Category Archives: Hotel Security

California Proposes Hotel ‘Panic Button’ Bill To Protect Workers

Two California state lawmakers Wednesday introduced a bill that would require hotels to provide housekeepers with a “panic button” to prevent violent assaults and sexual harassment.

Assemblyhousekeeping cartman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, jointly introduced the so-called hotel maid “panic button” bill with Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward. If it gets passed, it would make California the first in the nation to have a statewide law requiring hotels to provide employees working alone in guest rooms with a panic button.

Also, the California bill would impose a three-year ban for any guest accused of violence or sexual harassment against an employee and keep a list of those accusations for five years.

 “Hotel workers often work alone, cleaning room after room — thus making them vulnerable to unwanted sexual advances and worse, victims of assault,” said Quirk. “I am proud to be working on this bill with Assemblymember Muratsuchi to not only raise awareness on the issue, but do more to create a safer working environment for hotel workers.”

The city of Seattle previously passed a ballot measure that requires employers to provide hotel housekeepers with panic buttons, and Chicago passed a similar measure last year. The city of Long Beach, California, considered a panic button ordinance too but rejected it late last year.

The proposed California legislation follows high-profile sexual assault and harassment charges lodged against high-profile people, including Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it is considering possible criminal charges against Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing or assaulting several women over the years. Weinstein, who has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex, also is under investigation by authorities in New York.

“As we’ve yet to see the bill in print, we wouldn’t have a position yet,” said Lynn Mohrfeld, a spokesperson for the California Hotel and Lodging Association, the industry’s state lobbying organization. “That said, the safety of guests and hotel employees is a top priority. While no industry is immune to dealing with sexual harassment as the headlines over recent weeks have shown, our industry has in place procedures and protocols for employees around reporting and prevention and these are continuously reviewed and updated.”

Click here to read entire article: CNBC

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Filed under Claims, Crime, Hotel Employees, Hotel Security, 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

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