Author Archives: master

Bed Bug Prevention – 10 Helpful Tips

Summer is traditionally the time of year when bed bugs peak in activity. The causes are not well studied and could be related to weather or more frequent travel. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to review facility programs for bed bug management and prevention before the summer ends. Below are 10 tips that hoteliers can use in the fight against bed bugs.

1. Educate housekeeping staff regarding the signs of bed bugs.bed bugs
They are most likely to encounter the early warning signs of bed bugs. The signs include the appearance of the different stages of bed bugs, including their fecal material or blood spots. The quicker a bed bug introduction is identified, the easier it is to control and limit the spread.

2. Front desk staff may be the first to receive a complaint about bed bugs.
They too must know how to properly identify bed bugs. Bed bugs can be confused with other insects including ticks. Initial confirmation of identification is important in responding to hotel guests’ concerns. If the problem is indeed bed bugs, the hotel must have a policy on the steps to take in dealing with the issue. This can include moving the guest to a different room as well as addressing any worries the guest may have regarding the handling of their suitcases and other personal items from the room. At the minimum, guests should be offered a room in another section of the hotel, away from their original room.

3. Use mattress encasements.
Mattress covers designed to encase bed bugs can help staff recognize the early signs of an infestation. Because these encasements are designed to reduce the potential bed bug harborages found on mattresses they can make it easier for staff to find bed bugs.

4. Consider the impact of building design and furnishings during new hotel constructions or renovations.
Bed bugs like cracks and crevices. They also prefer materials like wood. The furnishings that hoteliers use can be more or less favorable to bed bug survival. This is especially important in furnishings used around the bed. A large headboard, which is difficult to remove and inspect, can benefit bed bugs establishing in a guest room. Headboards that extend the length of two beds or extend almost to the ceiling are examples of poor design. Furnishing and room designs that minimize cracks allow for easier access for inspection and are better choices.

5. Retain samples of insects that staff members cannot identify for a pest management company.
Not only can bed bugs be confused with other insects, there are multiple species of bed bugs. Some are associated with bats and birds and may take a totally different control approach than the common bed bug.

Click here to read entire article at Lodging Magazine

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Filed under Bed Bugs, Claims, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping

Massive Workers’ Compensation-Referral Scheme

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed felony fraud charges against 10 attorneys and 6 others Monday in what prosecutors say is a massive workers’ compensation-referral scheme with more than 33,000 patients and an estimated $300 million-plus in insurance payouts received.workers' comp scheme law jail

DA Tony Rackauckas said the charges were the start of an investigation by his office and the California Department of Insurance, which scrutinizes the role medical providers played in an alleged fraud ring that targeted mostly Spanish-speaking communities.

“This type of fraud factory drives up the prices of workers’ compensation insurance and drives businesses out of California,” Rackauckas said Monday, June 5.

Prosecutors allege that at the center of the ring were businesses run by Carlos Arguello III, 35, of Tustin and Edgar Gonzalez, 50, of Anaheim.

In 2005, Arguello formed an advertising company, Centro Legal Internacional, which Rackauckas accused of setting up illegal contracts with 20 to 30 attorneys who focused on workers’ compensation and personal injury.

The attorneys allegedly agreed to contract with companies owned by Arguello and Gonzalez, in return for employees, known as cappers, delivering the attorneys a minimum number of clients per month.

Attorneys are allowed to advertise, the district attorney explained, but the use of cappers to directly recruit for lawyers or medical providers is against the law.

Prosecutors allege that the cappers distributed a variety of fliers and business cards in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods and at swap meets offering “free consultations” for those who believed they had suffered workplace injuries.

Read entire article: OC Register

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Filed under Crime, Workers' Compensation

California considering hotel housekeeper regulation

California’s state-run OSHA program has proposed a standard to prevent musculoskeletal injuries among hotel housekeepers. Read on to find out more about the effort and how long it’s been on the drawing board.

California osha housekeeping injury prevention

For years, advocates for hotel housekeepers have been pushing for a regulation to protect these workers, who are exposed to significant risks on the job. In January 2012, the union UNITE HERE filed a petition with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) requesting the adoption of a standard to address a variety of hazards, including limiting the square footage that can be assigned to a worker during an eight-hour shift.

Read entire article at Safety.BLR

 

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Injuries, OSHA, Risk Management, Workers' Compensation

Tech experts clarify ins and outs of door lock security

Hotel guestroom door locks and keycard systems that are connected to the internet pose security risks, technology experts say, but there’s also some widespread misconception about the nature of those risks.

hotel door key lock

The physical and digital security of hotel guestroom door locks has been a hot topic in the news lately, with the sometimes-sensationalized story of a hacker who extracted a ransom for a hotel’s keycard system.

For some clarity on the issue, Hotel News Now reached out to tech experts who explained what can and can’t happen with electronic door locks, what is vulnerable and how hoteliers can protect their properties and their guests from hackers.

Improved security
Guestroom door locks were traditionally treated as a piece of equipment maintained by a maintenance/building facilities engineer, said Armand Rabinowitz, senior director of strategy and workgroups at Hotel Technology Next Generation. This employee didn’t tend to be well-versed in technology unless they happened to be so for another reason, he said.

