Industry Update
Opinion Article29 April 2013

Safety in your hotel is about communication

By Frank Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at HFTP

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Much has been said lately about hotel room security and the technology used to keep our guests safe and secure while under our care. The topic has been on the news, posted online, argued about in court and, in at least one case, had the potential to become a national security issue. So, as my first in a regular monthly series column, I decided to do a bit of research and find out how hotel room security compares to typical security at a guest's home.

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In doing so, I went online and found that the average time it takes to pick a home lock is between 5 and 30 seconds, which I thought was pretty fast! Anyone with a credit card that will work can buy a nice set of lock picks that vary from $5 to $300. (Although one website insisted that I agree not to use them in an illegal manner.) Further research uncovered something called a bump key that you can either make (search "bump key" on YouTube and you'll find a "how-to" video with more than two million views) or easily purchase online. It will purportedly open about 90 percent of home locks. With statistics like this, a home lock does not seem to be very useful.

During my career, I have probably spent between 3,000 and 5,000 nights sleeping in hotel rooms. Typically, there are security personnel on duty, cameras, emergency lighting and quite a few other things in place that make me feel quite secure. While I have never had a dangerous experience in a hotel, I have had my home burglarized. So, for me, I feel as secure at hotels as I do at my house.

As members of the hospitality industry, our goal is to offer a great experience. We advertise great food, service, comfortable accommodations, value and cutting-edge technology. Our competitive edge also requires us to work harder because it sets us apart from the "home" experience. Another resource that we can provide our guests is a subtle reminder that hotels are primarily public places and that they should exercise some caution. During staff training or daily meetings, remind bellman to tell guests to use the security latch when inside the room, or reminding them to keep their room number confidential. These are great ways to help keep your property safe.

Technology is a great tool to have but it still takes a human touch to maximize it. At least so far!

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Frank Wolfe

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    About HFTP

    Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Dubai. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. For more information about HFTP, email [email protected] or visit the HFTP website

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