hospitality security

When it comes to the amount of covid restrictions in place it looks like we’re going to have a better year this year. Hopefully that’s good news for the UK hospitality industry who will no doubt welcome the prospect of strong demand. As hotels and restaurants gear up for a potential increase in bookings, one important job on their priority list should be reviewing their security measures to make sure they remain appropriate.

Despite the pandemic, hotels have continued to face security challenges. Last October two neighbouring hotels in Dorset were burgled and guests’ possessions taken. North Wales was a very popular area for visitors last year, but unfortunately it was also a location that attracted the attention of criminals: at this hotel in Anglesey burglars were disturbed and fled empty-handed but this Denbighshire hotel was less fortunate and suffered a break-in last September. Right at the start of the pandemic, country hotels in the region were targeted by a gang seeking to process fraudulent refunds via the hotels’ card machines.

Where should you start with improving your building's security?

The best way to manage the various risks your premises faces is to undertake a security risk assessment. That process will help you clearly identify and understand the nature of the various threats, assess the likelihood of them materialising then put steps in place to reduce the risks.

The security assessment should obviously review the equipment and systems you already have as a starting point that you can build on to improve security in the most cost-effective way. Make sure that it’s all being properly maintained too; if you’re behind on your servicing schedule, arrange to have it checked so you can be confident it’s functioning correctly. And never overlook the basics either. Doors and windows that are in a poor state of repair or that have damaged locks will not be providing the protection they should.

What security improvements could you consider?

  • Improving your access control

There are many access control options that allow hospitality venues to tighten up the management of who can access where within the building(s). Most hotel guests for instance will be comfortable with the idea that a room key card could also be needed to gain access to other parts of the hotel: leisure facilities or meeting rooms for example. Access control systems also enable you to restrict access to areas of your property that aren’t open to guests or visitors too, making sure that only employees with the appropriate level of authorisation can enter them. You could also have sections of the property alarmed to alert you of any attempts by unauthorised individuals to try to get into restricted areas. Some access control systems can also be configured to facilitate a rapid building lockdown in the event of a security incident suddenly developing too.

There’s more information about the benefits of access control systems here.

  • Use CCTV to boost surveillance

CCTV systems offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to providing your building with the level of surveillance you want. There’s a balance to strike of course: CCTV should not feel intrusive to guests or employees. But at the same time, you need it to offer reassurance and a good degree of protection and act as a deterrent to criminals who might think twice if they know their actions are being recorded.

There are many options available when it comes to CCTV surveillance systems, and they can be tailored to accommodate your specific requirements. Considerations will include the visibility of cameras, operational issues like light levels and whether you want the images monitoring at all times. Your installation company should be able to offer you advice about protecting particularly vulnerable areas and how to comply with all privacy requirements too. You’ll find more details about the benefits of CCTV here.

  • Improve your external lighting

Consider what else can be done to make the outside of your property better protected too: you might be able to install, or increase, external lighting for instance. A greater level of visibility can be an additional deterrent and can also complement the use of CCTV cameras. Be mindful of the need to make sure that the installation of extra lighting doesn’t negatively impact neighbours or disturb guests by excessively illuminating visitor and guest facilities.

  • Train your employees

Make sure that all staff, including seasonal staff, are appropriately briefed about the role they must play in ensuring security. The level of responsibility will obviously vary depending on their position but make sure security is something that’s discussed with everyone, and they appreciate the need to be alert and report concerns if they spot anyone acting suspiciously. They might also need to know how to conduct an emergency evacuation and potentially even a building lockdown too. Make security something that you review with staff regularly – it’s easy for habits to form that could jeopardise it so gentle regular reminders are key.

  • Make guests aware of how they can play their part

Obviously you don’t want your guests and visitors to worry about security while they with you. But a quick friendly overview during check-in, or an explanatory card, can highlight points such as not using access cards, or holding doors open, to let other people through.

Could an integrated approach be beneficial?

It’s worth remembering that a lot of today’s security solutions can be integrated with existing and new security systems, and also with other systems like fire safety. If you’d like to have a chat about the options for improving security at your premises, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.