If you are involved in the hospitality business, then you know there are a lot of people who may come and go from your establishment at any given time. What does this mean in terms of surveillance? It means that there are ample opportunities for theft, vandalism, and other crimes to take place regardless of staff being present.
When it comes to hotels, the opportunities are even greater. Why? Because you are referring to a type of business that essentially never closes. Not to mention that most hotels tend to also have restaurants, bars or lounges, and miscellaneous shops as potential hazards. In the light of day, there is a lot of activity going on, but at night, as individuals head to rest, the doors are open, but the place is quiet.
And every single moment is the perfect opportunity for crime to happen.
To protect guests and their bottom line, hotels everywhere need to have a robust surveillance system in place. Let’s take a deeper look at why this need should be fulfilled.
Large Numbers of People
Anywhere you have a large number of people, you need to have security. For hotels, there are always guests coming and going all hours of the day and night. Not only do you need to prevent crime from occurring in order to protect the business, but hotels also have an implied duty to protect their guests.
It takes one occurrence – one – to cause incredible damage to a hotel’s reputation. For instance, an individual becoming the victim of a violent crime due to a lack of adequate security can deter others from choosing to stay at your hotel. Or, a guest who falls and claims negligence can lead to a large financial hit due to fraudulent insurance claims and/or lawsuits. Without video proof, the hotel does not have much to prove otherwise.
Many hotels have multiple areas. From the front desk to housekeeping and the restaurant to the lounge, there are quite a few places in which employees can take advantage of a hotel – and end up hurting the hotel. This can be a crime that can impact the bottom line immediately or an on-going crime that can lead to many future negative future consequences.
Check out these potential scenarios:
- Housekeeping has access to private rooms with many personal – and valuable – items that are left unattended. They have this access each and every day. Sure, taking something large would be too noticeable. But, how often do your housekeeping employees take things that may be small and unnoticeable – at least initially?
- The front desk crew is responsible for checking guests in and out of rooms. They know just which rooms are available. Who’s to say these employees are not making it look like they are checking in a guest (a friend or relative?) and then not following through with the financial transaction. The guest gets a free spot to sleep.
- What if the bartender or lounge staff begin overcharging for drinks and keeping the profit? Or, voiding transactions and pocketing the cash payment.
- There are other employees responsible for the unseen, back-end work. These individuals are usually part of the corporate or accounting department responsible for making sure all is running smoothly. So, what if there is an employee-run embezzlement scheme going on? Unnoticed for too long, this can leave the hotel in the red.
Privacy Can Invite More Crime
Believe it or not, following privacy laws is crucial for hotels, but it can also lead to the welcoming of more crime. There are strict federal laws about installing surveillance cameras in places of privacy – such as hotel rooms.
This means that crimes can take place inside the rooms without being recorded. If someone is looking for a place to perform acts, such as human trafficking, gambling, or a home-base for a crime spree, hotel rooms can offer that privacy.
For these reasons, installing cameras where they are legal can aid in reducing the crime that takes place behind closed doors. For instance, adding a surveillance system to all entry/exit areas, public hallways, stairwells, and more can deter this activity from taking place on your grounds.
Nooks and Crannies
Hotels are big. In fact, beyond their many guest rooms, there are quite a few other areas that are sort of behind the scenes. And, there are many access points. This means that it is rather easy for someone with ill intentions to gain access and potentially cause harm.
To reduce this chance and combat any negative outcomes, it is important for all areas of hotels to be monitored with a robust security system. They can’t simply view main hallways or lobbies, but should also be able to monitor all the twists, turns, and such that you will find.
Every single door, stairwell, and other public areas should be monitored to maintain the utmost security. Those who do not belong should be able to be noticed and removed immediately.
Hotels don’t just have to worry about the security of the hotel itself. A parking lot is an important place for security cameras to monitor, too. Think about it – you often have out-of-town guests that are arriving, tired from their travels, and less likely to pick up on something suspicious. Or, you have guests who are not familiar with their surroundings and make it to the car only to sit for a bit and determine their route on a map or GPS. Either way, these guests are prime targets.
It is also important to mention that many travelers are known to leave valuables in their cars, regardless of warnings or signs posted. Thieves know this – and, without the visibility of security cameras, will jump to take advantage of the situation.
All businesses should invest in a surveillance system for security purposes. But, when it comes to hotels, the average system will not get the job done effectively. Between the high volume of vulnerable guests, the bustling activity, and the widespread size of the hotel itself, crime can be a very common occurrence.
Investing in a robust hospitality surveillance system can work to halt this unwanted activity before it even begins.