In peak season or at weekends, hotels can be fully booked and as such health and safety standards can slip. However, Graham Greaves, director of health and safety at Ellis Whittam explains that actions, such as allocating ground floor rooms to single women occupants, can mean that best practice is overlooked and standards compromised resulting in a real long-term headache for the hotelier. Here Graham highlights the potential pitfalls and looks at what hoteliers can do to minimise risk and the consequences if these are ignored.
Anyone in the hospitality business will put the safety and welfare of their guests at the top of their priorities. When your hotel is packed, all your staff are run off their feet and everyone wants some of your time, do your normal standards go out of the window? Health and safety should be paramount, however busy you are – the worst time for anything to go wrong is when you are already at capacity! So, let’s have a look at a few simple, sensible and pragmatic things you should be doing to make sure your guests have a great time and don’t end up in a hospital bed instead of one of yours.
Personal safety for lone female guests can be a real issue, and looking after them properly starts from Reception. Make sure your receptionist doesn’t tell guests their room numbers out loud, or allows others checking in to see room numbers on keys or key cards etc. Giving lone females an upper floor room is a simple way of reducing vulnerability. Also, some lone female travellers feel more comfortable if they have room service meals, rather than sitting alone in a restaurant – offering to waive the room service charge can be much appreciated.
At peak times, you may be obliged to use more than one taxi provider – make sure you are happy with recommending them, and that they are reputable – your local authority will maintain a list of licensed firms. And while we are looking at travel, when your car park’s full, are users parking in unsafe areas, and creating hazards to both drivers and pedestrians? Do you have any alternative parking areas you can use, or recommend? If guests decide to travel by public transport, do you provide timetables and assistance, so they don’t have to wait for long periods at bus stops and stations in unfamiliar areas? Are there any areas where it’s not really safe for people to walk after dark? These issues may sound dramatic, but remember your guests don’t know the local area, and whilst it may not be downtown Detroit, there are ‘dodgy’ areas in every city where care should be taken.
In summary, sensible and simple precautions will help to keep your guests safe and happy – and because they’ve had a great time, they’ll want to be your guests again. Good health and safety is always good for business.