“That has changed as the position has become increasingly more technical,” he said. “Ten years ago, electronic locks didn’t need to be, nor were (they) connected to the internet.”

Locks were connected to an encoder or local serial connection, he said, which is a basic protocol that doesn’t travel across internet-connected devices. The physical protocol became outdated as hotels moved to IP-based connections, he said, which requires hoteliers to be careful in how they implement the system.

Everything at Greenwood Hospitality’s properties is on a guarded back-office, closed network, said Paul Wood, VP of revenue generation. The network is scanned for malware and viruses, he said. Locks are sequenced with encoders, he said, and this is a safe process as long as hotels have the system set up correctly.

The code connects the guest key with the lock, he said. Once it hits checkout time, the sequence says it’s time, and the keycard access shuts off.

“From a safety factor/feature perspective, it’s been this way more than 20 years,” he said. “The industry has it down pat.”

Systems today have a long history in the industry, Rabinowitz said, and they’re widely adopted in the world. In most cases, the communication protocols between online door locks are so limited that to transmit a code that would constitute a virus is challenging, if not impossible, he said.

“There would have to be a physical compromise to the point of replacing parts, rendering it unusual by the existing system,” he said.

Training and policies
Hotel managers should treat a door lock system like any other valuable IT asset, Rabinowitz said. That means ensuring all implementation security standards have been put in place for both physical and remote access, he said. There also should be an update process to ensure the system is running on the latest software, he said, and antivirus and security software must be installed on all machines that touch or run any of the lock system-based software.

Click here to read more about Hotel News Now Tech Impact Report Article

 

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Hotel Security, Liability, Risk Management, Technology, Theft

Husband and wife cheated workers’ compensation

Tip: This is why it is important for hotels to request certificate of insurance from their vendors. 

 

Indicted for hiding the existence of 800 hotel workerslaw, justice

Hyok “Steven” Kwon and his wife, Woo Hui “Stephanie” Kwon, were sentenced to prison yesterday (March 15) for concocting and carrying out a complicated scheme to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums and employment taxes for their janitorial company, Irvine-based Good Neighbor Services. He was sentenced to eight years in custody and she got four years and eight months. Each has been ordered to pay $5 million restitution to insurance carriers and the California Employment Development Department.

They were indicted in December for hiding the existence of 800 hotel workers and thereby evading personnel-related taxes. At the time of the indictment, their caper was considered the largest insurance premium fraud in San Diego history.

Among the hotels serviced by the company were the Hotel Del Coronado, Grand Del Mar, La Costa Resort & Spa, Loews Coronado, and L’Auberge Del Mar.

See article at SanDiegoReader.com

 

 

 

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Injuries, Management And Ownership, Workers' Compensation

How to Prepare for Potential Threats to Security

Daniel Johnson, CHA, serves as a hotel analyst for Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and is vice president of operations for Argeo Hospitality. Here, he sits down with LODGING to answer one of the most pressing issues he believes hoteliers face.

hotel security

In light of recent security issues, as a hotel outside the U.S., what should we be considering in our day-to-day operations?

There have been numerous incidents in the U.S. and abroad and, in October, a celebrity had her room intruded upon by individuals dressed as police officers in Paris. Preparedness is not something that comes when there is a news story to scare you into a concern. It has to be an integral part of the operation from day one in an unending and enduring effort to remain vigilant. You have to have a plan. Period. It’s not a suggestion, it’s not a recommendation, it’s a requirement. When it comes to your hotel, devise a plan for the possibilities you face and tailor reactions for your specific operation. First, remember that you can plan but you can’t plan for every eventuality. You can, however, train, train, train. Once your plan is in place, train your staff on it, then train again, then analyze the results, then train again. Having a third party review your plan is never a bad idea.

Second, know your hotel’s exterior like the back of your hand. In order to gain access, individuals have to cross your grounds, parking lot, delivery points, or some other means of entry. What are your strengths and weakness? How is the lighting? Is there anything that needs to be addressed with security or surveillance?

Third, encourage your staff to meet and greet. Every guest, every visitor, every vendor should be greeted with a smile and a question, “May I help you?” These are opportunities to wow your guests that also double as a chance to pay attention to the comings and goings within the building.

 

See complete article from Lodging Magazine

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Hotel Security, Risk Management

Pooling Responsibilities

Almost everyone going on holiday to a warm climate will, at some point, end up in a swimming pool. But the ‘do not dive’ signs and depth warnings don’t always have the desired effect, added to which are huge variations in safety laws. Robin Gauldie assesses the dangers lurking in the depthshotel pool,underwater swimming, pool safety

Clearly, there are risks associated with swimming or even paddling on beaches where strong currents, tides and freak waves can take their toll, as can irresponsible use of powered beach toys like personal watercraft, banana boats and water skis (see ITIJ 193, February 2017, The fast and the furious … and the fatal). Yet swimming pools at resort hotels and holiday villas may ultimately be riskier than beaches for vacationers and their insurers. Travelers from countries such as Australia and the UK, where safety standards are rigorous, need to be made aware that such standards are not universal.
“As Australia has such strict water safety rules, some people assume swimming areas are safe everywhere in the world,” comments Richard Warburton, chief operating officer of 1Cover Travel Insurance, an Australian insurer. “The truth is, many popular overseas destinations, such as Thailand and Bali, just don’t have the same safety protocols in place, and holidaymakers may be at greater risk when swimming. For example, pool gates are virtually non-existent in many Asian and European destinations.”

