A Hotel Disaster in the Making

Back in October, after the vulnerability of Onity locks was publicized I wrote an article asking who was going to pay for fixing the hotel locks. Now, in a series of related events, thieves have been targeting Houston hotels with Onity locks. The question is why isn’t Onity stepping up to resolve the problem and why aren’t hotels screaming for them to take ownership of the problem?

With 5-10 million locks at risks, the Onity solution, that they have since mysteriously retracted from their website, would have had hotels foot the labor costs to replace/fix the locks. This could easily cost the hotel industry $25-50 million dollars for a vendor problem.

Onity’s Statements

“The first approach will include providing a mechanical cap, free of charge, to our customers, who have the Onity HT series locks…..The second solution Onity will offer to our customers, if they choose to use this option, is to upgrade the firmware of the HT and ADVANCE series locks.”

Source: Onity

The new statement on Onity’s website says:

“…we will ensure all hotel properties in our database receive the mechanical solution. These mechanical caps and security screws block physical access to the lock ports that hackers use to illegally break into hotel rooms. The mechanical solution remains free of charge to customers.”

Source: Onity Website

The concern remains that Onity is only covering the cost of parts, which still leaves hoteliers footing the majority of the cost. This is not right and also presents a very dangerous situation for hotel guests.

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that any violent crime enabled by Onity’s lack of ownership has the potential to put them out of business. More importantly, it places hotels at significant financial risk based upon the age old deep pocket angle of lawyers.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Poor customer service is the number one reason customers do not return to make additional purchases. Great customer service requires a commitment from the top of an organization.

Most importantly, the culture of vendors should recognize that all things being equal, they must exceed their customer’s expectations as just meeting customer expectations is not strong enough to keep them as clients.

Awesome customer service is made up of three things; a can do attitude, client oriented problem resolution procedures and client/customer appreciation in that order of importance. Vendors must remember that hotels have a choice of where to spend their money regardless of how long they have been a customer.

For Onity to expect hotels to foot the cost of labor and lawsuits only sets the stage for their ultimate demise. They need to bite the bullet and take the financial hit now to ensure long-term-success.

What can Hotels do if Onity Fails to Step Up?

From a practical standpoint, hotels need to make sure that all locks are accounted for in their CMMS. This sets the stage for being able to demonstrate a methodical pattern of work orders for replacement to avoid claims of asset neglect. A hotel that does nothing is just waiting for a lawsuit to occur.

Once all assets become part of the CMMS, work orders can be generated, scheduled and tracked for completion. CMMS reports then provide hotel maintenance managers with updated information as to what has been completed and how many locks still need work.

The work history also gives hotel owners a true cost breakdown of expenses that they can give to their attorneys for legal remedies.

Hopefully hotel maintenance management is replacing the locks with a competitive product with a better customer service approach. If I seem harsh on Onity, it is only because my experience tells me that they need a big-time wake up call.