Security & Safety
Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Regular Facility Maintenance Can Discourage Unwanted Guests
  • For many of us, the start of a New Year means another list of New Year's resolutions. We set goals and start over fresh, pledging to improve ourselves over the next 365 days. Many hoteliers will make their own New Year's resolutions, from "increase business" to "raise the value of our service." But one thing that can spoil the chances of your hotel achieving these goals is pests. During the winter months, pests can pose a threat as they seek refuge from the harsh outside weather. In fact, some mice will gnaw through holes as small as a dime in search of shelter, food and water. In a recent poll Orkin conducted, 85 percent of regular hotel-goers reported they might never return to an establishment if they saw or heard a mouse. In the summer months, rodent pressure can give way to fly and cockroach infestations, which are also very off-putting to hotel guests. Read on...

Peter Goldmann
  • Security & Safety
  • Hotel Security: Food & Beverage Fraud and Loss Prevention
  • Industry experts estimate that up to five cents of every dollar of revenue in a restaurant or bar is stolen. Of the five cents, it is estimated that four cents is stolen by employees. Pretax net income for successful restaurants and bars is generally between four and ten percent. Therefore, by merely preventing one-half of a business's fraud, pretax income would be significantly improved. For a hotel food and beverage operation generating, say, $1 million a year in revenue, that 5% or $50,000 represents a significant loss. For large chains, the math can easily produce some fairly staggering loss figures. In this article we'll explore the major reasons for this high rate of fraud loss including scams in hotel bars, and Front and Back of the House. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • How Important Is the 'Free' Shampoo and Towel Cart?
  • Hair on the pillow, lipstick on the glass, cockroach in the bathtub. They're three scenarios of which hotel urban legends can be made. But which one bothers guests most? To find the answer to this question, Orkin, Inc. fielded a poll to consumers and hotel insiders to learn their perceptions of housekeeping issues and uncovered some interesting attitudes in the process. When it comes to regular hotel users (i.e., those who spend at least one night a month in a hotel), they may not be the most forgiving lot if their bathroom is dirty: they rated bathroom cleanliness as a top concern, and when asked to select conditions that might cause them not to return to an establishment, more than nine out of every 10 (92 percent) chose "visibly unclean bathtub." Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • The Health Inspector's Visit
  • With Labor Day just around the corner, the housekeeping staff soon will scramble to clean rooms and managers will get ready to deal with overbooking woes. And while "walking" guests to another establishment may be a common practice during a busy season, hoteliers should ensure that they're walking guests due to overbooking - not because a regulator or inspector has forced a room closure as the result of a pest infestation. Though pest control is by no means the only area that regulatory inspectors will review, it is an important one. Inspectors will review pest control for the same reasons that hoteliers employ proactive pest management programs - pests can threaten public health, signify greater problems like poor sanitation and cause structural damage. Not to mention that a serious pest problem can lead to claims, additional expense or even a lawsuit from angry customers or negative media coverage. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Tell Pests the Pool Is Closed
  • Summertime and the living is easy by the pool - unless guests are forced to swat pests while they tan. As warm weather brings mosquitoes, flies and stinging pests out in numbers, hoteliers need to prepare themselves to fight back and make sure their guests' relaxing poolside experiences aren't ruined by buzzing insects. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Pest Management Starts with Hotel Layout, Design and Upkeep
  • Space utilization. Energy efficiency. Security. What's the most important issue when designing a new hotel or upgrading an older one? Surprisingly, pest management should be high on your checklist. With the huge amount of food and supplies entering a hotel on a daily basis, the hospitality environment provides a gourmet buffet for pests and aids in their dispersal and proliferation. Failure to stop pest infestation can result in lost profits, regulatory action, and negative news coverage that can damage a hotel's reputation virtually overnight. There are many ways to "harden" your hospitality plant and reduce the dependency on pesticides. Today's strategy incorporates the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into facility design and maintenance. IPM is an ongoing, preventive control system that employs the use of more than one control measure. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Effective Eco-friendly Methods for Treating Bed Bug Infestations
  • Eco-friendly, effective methods for treating infestations I should have known better than to stay in that hotel room. This one was a very clean, business-class hotel in an East Coast convention and tourist city. I detected an unusual odor, I knew that odor and alarm bells should have gone off in my head, but I was so tired I just hopped into bed. I shouldn't have been surprised when I awoke to find little itchy raised bumps on my ankles and tiny drops of blood on the sheets. Bed bugs had ordered room service and I was the main course. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Flies: A Health Threat
  • While hoteliers think a guest encounter with roaches or rodents is their number-one pest concern, the seemingly insignificant fly has the potential of becoming a far greater public relations nightmare. Flies can be equally dangerous disease vectors, even if your guests never see them. If found buzzing in your food preparation and service areas, they can bring about regulatory action that might just get your hotel on the nightly news. Most facilities are especially vigilant against the first two pests, so a guest might never encounter them. Read on...

Peter Goldmann
  • Security & Safety
  • Prevent Fraud by Enforcing Strict Anti-fraud Policies
  • According to the surveillance director of a major Las Vegas hotel/casino, "No matter how aggressive you are in fighting hotel fraud, you can be almost guaranteed that you're not catching all of the theft. There are too many ways that employees, vendors and guests can steal from you." That may be true, but it also is true that there's an awful lot that hotel management can do to prevent and detect illegal activity that they're not doing now. And-now is a good time to start getting serious about fighting fraud, because, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), internal fraud alone (not counting such crimes as credit card fraud by guests and vendor scams that don't involve a hotel employee) robs up to 6% of gross revenue every year. A special challenge for hotel industry security managers is the fact that hospitality properties generate enormous amounts of cash. Whether it's guests paying cash for rooms or restaurant and bar patrons paying for meals with cash, without strict controls on how that cash is handled...and by whom...there's no question that a significant chunk of it is going to end up in employees' pockets. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Defend Your Hotel Against 'Occasional Invaders'
  • Occasional invader. To a hotelier, that term might best describe the guy who keeps trying to sell roses in the lobby. But for pest management professionals, the term brings to mind a long list of pests that may not plague hotels as often as roaches, ants, flies and rodents, but that can hurt a hotel's reputation just as badly. Because occasional invaders typically cause problems only when they have invaded in large numbers, a preventive approach is crucial to making sure your hotel doesn't fall victim to an infestation - not even occasionally. Read on...

