Now is the time to find a hotel staff safety solution (even if it isn’t ours)

March 20, 2020

The changing cultural and hospitality landscape has spawned important new initiatives in employee and guest safety. Why, then are some hotel organizations and properties still holding out when it comes to the adoption of a safety button solution? Parminder Batra, CEO of TraknProtect, sheds some light on the issue in her latest blog: 

In the literally thousands of conversations I’ve had with customers, partners and industry executives since the company began, the question has inevitably been raised, “Why safety buttons?” It hardly seems believable now, but back in 2017 when we launched TraknProtect safety buttons, there was some skepticism that an added safety measure, even one as simple and effective as ours, was even needed. Didn’t hotels already have adequate security measures in place? If there was a problem, couldn’t an employee use a house or guest room phone, yell or simply run away and, after all, weren’t reports of sexual misconduct pretty rare? Obviously, a lot has changed since then. The formerly isolated high profile cases, such as the Dominic Strauss Khan incident, have now given way to almost daily reports from housekeepers, room service personnel and other customer-facing employees who, freed from the code of silence by #MeToo and a changed culture, have felt confident enough for their voices to be heard. The short passage of time has also furnished us with shocking and unequivocal research. In fact, 14% of all sexual assaults reported target hospitality professionals and 90% of female hotel employees have reported being sexually harassed in their workplace – higher than any other industry. We could go on. Perhaps most significantly of all, the major hotel brands themselves have recognized the need for widespread change in ensuring employee safety and, though the AHLA-led 5-Star Promise, have developed important initiatives and leadership that reflect their concerns over the personal safety of employees and guests alike.

Despite that progress, today I still find myself in the position of needing to make the case for a safety button solution and becoming an advocate, not just for TraknProtect, but for the industry itself – and I can tell you this: Even if our solution isn’t the one you ultimately select for your property, you do need a safety solution— and you need it today. From our position on the front lines, we have talked to hundreds of housekeepers who all mention how safety buttons boost their morale and make them feel empowered to know they can get help if they need it. Also, they don’t feel so alone working throughout the day by themselves. Fortunately, we’ve noticed many hoteliers taking the initiative to protect their employees, even ahead of state mandates or local laws. Others though, haven’t, even with the threat of fines, exposure to a host of liability issues or damage to their reputation. 

If the hesitation is puzzling to some, we’ve worked in hospitality long enough to understand the nature of running a hotel, or a network of hotels, and the pressures executives face with their time and resources. For that reason, we’ve established ongoing educational resources to help hoteliers better understand the nature of the risk and clarify any issues surrounding employee safety. This initiative includes pioneering and participating in HTNG’s Staff Alert Technology Workgroup that resulted in a comprehensive Staff Alert Device Buyer’s Guide that was released in cooperation with AHLA. Other resources include regular podcasts (where short informative programs can be downloaded and listened to at a convenient time) and interactive webinars, where we discuss the impact and reach of local laws to help better interpret the latest legislation. We also provide face-to-face opportunities to demo our purpose-built safety solution platform for hospitality, learn more and ask any questions about its potential application.  

The bottom line is this: The need to protect your hotel employees has never been greater than it is today, so if you’re still confused about staff safety button solutions and the positive impact they could make on your hotel’s safety culture, we’re here to help. Our mission as a company is to help build a safer hospitality environment, a safer industry and ultimately a safer world — so even if you choose another solution, we want to partner with you to provide the resources you need to make that critical step toward employee safety.