For small to mid-sized hotel and motel operators, the personal safety of employees is a major concern. Because of their size, these facilities have at best a very limited security staff, which increases the challenges of keeping employees safe as they move from room to room and interact with strangers.
Surveys of hotel workers in major cities reflect a lot of unease regarding instances of confronting nude guests or aggressive sexual harassment. While these incidents are fortunately not that common, workers still must deal with the constant feeling of potential risk. Even one incident at a hotel or motel is too many, and that has driven the deployment of personal alert systems, also known as “panic buttons,” in the lodging industry.
These personal alert systems send a signal that allows the facility security staff or manager to respond immediately, limiting the harm that an assailant might do. Better quality systems pair a loud alarm noise with the notification to provide dual defenses against an attack.
Even though many hotel workers – such as those individuals who visit guest rooms to clean them – have mobile phones, they may not be able to access those phones during an emergency. That highlights the advantage of a panic button-type alert system: that it can be triggered easily during most any circumstances.
While employee safety is the primary reason for implementing a push-button alert system, there are other good reasons as well. A system like this provides a sense of security for those employees who interact frequently with guests or other visitors, since the system helps to deter violent incidents, reducing injuries and the costs associated with the incidents.
Finally, it ensures that the facility is in compliance with state and local ordinances, which increasingly are moving toward mandating personal security devices. Additionally, hospitality companies outside of mandated areas are providing Push Button Alert Systems to add another layer of security for their most at risk staff.
Three key factors
As small to mid-sized lodging operators consider these personal alert systems, there are a few points to keep in mind:
- Gauging the right solution for your property. Alert systems range from simple to complex. Some systems basically just sound an alarm, alerting anyone in the area and hopefully scaring off an assailant because of the noise. Others involve complex connections to the property’s communication system, while still others operate independently of any existing computer or phone system. Evaluate the systems based on employee safety, costs, ease of implementation, and compliance needs in light of local or state regulations.
- Making sure it will work. Any alert system needs reliable connectivity to do its job. The layouts and building materials of some hotel and motel properties could lead to signal dead zones. Be sure that whoever deploys your alert system takes these factors into account and tests the system thoroughly.
- Planning thorough training. Ideally, the system you choose will be easy to learn. But regardless of that, make sure that your employees know how to use it appropriately, and under what circumstances to use it. Also, be sure that whoever is in charge of security knows the system and knows the actions to take in the event that an employee sounds an alarm.
The Sprint solution
Sprint offers a push button personal alert system that is designed to accurately report and monitor the location of any employee, anywhere on the hotel or motel property.
The Sprint Push Button Alert System delivers maximum coverage by deploying Bluetooth beacons and cellular gateways throughout the hotel or motel property. Then each employee gets a small device, about half the size of a deck of cards, to wear on a lanyard or clip onto their clothing.
When an employee who feels endangered triggers the alarm, the system provides a precise location, sending emails and text alerts to designated individuals. The responder gets a visual representation via a property floor plan of the floor and room location of the alert. If the employee is on the move – perhaps running from danger – the location is updated every 10 seconds.
The Push Button Alert System uses long-lasting battery-powered beacons that can be installed without any need for drilling or wiring work. The system operates independently, without having to interface with any existing Ethernet or Wi-Fi systems in the hotel or motel. It also enables detailed emergency response documentation for reporting and compliance purposes.
A typical installation, for a property with up to 300 rooms, can be done in one day. Beacons are placed in individual rooms and other locations, such as near elevators or in common areas, while the cellular gateways are installed on each floor. Even if a property is in a location with spotty cellular coverage, the Push Button Alert System can maintain full reliability. The individual Panic Buttons use long-range radio technology that is ideal for this type of deployment, operating effectively throughout the property.
For good reason, more and more cities and states are mandating personal alert systems such as this for hospitality employees. But even in the absence of a mandate, it is the smart thing for hotel and motel owners to outfit their staffs with panic buttons that can ensure their safety and enhance their sense of security as they go about their daily work.