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John Welty

Those who don't have an Amazon Alexa or similar smart device in their homes likely know family or friends who do. These new smart speakers and their Google and Apple counterparts are quickly becoming a part of daily routines as many go to their smart speakers first to check the weather, set alarms or play their favorite songs. Now, hotels are adopting this and other new technologies to help guests stay connected through the technology they have become accustomed to at home. Although providing this new level of service can be a win-win for many hotel owners and operators, hotels who implement this new technology could be increasing their exposures to new risks. Read on...

Aaron Koppelberger

Is an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the guest list at your hotel? Currently, there is no federal mandate requiring hotels to have AEDs. However, a recent Harris Poll found that 69 percent of Americans believe hotels should have an AED installed. In the U.S., there are 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) each year, and 90 percent of out-of-hospital SCA events are fatal. AEDs, however, greatly improve a person's chance of survival. This article explains the need for AEDs and includes steps for implementing an AED program at your property. It could help you earn more business and more importantly, potentially save a life. Read on...

Kurt Meister

The unpredictability of Mother Nature and extensive havoc she can wreak is one of the most universally acknowledged threats to people and businesses, including hotels. The best defense against any foreseeable weather emergency is a proactive plan. Both literally and figuratively, when the clouds roll in, will your hotel be able to withstand the storm, as well as the possible damage it leaves behind? Have the proper steps been taken to keep that damage to a minimum, and if not, do you know how to get started? This article will address preparing your hotel for the worst case scenario. Read on...

John Welty

It’s engrained into our minds at a very early age: call 911 in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, for many of us, our emergency know-how ends there. For hotel staff, emergency preparedness skills can not only save the lives of guests or fellow employees, those skills can also help to prevent injuries, disable hazards, maintain operations and protect property. Though these events occur without warning, that doesn’t necessarily mean hotel owners and their staff have to face these situations unprepared. In this article, we discuss what hotel owners can do to prepare staff to better handle emergencies. Read on...

Kurt Meister

The events of the last 12 months – from the Las Vegas massacre to large-scale point-of-sale (POS) attacks to the #MeToo movement – have dramatically changed the risk landscape for hotels. Industry leaders are increasing guest-staff interaction, revamping longstanding “do not disturb” policies, ramping up to fight cyberattacks and phishing, bolstering employee safety training, and even providing panic buttons to housekeepers to prevent sexual assault. We’ll take a deep dive into three key risk areas – guest security, data security and employee safety – and identify interventions that all hotel owners and operators should make during these changing times. Read on...

Tiffany Couch

With more than 20 years of experience in accounting, forensic accountant Tiffany Couch, provides information on the most common fraud schemes perpetrated by hotel employees. Although no one sets out to hire dishonest workers, the fact is all businesses lose 5 percent of their annual revenue to fraud. Worse, it takes an average of 16 months before fraud is discovered, by which time the perpetrator(s) have often stolen thousands in cash and product. This article examines fraud in hotels – including specific examples that can happen in every department– and practical suggestions on how to detect, deter and prevent fraudulent activity. Read on...

John Welty

The hurricane season of 2017 brought with it destruction of near-Apocalyptic proportions. The Southeastern states, Texas and the Caribbean were hammered relentlessly with catastrophic winds and disastrous flooding. Like many businesses affected in the region, hotels and resorts are still working to recover from the damage and the right partnerships with insurers are helping many properties get back in business as they rebound from one of the most destructive storm seasons on record. In this article, we look at the 2017 hurricane season, its effect on the hotel industry and how the right insurance partner is essential to business continuation planning. Read on...

Kurt Meister

Hotels are becoming increasingly tech friendly, offering a range of value-added services such as smartphone check-ins, text message reservation confirmations, smartphone key cards and public wifi - just to name a few conveniences aimed at guest satisfaction. Simultaneously, hotels are also increasingly vulnerable to data theft. From POS terminals to guest apps, hotels collect and retain a great deal of guest data that is attractive to hackers. By understanding the risks and creating an appropriate response plan, hotel operators will position themselves to address those risks as well as cope with the fallout of a data breach should it happen. Read on...

John Welty

Not only did it shock the world, but last summer's massacre in Las Vegas served as a major wake up call to the hotel industry. In the months since the tragedy, we've seen major hotel chains take a renewed stance on security. In this article, we talk about the new reality for hoteliers in terms of security and the steps they can take to keep their hotels safe for employees and customers, as well as maintain a profitable business. Insurance can play a key role here as the underwriting process and regular risk control checks can uncover risk exposures related to security - exposures that can be mitigated. Read on...

Richard Hudak

On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured. Instead of assigning blame for the shooting incident, more discussion should focus upon the value of 360 degree of protection and the layers of security the Mandalay Bay resort provided which altered the shooter's behavior, and minimized how much more destruction he could have unleashed. The impact of this tragedy is that although security can alter criminal behavior, even outstanding security measures, may not be able to prevent it. Read on...

Jason Porter

Hotel facilities face a multitude of unique risks not always present in other industries. That unique set of risks creates an ever-changing demand to firm up your business operations and remain vigilant in your security and emergency response plans. With the rise of new threats constantly evolving, one of the most effective ways to protect your guests, employees, hotel operations and your facilities to is conduct a thorough risk assessment. After all, it's impossible to know the threats and vulnerabilities that affect your safety and security if you don't reasonably identify them in the first place. Read on...

Marc Glasser

This article addresses general and hotel specific business continuity management program basics including senior management buy-in, program initiation, risk assessment, Business Impact Analysis (BIA), prevention, mitigation and recovery strategies as supported in a business continuity plan. The article also differentiates between a private sector business continuity program and public sector Continuity of Operations (COOP) program. Additionally, this article discusses other critical business continuity management program components such as awareness, training, testing, ongoing program management and the importance of employee and family preparedness. Read on...

Marc Glasser

Disruptive incidents can have a significant impact on organizations and communities. Effective measures can be instituted to prevent or mitigate the effects of disruptive incidents. With respect to hotel facilities and supporting offices that may be located on or off the main hotel property, disruptive incidents can directly affect employees and impact entire hotel operations at both the macro and micro level. Well-prepared employees, those who know how to implement on-site and family emergency plans, will be the first and continued responders who will help protect life, property, reputation, profit and facilitate a more rapid return to normal operations. Read on...

Marc Glasser

Facilitating effective domestic and international law enforcement liaison is advantageous to hotel patrons, security and the parent company. Having credible and timely law enforcement and security information can save lives, protect property and help to safeguard a hotel's reputation and "bottom line". The liaison facilitated information can help determine the most efficient and effective risk management implementation measures to prevent or reduce the impact of possible threats to specific hotel locations and the company at large. This can be achieved through minimal effort and cost correlating to a high return on effort and investment. Read on...

Patrick Labriola

The focus on motorcoach safety is rising exponentially, following recent high-profile accidents including a tragedy where 15 passengers were killed when a bus returning from an overnight trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut crashed, and the horrific fatal accident near Atlanta, Georgia involving the Bluffton University (Ohio) baseball team. In the Bluffton University case, the resulting lawsuit was not only against the motor carrier but also against the university, and cost more than $25 million. While the final cost to the Mohegan Sun Casino is not known yet, it is estimated the accident will cost the casino more than $100 million. Read on...

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.