AHLA (American Hotel & Lodging Association) is the “singular voice representing every segment of the hotel industry including major chains, independent hotels, management companies, REIT’s, bed and breakfasts, industry partners & more.”

Some interesting and important facts provided by the AHLA:

  1. There are 54,200+ hotel properties in the U.S. filling over 5 million guest rooms
  2. There are more than 1.1 billion guest nights annually in the U.S.
  3. 8 million American jobs in Hospitality
  4. 5 million guests each day

Hotels are at the center of communities across the country – AHLA is creating long-term careers and opportunities for upward mobility, spurring economic growth, and investing in communities and supporting America’s travelers.

AHLA takes pride in enhancing the hospitality experience for its travelers/guests but also protecting and enhancing safety for its millions of employees at major brand hotels across the country.

In September 2018, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the major hotel brands in membership announced the 5-Star Promise. The 5-Star Promise is “a pledge to provide hotel employees across the U.S. with employee safety devices (ESDs) and commit to enhanced policies, trainings, and resources that together are aimed at enhancing hotel safety, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault.”

The 5 components that make up the 5-Star Promise include:

  1. Build on our industry’s longstanding commitment to hospitality and a People Culture by continuing to provide industry-wide training and materials on safety and security, and retain expert guidance to work with the industry on diversity and safety matters.
  2. Ensure mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies are in place in multiple languages.
  3. Provide ongoing training and education for employees on identifying and reporting sexual harassment.
  4. Provide U.S. hotel employees with employee safety devices to help them feel safe on the job.
  5. Broaden vital partnerships with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence and assault and trafficking and promote workplace safety.

The major hotel brands associated with this promise are:

  1. Hilton
  2. Hyatt
  3. IHG
  4. Marriott
  5. Wyndham

Some hotel companies in several markets, including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Seattle, have already started implementing the 5-star promise by providing ESDs to employees, and they are piloting devices in many markets.

The goal is to have full implementation across all major hotel brands involved by 2020.

ESD Implementation in Brand Hotels

Participating brands are determining the best security devices based on the property’s layout and features, with a range of options including devices with loud noise-emitting features or emergency GPS tracking with a push of a handheld button. AHLA has assembled a sourcing task force to assist companies to identify the right type of technology for their properties.

JW Marriott Hotel

Two examples are Hilton and Marriott International and their steps to implement ESDs by 2020.

“At Hilton, all 380,000 of our team members are the heart and soul of our business. That is why we are deeply committed to putting their safety and well-being above all else. In addition to implementing anti-harassment and anti-trafficking training across all 5,400+ of our properties, we have already deployed employee safety devices in New York, Washington D.C., Seattle and Chicago properties.

Today, I am proud to share that we are expanding that commitment across all our hotels in the United States, deploying safety devices for all team members who service guest rooms by 2020.”

Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton

“At Marriott International, we believe that everyone should feel safe and secure while fulfilling their work responsibilities. We are testing and deploying associate alert devices to enable hotel associates to press a button to summon help if they encounter a threatening situation.”

“We are working toward deployment of the devices at both managed and franchised hotels in the United States and Canada through 2020 and we continue to explore safety technology solutions globally.”

Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International

Leveraging Your Hotel’s Investment in Safety for Additional Purposes

As your hotel company evaluates and adopts the Associate Alert devices – there is a process for setting up beacons to help triangulate the associate’s location.

It’s worth considering leveraging the “3D” mapping exercise to be able to track in real-time all associate’s location within a given property. It may be possible to utilize this information to do the following:

  1. Dispatch work to the nearest available associate
  2. Prove that an associate was near a location at a specific time

Some of the options will work with passive beacons – others might require active solutions. It’s important to evaluate and understand the cost and implementation differences or challenges.

Dispatching Work to the Nearest Associate

There are two primary reasons to dispatch work to the nearest associate.

  1. Life-Safety – Send an associate as soon as possible (available or not)
  2. Greet-time – Intent-to-Recommend is directly impacted by the speed and efficiency of response time

Prove an Associate Was Near a Location at a Specific Time

It may be possible to prove an associate’s whereabouts in the building. Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. Are they in an approved area while on break?
  2. Were they in the hotel room during the cleaning?
  3. What is the total time they were in a hotel room?
  4. How long since an employee was in a particular space?

Reduce liability by increasing productivity and proof of presence.

Security & Maintenance of Devices

As hotel brands deploy their new technology, engineers will need to confirm devices and battery changing to ensure peak efficiency. These items should be added to their PM/Rounds using a CMMS.

Here are some high level advantages to a CMMS in local and corporate facilities, particularly hospitality.

  1. Knowledge of maintenance problems across all properties. A CMMS provides a real time look at maintenance problems at any location. This allows for analysis of data to identify common problems, trends, vendor issues, costs, and likely capital replacement items.
  2. Ensuring corporate policies are being followed. For example, the corporate policy may be to have all HVAC units checked quarterly or boilers semi-annually. The CMMS software will identify properties that are falling behind and allow new instructions to be sent.
  3. Monitoring inspection schedules. The same principal applies to inspections. Many hotels have seasonal spikes in occupancy. Prior to the spikes, a checklist of items to be inspected can be scheduled. Hotels not performing/reporting inspection completion can then be scheduled for an “Official Visit” to find out why.
  4. The standardization of maintenance practices. Combining 1,2 and 3, maintenance practices across all properties can be standardized thus allowing for the inter-facility transfer of labor and knowledge when necessary. The standardization of maintenance practices is critical to effective operations management. With just a click of a button management can identify properties that might be increasing the risk (liability) of the company by not adhering to guidelines.
  5. Mobility is increased when using a CMMS especially when mobile handheld devices are integrated into the maintenance management routine. Mobile handheld devices render the old clipboard checklist obsolete but also enable work orders, inspections or instructions to be recorded at any location either online of offline. The transmission of results reduces the need to return to the office or make phone calls to set actions. The result is greater efficiency and throughput.
  6. The establishment of a historical asset database. When properly set up the CMMS will collects detail on results, costs, repairs as well as assortment of other asset detail. Besides helping with budget planning this information can be used to mitigate the loss of know-how of retiring workers.
  7. A decrease in maintenance expenses. The primary objective of any CMMS system is to manage the maintenance of assets to keep them in working order and avoid early or unnecessary repair/replacement. Timely inspections and preventive maintenance has been proven over and over as a great way to identify problems early before they lead to major repairs costs. A CMMS organizes this function potentially saving anywhere from 10-30% of annual maintenance costs.
  8. Going green. Consumers today want to be associated with hotels that are doing their part be environmentally responsible. Implementing a CMMS will help high energy consumption equipment such as boilers or chillers maintain their highest efficiency levels through proper care. Not only is this environmentally responsible but it will save countless dollars on energy bills.
  9. Greater customer experiences. Attracting and retaining customers is in large part based upon their experiences at a hotel. Poorly maintained pools, elevators, A/C units, damaged rooms fixtures and so on result in a negative image for any hotel or resort. This impact is only aggravated if a customer reports a problem that is not addressed timely during their stay. In addition, safety issues if not addressed timely can lead to liability claims, something no hotel can afford.

The above are not the only advantages a CMMS maintenance solution provides a hotel property. However, it does provide corporate hotel management with enough information to recognize that maintenance should not be considered a back office operation. Good maintenance management can significantly impact the bottom line of any hotel as well as increase maintenance visibility.