Resort pools seem to provoke risky behaviour in a significant number of holidaymakers too. Each holiday season brings a crop of media stories covering accidents – sometimes fatal – involving tourists jumping into hotel pools from balconies, or diving into shallow pools. “Some people, particularly young adult males, take risks they wouldn’t normally take if they were at home,” says Warburton. “They don’t think of consequences.” There is an ongoing need to make insureds aware that travel insurance has its limits, he adds.

In Europe particularly, the craze known as ‘balconing’ is often a result of an alcohol-fuelled night out giving holidaymakers a sense of invincibility. Warburton, though, warns: “One of the most common misconceptions people have about travel insurance is in relation to alcohol consumption. If an accident happens and a person is under the influence, they may not be able to successfully make a claim, depending on the circumstances. This is why we encourage customers to thoroughly read all the terms and conditions of their policy. We strive to be as transparent as we can, educating customers about all facets of the policies. We want to ensure people fully understand what their policy covers them for, so they can make properly informed decisions.”

According to Megan Freedman, executive director of the US Travel Insurance Association, insurers in the US would be unlikely to turn down claims for the costs of medical treatment or assistance arising from such accidents on the sole grounds of recklessness. “Claims would not be excluded based on irresponsible behavior. However, a claim may be denied if the cause was use of alcohol or drugs, intentional self-infliction of harm or an illegal act,” she says. Some policies in the UK, by contrast, specifically exclude claims resulting from falls or jumps from balconies, as accidents and subsequently expensive medical claims resulting from such activities have arisen so often.

Preventing tragedies
Reckless teenagers, however hair-raising their escapades, are not the only source of claims arising from pool accidents. Even in destinations that are famed for their beaches and long coastlines, such as Greece or the Algarve, almost all drownings of young children occur in swimming pools, according to the European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA). In Australia, too, tourist-related swimming pool deaths involving very young children continue to be of concern, according to the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC). The organisation has called on the tourism industry to implement water safety and risk management plans in resorts and hotels, including signage, effective barriers and education programs.
In many destinations, most such drownings occur in pools at private residences, but a significant number happen in the pools of resort hotels or holiday villas, as is the case with the much more numerous non-fatal accidents that take place in and around swimming pools each holiday season. The ECSA has estimated that for every child fatality, there may be as many as 140 near-drownings resulting in hospital admissions.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2kX2s9b

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Injuries, Pool And Spa, Risk Management

High Wind Warning in Southwestern California

PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM TO BRING DAMAGING HIGH WINDS TO SOCAL…

A strong Pacific storm system will move across Southern California today through Saturday. Winds will increase and become very strong towards midday. The strongest winds and biggest potential for damaging wind gusts between 2 PM and Midnight. More info on the storm from Google Alert

Does your hotel have an emergency response plan in place? Does your staff know how to respond to severe weather emergencies? This short video will cover proper steps to prepare your staff on how to respond to these type of emergencies.

Petra, Severe Weather, Hotels, california

 

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Filed under Business Interruption Insurance, Claims, Flood Insurance, Hotel Industry, Hotel Restaurant, Insurance, Liability, Risk Management, Severe Weather

Lawsuit Alert-Hotels Renting to Minors

alert

Friday, January 13, 2017

In recent days, CH&LA and AAHOA members in California have been receiving demand letters for refusing to rent to unaccompanied minors. The person at the center of these claims (Jonathan Asselin-Normand) is continuing his long-running campaign against California hoteliers.

This time the complainant seems to be targeting properties through third party online booking sites. In most cases, a demand letter is accompanied by a draft lawsuit. Please be on the lookout for mail or an email from this person.

Both the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit blanket policies denying accommodations to people solely because they are unaccompanied minors. Violations can result in monetary damages and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

Click HERE to read CH&LA’s alert.

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership

Keeping Your Employees Safe and Productive

Retaining talent is a universal business concern. It is especially important in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has the highest workforce turnover rate among private sector industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.(1)

When employees become injured or seriously ill as a result of their job it can affect temporary or long-term staffing in the workplace. For reference, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the hospitality and leisure industry experienced over 90,000 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2013 – fully ten percent of all recorded private industry incidents that year.(2)

When employees get injured on the job, not only are they unable to perform their duties, but business operations and employee morale can also be negatively impacted.

Work Injury reporting

An important step hotel managers can take to prevent and control work-related injuries or illnesses is to create a culture of safety in the workplace. This goes beyond taking precautions to prevent injuries from occurring, but also knowing how to respond quickly and appropriately in the event someone gets injured or becomes ill. It involves ensuring that employees receive the appropriate care they need to get well and also having plans in place to facilitate the employee’s transition back to work.

More on the article: http://bit.ly/2jAZqLt

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Human Resources, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation