Making Safety Part of Your Hotel's Business Plan
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Posted by Paige N. on May 30, 2017 in Acuity Focus

As a hotel owner, you are faced with many daily challenges—making sure your hotel is properly staffed, the guests are taken care of, and all the rooms are clean, as well as protecting your business from costly property damage and injury claims.

 

The direct expenses associated with paying damages and making repairs, as well as indirect costs, like investigating incidents, not being able to operate your business, and losing customers, can accumulate quickly. Also, if the media hears about a food poisoning or bedbug issue at your hotel, the impact could be devastating.

 

The first step toward putting together a solid safety plan is understanding the potential risks and then focusing your time on areas that are going to make the most impact.

 

To help get you started, here are a few key things to look for in your hotel.

 

  • Sprinklers. Did you know that when sprinkler heads fail to operate, nearly two-thirds of the time it’s because the system is off? When sprinkler heads are kept on, they are effective 96 percent of the time. Make sure your sprinkler system is on and free of obstructions such as paint or hanging decorations. Sprinkler heads located outside or in swimming pool or pool equipment areas corrode faster due to chlorine and other chemicals. If they are not manufactured from a special corrosion-resistant material, they must be replaced periodically. When repairs are needed, use the services of an engineer who is knowledgeable and experienced with sprinkler installation and maintenance to ensure the proper repairs are made.
  • Repair practices. Don’t undertake repairs that exceed you or your staff’s expertise, and use outside contractors with the appropriate experience when necessary. Also, set a regular repair schedule to check for issues so you don’t fall behind on anything or let problems get out of hand.
  • Be wary of potential risk areas. Hotels owe a high duty of care to guests and should do everything reasonably possible to make the entire premises safe—guest rooms, common areas, swimming pools, hotel shuttles. Areas to pay attention to include:
    • Swimming pools. Hard surfaces around pools present a significant slip-and-fall exposure. ADA-required lifts can be a dangerous attraction to children. Appropriate controls need to be in place and monitored around many hazards, such as electronic equipment, chemicals and chemical storage, water temperature, and more.
    • Broken furniture. Regularly inspect furniture, which can break down due to overuse and age. In-house repairs to damaged furniture can exacerbate a hotel’s liability if the repair fails and injury occurs.
    • Other slip-and-fall hazards. Assess the premises for elevation changes in walking surfaces that can present trip hazards. Floor coverings should be kept in good condition, and mats at entrances and exits shouldn’t be curled or buckled. Keep sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots well-lit and free of unrepaired cracks or potholes and clear of snow and ice. Balcony platforms should be regularly inspected for structural integrity and strength.
    • Bedbugs. Early detection of bedbugs is essential to minimizing loss. Housekeeping should inspect rooms and bedding on a daily basis and have a rapid-response plan in place to deal with an infestation.
    • Burns. Scalding is generally caused by water heater thermostats being set too high. Irons, hair dryers, and other heating equipment in guest rooms should be regularly inspected for proper operation, including high-heat shutdown switches.
    • Assaults. Your hotel could be liable for an assault on premises, particularly if it does not have proper deterrents in place. Work with a security professional to review your current security practices. Install proper lighting in lobbies, hallways, and elevators, and keep your exterior landscape trimmed and well-lit.
    • Other areas. If a playground is on site, assess the quality and condition of equipment and the type of groundcover provided. Elevators and escalators should be serviced and inspected regularly.
  • Review your property. Fire is a leading cause of loss, so having adequate firewalls, fire doors, and an action plan in case of a fire is important. Be sure to evaluate the age of electrical equipment and the condition of wiring; the age, type, and condition of fire detection and suppression equipment; and the storage procedures for flammable and combustible substances. Laundry ducts and filters should be regularly cleaned. If you have an on-site restaurant, ensure fireproofing is installed around kitchen ducts, cooking equipment is installed properly, and all stoves and fryers are equipped with hood-and-duct extinguishing systems.
  • Staff qualifications. The experience and qualifications of you and your staff has a big impact on controlling losses and the profitability of your business. Up-to-date certifications show that your operation has experienced and knowledgeable staff.

 

Even with these safety precautions in place, losses can still occur. Time is money and customers are lost every day your building is out of commission. Protect your hotel with a comprehensive insurance plan that includes property insurance to cover your physical location, contents, and lost income, as well as liability insurance to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit for negligence or an incident where your hotel is legally liable for someone’s injury or damage to property.

 

Choosing the right insurance can help your hotel prevent losses and improve your bottom line. To ensure the right coverage is in place, talk with an Acuity independent agent who specializes in the hospitality industry.

 

Safety is a win-win for everyone involved in hotel operations. It’s good business to keep your employees and guests safe, and it will keep your guests coming back for more!

Paige N.
Paige N. came to Acuity in 2015 as a commercial lines underwriter. Through her time in underwriting, she worked on a wide array of accounts, many in the service industry, including: automobile repair shops, apartments, beauty shops, and everything in between. In addition to her underwriting experience, Paige worked in advertising and is studying to obtain the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation. Thanks to her father, Paige drives a manual transmission and finds driving a manual much more fun than an automatic!


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