Maintaining properties at a high level with a strong emphasis on guest safety is critical to the success of every hospitality organization. Prioritizing guest safety and maintenance requires multifaceted plans that include integrated processes for the work to be done, staff training, and appropriate education for guests.
Hospitality leaders understand that guest safety is always important. However, maintenance and building updates provide a special opportunity to safeguard guests while recognizing the operation’s risk management concerns. Guests want to feel safe and sound with their choice of a lodging or food service alternative, and it’s important to convey and maintain that sense of stability for all guests all the time – even when maintenance requirements present special challenges.
Some important tips for controlling guest safety during times of maintenance are:
- Educate your guests. For example, guests visiting a hotel may not know about current improvements that are underway. Information can be provided during check-in, and in-guest room “reminder” cards and/or letters from the General Manager can also be helpful. Restaurants that must temporarily close during normal service hours can alert frequent guests with menu inserts or signage about the forthcoming schedule changes so they will not be inconvenienced.
- Regulate access to areas under construction. Electronic key card systems can help seal off areas that are being worked on or restricted. Some maintenance and/or renovation projects including painting and tile work can be done at night when there are fewer guests in affected areas.
- Improve security measures. Hotel and resort properties are among those that already have security systems in place, but maintenance procedures might generate additional monitoring concerns. Make sure your security staff is appropriately manned.
- Increase staff training. Security measures can be designed and implemented, but proper enforcement requires that staff are aware of and know what must be done at all times. Staff members must know how to react in every situation including when they notice unusual behavior or non-compliance with safety requirements by guests or others.
- Maintain quiet hours. It’s important to consider when guests will be sleeping in hotels, and it is unlikely that restaurant meals can be enjoyed when there are loud noises and/or renovation dust. A quiet and peaceful atmosphere for guests shows them that they’re respected even though some of the property may be under maintenance.
- Keep demonstrating superb customer service. Maintenance may limit access to specific areas of the property and may make guests feel like they are not receiving the total experience they are paying for in their room and/or meal charges. Exemplary guest service that goes above and beyond expectations will help alleviate these feelings.
- Formal safety plans may be needed during large scale maintenance projects. For example: What are safety protocols for contractors’ personnel? What break/meal and restroom facilities will they use? What are material and equipment delivery provisions? What and where will traffic and other temporary barriers be placed?
Unfortunately, safety and security measures are sometimes not implemented until after an undesirable incident has occurred. The best hospitality leaders know that it is far better to proactively consider potential safety issues, develop tactics to minimize their occurrence, and then incorporate these procedures into “the way things are done” at the hospitality property.