There are certain risks that hotels face just like any other business. One of them is the risk of robbery on the premises and the associated bad publicity that goes with it. If one has a security plan in place this will help you to deal with the crisis. Also making sure that your hotel is secure in the first place lessens the chances of your clients being robbed. Some of the incidents that could arise include hotel rooms being broken into, clients losing their things in the restaurant or at an event at the hotel (theft) or even getting robbed just in front of the hotel.
What you can do in advance.
Train your staff on security issues. Regular security training for staff is important, because it is not important just for protecting customers from being robbed, but it will also improve their personal safely and increase their ability to provide information about the people who stole from the clients.
Tell the staff to give every customer entering the hotel a friendly greeting and look each customer directly in the eyes. This may deter some would be thieves as they will know they are easily identifiable.
If there is construction taking place have extra security at the hotel and make sure that people from the site do not walk in and out of the hotel.
Make sure that emergency telephone numbers (police, ambulance) and other important numbers like security are easily available to staff during emergencies.
Create a checklist in advance for what needs to be done in case there is a robbery. Have a list of emergency numbers for calling the police.
Teach staff how to read suspicious behaivour and always be alert so that if they notice somebody behaving funny they can act immediately. When your staff are alert it makes thieves reluctant to steal because they will be easily observed, identified and apprehended.
Limit the number of ways people can get on/off the property. At each point where people must get in or out have security personnel. Also discourage public access of the hotel from entrances where there is no security or security cameras.
Make sure you have locks, windows, and doors that are not easily broken into. If you have balconies make sure that you put window doors that are secure and that are not easily opened from the outside when they are locked.
At some point in the evening for a small hotel you can shut (not lock) the doors of the hotel, even if customers are still coming in. This helps to monitor who is coming in or out. The alternative at night is to limit access through a single door.
In this day and age it is important to invest in CCTV so that you can monitor what is going on in the hotel. Of course there is no point in investing in CCTV just for show and there is nobody to monitor the cameras.
Also invest in safes for the rooms. If it is not possible to do this because of the expense, have a safe in the manager’s office where people can put their items and sign into a register. Of course the pin for the safe should not be easily available so that anybody can go into the safe. Never put down safe passwords in a place they can be found. Lock them in a secure place if they must be written down.
Make sure your hotel lighting is good inside the compound and the area just outside the hotel.
Make sure the corridors are well lit, repair any locks that don’t work properly.
It is also important during training to teach staff how to behave when clients report a robbery. During that time customer care is critical and it will determine whether clients will come back in the future. Dealing with customers who are in an emotional state after being robbed can be an uphill task but if you have trained employees they will be able to be a calming influence on them. Having employees who are clueless about what to do can aggravate the situation and make the situation worse. A few lessons from our robbery incident can help you not be on the bad side of the clients who have been robbed.
Do not take action that would jeopardize the safety of personnel or customers. In most situations, robbers won’t harm a person who cooperates. An unexpected move by an employee may trigger a violent reaction endangering the lives of many people.
If the robber displays a firearm, or even just claims to have one, consider it to be loaded and able to be used.
The employees should be observant. Tell them to try to notice as much as possible about the robber. They should take mental notes on the following: number of robbers, physical characteristics, behavior, vehicle used for escape, direction of travel when escaping etc. or robbers yourself, without discussion with other witnesses. Make mental notes of the following:
Remember to safeguard all possible evidence that the thieves could have touched and left evidence. Secure it and don’t touch it or let anyone else touch it until the police arrive.
It is important to have an alarm that staff at the reception or bar can activate if there is a robbery in progress. This should only be done if it can be done safely and it should not be a loud alarm. After the robbery call the police.