Peter Goldmann
  • Security & Safety
  • Financial Fraud and How to Reduce Your Risk
  • Fraud in the hotel, resort and restaurant industries is a constant and costly problem. While some hospitality companies choose to think of fraud as an unavoidable cost of doing business, more and more are realizing that because fraud losses often are extremely high, even a fractional reduction in those losses can mean millions of dollars in "found" profits. For companies that don't believe they have a serious fraud problem...or simply choose to ignore the subject altogether, consider this: According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Austin, TX, the average American company loses 6% of its annual revenue to internal fraud. In other words, a hotel or resort company with, for instance, $1 billion in annual revenues, loses $60 million to employee embezzlement...expense account fraud...theft of inventory, etc. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Birds Can be a Common Pest - How to Repel them
  • The average person has a hard time thinking of birds as pests, but any hotel manager who has faced a bird problem understands why pigeons, sparrows or starlings can be just as damaging to a hotel's business as cockroaches, rodents or flies. Unfortunately, the general public affection for birds often keeps hoteliers from taking appropriate precautions to drive them away as they would another kind of pest infestation - rats, for instance - even when they pose similar property-damage and health risks. Birds are a natural and healthy part of our environment, but the pest birds you're most likely to encounter are far from endangered, and your property and guests shouldn't be put in jeopardy to provide a home for them. So minimize the factors that attract birds to your property, and take precautions to stop developing bird problems before they get out of hand. Read on...

Peter Goldmann
  • Security & Safety
  • The Internet - Mistakes Companies Make In Computer/Internet Crime Prevention
  • In a recent report, TravelCLICK, the E-commerce services company catering to the hotel industry, showed that Internet reservations received at the central reservation offices of the major hotel brands grew a staggering 34% in 2003 over the previous year. The report also shows that last year, brand Web sites were the source of 66% of the brands' centrally booked Internet reservations. The resounding message, of course, is that Internet-based business is rapidly becoming the preferred method for booking reservations. Importantly, this trend is only the latest in a series of transitions of hotel business operations to electronic protocols. Food and beverage transactions...automated check out and electronic room keys have been standard operating procedure for years. Why is this important? Along with the wonderful employee productivity and financial payoffs of electronic operations has come an enormous new challenge for management: Cyber-crime. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Integrated Pest Management: Cost-Benefit Study
  • Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is used by hotels all over the country to keep pests at bay and their reputations intact. But why? Is IPM more effective than traditional pest control methods? Is it more cost-effective? These are valid questions, but until last year, no "official" answers were given. The pest management industry was convinced from experience that IPM was more effective, but the cost benefit for commercial IPM users had not been directly addressed. In 2003, Orkin, Inc. and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University teamed up to study and evaluate, once and for all, the differences in efficacy - and cost - of IPM and conventional pest control programs. Read on...

Frank Meek
  • Security & Safety
  • Birds are Unwelcome Guests
  • There's no doubt that birds can't be tolerated by hotels, but controlling them can be challenging, especially when your establishment is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Many hoteliers turn to an approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which takes a close look at pest biology and behavior as well as the specific problems they pose to a property. By stressing proactive prevention, IPM focuses on the reasons why pests infest properties in the first place so that hoteliers can select the most effective treatment method possible. Read on...

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NOVEMBER: Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

Eric Rahe

The advent of social media brought with it an important shift in the hospitality industry. Any guest’s experience might be amplified to thousands of potential customers, and you want to be sure that your hotel stands out for the right reasons. Furthermore, technology has increased competition. According to Euromonitor International, the travel industry will have the highest online payment percentage of any industry by 2020, often occurring through third-party sites that display your competitors alongside you. As a result, many hoteliers are looking to stand out by engaging customers and the experience has become more interactive than ever. Read on...

Pat Miller

Even the most luxurious hotel has a finite budget when it comes to the design or re-design of hotel spaces. The best designers prioritize expenses that have the biggest impact on guest perceptions, while minimizing or eliminating those that don’t. This story will focus on three blockbuster areas – the entry experience, the guest room, and the public spaces. This article will focus on these three key areas and shed light on how the decision making process and design choices made with care and attention can create memorable, luxe experiences without breaking the bank. Read on...

Patrick Burke

For over 35 years, American architect Patrick Burke, AIA has led Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create unique hospitality experiences for hotel operators and travelers around the globe, in Asia, Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. As the hospitality industry has shifted from making travelers feel at home while away to providing more dynamic experiences, boutique hotels have evolved to create hyper local, immersive environments. Having witnessed and contributed to the movement, Burke discusses the value of authentic character that draws on physical and social context to create experiences that cannot be had anywhere else in the world. Read on...

Alan Roberts

More than ever before, guests want and expect the design of a hotel to accurately reflect its location, regardless of whether they visit a property in an urban center, a historic neighborhood or a resort destination. They also seek this sense of place without wanting to sacrifice the level and consistency of service they’ve come to expect from a beloved hotel brand. A unique guest experience is now something expected not just desirable from any hotel wishing to compete in the world today. A hotel’s distinctive design and execution goes a long way to attracting todays discerning customer. Read on...

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.