key should be well-protected and only be used in the

time of emergency. This key must be kept under the control of the head of the property.


2. Master Key - This key opens all those guest room door locks that are not double

locked. The master key is under the control of the executive housekeeper of the hotel.


3. Guest Room Key - This key opens the lock of an individual guest room. Guest room

keys are under the control of the front desk and are issued to guests during check-in.

 

Emergency situations

(Accident, illness, theft, fire, bomb)


There are many unforeseen situations that may occur in a hotel during day-to-day operations.

The hotel staff should be well-trained to handle these emergency situations. The various types

of emergency situations that may arise are:

  • Accidents

  • Illness

  • Theft

  • Fire

  • Bomb threat

Accidents

An accident is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance. An accident may happen

due to one of the following reasons:


1. Excessive haste - An accident may occur when a person is in excessive haste when he

overlooks the safety rules or obstacles at that time. For eg: When a GRA is in a hurry while

making a room, he may ignore an object and may meet with an accident.


2. Carelessness - Carelessness while performing duties may also lead to an accident. For eg: if a

bellboy is careless with the luggage, he may trip and fall.


3. Anxiety - An anxious person is always worried about something which results in a lack of

concentration during work.


4. Lack of interest - If any employee has a lack of interest in his/her job. He may perform his/her

tasks with carelessness which may lead to an accident.


5. Failure to apply safety rules - the employee must follow all the safety measures while handling any equipment. This may prevent accidents.


The most common accident-prone areas in a hotel are stairways, balconies, ramps, parking

lots, bathtubs, or showers. The risk of accident can be reduced in the following ways:

  • Presence of handrails in stairways

  • Presence of a non-slip surface

  • Proper lightening at all places

  • Proper maintenance at regular intervals

  • Maintaining Accident Report

  • Identifying accident-prone areas inside a hotel

Illness

There must be 24 x 7 doctor on call available for the hotel to handle any guests who are

unwell and requires some immediate treatment.


Theft

The hotel has many points of sale where cash is handled. Therefore, there is always a

possibility of theft. The guest in the hotel carry with them valuables which may also invite risk

of theft. The guest must be advised to keep their valuables in the safety deposit locker. Any

theft inside a hotel should be immediately informed to the senior authority.


Fire

Fire is the most common emergency situation that may occur in a hotel. It could take place

due to faulty wiring, cigarette smoking in rooms or while cooking in the kitchen.

The following measures must be taken when there is a fire threat -

  1. Do not panic. Handle the situation smartly and calmly.

  2. The fire brigade should be informed immediately.

  3. All the guest rooms and corridors must be equipped with smoke detectors and sprinklers.

  4. The employees must be trained to handle the situation of fire. Fire drills should be performed during low occupancy periods.

  5. Fire extinguishers should be placed in proper places and must be regularly checked.

Bomb

The hotel staff must be well-trained to handle any emergency situation of a bomb threat. The hotel should inform the local police authorities and follow their instructions.

The person who receives the call should note the exact conversation between him/her and the

caller. He should try to ask for the details like the place where the bomb is placed, the description of the bomb, time by which the bomb is due to explode. He should also try to note

down the accent and mannerisms of the caller and if any background noise can be heard.

These exact details should be given to the police authorities. The higher authorities in the hotel should be immediately informed.

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