Recently, as we were planning and executing two conferences at two different hotels, we encountered such totally different perspectives on conference attendee safety that we wondered if we were in a reality TV show. Here’s a look at how that script might play out:
Hotel safety protocols
Exterior: London, England. Upscale major branded hotel. End of the year.
Interior: A conference is being set up.
Most of the conference is ready to go; we just need to email the hotel and request they present some safety and security measures for our conference attendees at the beginning of the conference. The hotel owner agrees but suggests sending this information to the guests prior to arriving for the conference. We rapidly agree and are shown some of the most thorough policies and procedures we have ever seen. The attendees greatly appreciate having this information pre-conference.
End scene I.
Exterior: Convention Destination City, USA. Upscale major branded hotel managed by a third party. End of the year.
Interior: A conference is being set up.
Before the conference prep is complete, we speak to the owner about presenting safety and security protocols for the hotel at the beginning of the conference. We were advised that the hotel did not have such protocols in place and, in fact, that this information had never been requested by a meeting planner before.
End scene II.
As amazed as we were with the information provided by the London Hotel, we were just as dumbfounded by the response of the U.S. hotel. Given the challenging safety and security climate today, every hotel needs safety and security protocols that it is willing to share with conference hosts and attendees. Just as importantly, meeting planners need to request the information be provided to their attendees.
We are not suggesting that a hotel share its internal security response systems or all of its security methods. Hotels should be sharing just what the attendees, who are unfamiliar with the property, need to know so they can respond quickly in case of an incident at the property. This information includes emergency exit locations, safe rooms in the occurrence of a natural disaster and how to dial emergency services from the in-room phone.
As an aside to this, just as meeting planners and corporate travel buyers are ramping up their vetting of hotels from a safety and security perspective, hotels should be vetting the conference prior to entering an agreement to host the event.
Your hotel, employees and guests all benefit from strategically crafted incidence response protocols. We encourage quick development of these procedures before an incident happens.
Paige Tidwell – Marketing & Social Media Assistant, HospitalityLawyer.com
Paige Tidwell is a junior at the University of Houston, Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. She is seeking a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management with an emphasis in Sales & Marketing. In addition to working for HospitalityLawyer.com, Paige works as a teaching assistant for two professors at the Hilton College where she works with students of all levels. Raised in both Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Houston, Texas, Paige naturally developed a passion for food and people. Her interest in hospitality was cultivated at a young age when she and her dad would cook for their church groups. In her free time, Paige enjoys trying new places to eat with friends and going to the gym.
Stephen Barth – Founder, HospitalityLawyer.com
Stephen Barth, author of Hospitality Law and coauthor of Restaurant Law Basics, is an attorney, the founder of HospitalityLawyer.com, the annual Hospitality Law Conference series, and the Global Travel Risk Summit Series. As a professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, he teaches courses in hospitality law and leadership. In addition to legal and risk management insight, Stephen specializes in communicating the importance of Emotional Intelligence in leadership roles; and has provided valuable insight to many companies including The Methodist Hospital System, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Dine Equity, Business Travel News and Aramark. His fun, fast paced presentations provide practical information and solutions to enhance your personal and professional life.