The topic of hotel security and how to keep employees safe while on the job is a growing concern for hoteliers. Managing a large, distributed workforce of frontline employees 24/7 already makes overseeing hotel operations a daunting task. Now, recent issues surrounding crisis communication and hotel worker safety amidst the pandemic have complicated and compounded the issue even further.
Ensuring the safety of frontline hospitality workers should be part of every hotel operations strategy. Fortunately, new trends in hotel tech and the hospitality industry have recently made it easier for hotels to secure the safety of their workers.
Here’s how to leverage the power of communication technology to help keep your hotel staff safe while they’re on the job.
Real-Time Messaging for Hotel Crisis Communication
Having a mobile, instant messaging tool can help hotels streamline their internal communications during a crisis situation. The right hotel tech combined with a solid hospitality crisis communication strategy in place can save your business from drowning in chaos should an emergency situation arise.
How Beekeeper Helped to Ensure Hotel Staff Safety During a Natural Disaster
When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts in Miami used Beekeeper’s employee app to communicate important updates to their entire team in real time.
With Beekeeper, the management team was able to provide storm updates, information regarding hotel closure, and share safety precautions with their entire hotel staff. They also made sure emergency contacts were up to date for all their employees. Having an operational communication platform in place significantly reduced the confusion and chaos caused by the storm.
Another hotel, 1 Hotels was also able to leverage Beekeeper during Hurricane Irma to maintain communication with their employees.
Hear Jason Brown, Director of People Operations at 1 Hotels explain how his team used Beekeeper to communicate with hotel employees during Hurricane Irma.
Have a Clear Evacuation Plan in Place to Prevent Confusion
In addition to having a plan, it’s essential that your entire hotel staff also knows and understands the plan. A digital workplace can help you get your team prepared for an emergency situation.
- Send confirmation campaigns with important safety procedures and information. Request a “read receipt” so you’ll know which people have actually reviewed the information, and follow up with the ones who haven’t.
- Hold regular fire drills and safety training for hotel staff, so they’re mentally prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Assign clear roles and responsibilities. Make sure each staff member understands what their job is during an emergency. If your hotel staff doesn’t know what to do, they could start to panic.
- Use an employee app such as Beekeeper to send important safety resources to your team in the event of an evacuation
- If a natural disaster occurs, use Beekeeper to send confirmation campaigns to ensure your staff is safe and accounted for.
Implement Panic Buttons
Services like React Mobile are a great option. They are a leading hotel panic button platform. If a hotel worker is feeling threatened or experiencing a medical emergency, they simply press a panic button and a distress call is sent out, along with location information. This way, the hotel can send help to the person immediately.
Triple-Check Visitor Credentials
Hotels often work with a number of outside vendors for weddings, conferences, and special events.
In a business where everyone is coming and going and there’s a never ending sea of new faces, it’s vital to make sure that people are who they say they are.
Make sure your staff always double and triple checks the credentials of outside workers who show up on-site to work an event. This precaution can help prevent random people from gaining access to restricted areas of the hotel, and help keep your employees safe.
Along with preparing for emergency and crisis situations, hotels should also be aware of the everyday challenges to hotel worker safety. Studies have shown that personal injury also threatens worker safety.
High Injury Rates Among Housekeepers Is a Growing Problem for Hotels
According to an article in HospitalityNet,
at an annual injury rate of 7.9%, housekeepers experience one of the highest on-the-job injury rates in the hospitality industry.
A study that included 941 Las Vegas hotel room cleaners established that
75% of respondents experienced work-related pain during a one-year time period.
More than half of them used sick or vacation time due to their injuries and only a third of them reported this pain to management.
Hotel workers like housekeepers and maintenance workers have very labor intensive jobs. These workers frequently suffer from falls, slips, sprains, respiratory issues, and occupational stress.
Tips to Reduce Common Injuries for Housekeepers
Some general safety tips around cleaning include:
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Avoid stretching and bending at the same time to reduce the risk of pulling a muscle
- Carry weight in the midriff area when pushing carts or carrying heavy objects
- Report injuries right away. Delaying treatment could lead to chronic problems later on
- Choose long-handled tools for vacuuming, mopping, and wiping to maintain a neutral posture
- Alternate arms when wiping and cleaning to avoid overusing the muscles on one side of the body
More Ways to Help Protect Hospitality Workers
Does your hotel’s tech stack address the issue of worker safety? If not, you may want to consider updating your technology.
Here are some additional tips to help hoteliers protect their frontline workers.
Train Staff on How to Properly Use Equipment
Vacuums, kitchen appliances, ladders, oh my! Maintaining a hotel requires an arsenal of equipment. Make sure that staff is properly trained on how to use the equipment they’ll be working with to help them avoid injury.
Hotel staff should also be able to spot faulty equipment, and a reporting system should be in place to have broken or damaged items replaced as soon as possible.
Use a Mobile Operational Communication Platform
Being able to relay important updates to your hotel team in real-time is a vital component of a sound safety strategy. Hotel staff should be able to immediately notify each other about potential safety issues, and management should have a way to communicate company-wide updates to their frontline employees.
A mobile, real-time communication tool can also help hotels share important safety-related training materials. For example, with Beekeeper’s new Documents feature, hotels could create a secure, virtual library of resources for their frontline teams that they could access right from their own mobile devices.
With proper planning, access to the right resources, and a mobile, real-time communication channel, hotels can significantly improve safety conditions for their staff. A happy, healthy workforce takes fewer sick days, is more productive, and delivers a superior guest experience to your customers.
Is it time to upgrade your hotel’s tech stack?