Recognizing that there’s no easy path back to full recovery, the hospitality industry faces the beginning of another year of deferred loans, furloughed staff and low occupancies. But at the same time, there are several reasons to be optimistic, and hoteliers are starting to focus on executing strategies that position them to welcome back their guests. In her latest blog, Parminder shares feedback she’s received from TraknProtect’s customers on just one of those key strategies – the provision of staff safety button solutions.
Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t there a touch more confidence in the industry lately? With the prospect of increased access to vaccines, the opportunity to safely welcome back guests seem to be finally possible. And the demand is there: Research shows that 81% of Americans are planning to travel in the next six months and that travel planning is at an all-time high.
Those with long memories will remember that at the beginning of 2020, before COVID-19 devastated our industry, one of the most pressing issue consuming our attention was the creation of safe hospitality environments – for workers and guests alike – through deployment of panic buttons. In the increasing wave of safety button measures, both at city and state levels and through brand initiatives such as the 5-Star Promise, it looked to be one of the biggest initiatives of the year, and when the pandemic recedes, it will again become so.
In this unusually quiet start to the year, there has been an opportunity for hoteliers to organize for a return to normal operations and use this valuable time to best prepare their properties. Here is a summary of some of the most frequent questions our customers have been asking us as they adopt their staff safety and compliance strategies:
Assessing the value
With this year’s low occupancies and revenues, conversations with hotel executives and finance teams are vital in both the selection and financing of a hotel’s safety button solution. Hotels will need to choose from an array of funding options from capital expenditure or operational budgets. Yet choosing the right safety button vendor isn’t solely about costs. To ensure protection from risk exposure and liability, the solution you choose needs to be compliant with all existing regulations and brand requirements. It should also be able to provide reliable and accurate security for the employees while working seamlessly to leverage the hotel’s existing hardware and infrastructure. Solutions working in this way don’t just provide operational effectiveness they can also prove to be more economical. At TraknProtect, we pride ourselves in providing operational input and support beyond just the provision of safety buttons by continually innovating our product and service offerings to meet the evolving needs of both your hotel and of the industry at large.
Choosing the right technology
As we’re all becoming increasingly polarized around technology, it’s essential that any questions around your safety button’s compatibility and ease of use with your current system are properly resolved, particularly now when resources are scarce and your engineering teams may also have been impacted. Typically, RF (radio frequency) or UF (ultrasonic frequency) systems have higher initial costs stemming from expensive infrastructure changes, such as additional cables and servers. Our award-winning solution has been designed with extensive feedback from hotel management and staff and utilizes the newest technologies. It’s enabled us to design a solution with engineered simplicity, integrating effortlessly and efficiently with your hotel’s existing back-of-the-house systems while being easily installed with no additional hardwiring or hardware required. TraknProtect is also the only safety button solution that is integrated with all three major Wireless Access Point (WAP) providers, Aruba, Cisco Meraki and Ruckus (a Commscope company). There’s also less need for maintenance while still offering flexible monitoring options for your management and security staff to receive alerts or updates via multiple means including SMS, Push Notifications, Desktop Alerts and Email. While some solutions offer self-installation, it’s also important to remember that while self-installation - using your own maintenance and engineering team to install a safety button system - might sound cost-effective, your liability risk increases with the opportunity for incorrect positioning or incomplete verification. With everyone trying to do more with less, self-installing can also be a strain on your staffing resources which may already be stretched.
How does our safety button work?
As the only safety button designed exclusively for the unique needs of the hospitality industry, our solution provides simple one-click activation of the device to immediately notify management and security staff and summon help. Your housekeeping or public-facing employees can carry the device conveniently on lanyards or attached to master keys so it’s always easily accessible and any incident notes, pictures or incident files can be recorded right from the app. With so many types of safety buttons available, it’s also worth noting that solutions offering sound alarms and app-only solutions are not considered compliant in various cities/states, including Chicago. One key reason for this is that they do not offer real-time location, a significant disadvantage to get exact location of the employee when a button is activated or if the employee moves to try to evade danger.
A Swiss Army knife for hotel operations
The TraknProtect safety button is just one application of the solution we install for customers. We appreciate that hoteliers are always looking for answers that solve more than just one hotel challenge which is why we never stop innovating. For example, TraknKleen™, is a tool that creates an audit trail for housekeeping activities, further enhancing operations by tracking the use of designated cleaning assets such as electrostatic sprayers in all guest areas. You can also provide employees and guests with additional security and peace of mind by using the solution to monitor vendor activity on your property, and even to track room tray deployment.
Minimizing disruption & building confidence
Because our solution maximizes your hotel’s infrastructure it can be installed and maintained with minimal disruption to either your hotel operations or your back end technology. We also appreciate that any solution is only effective if it’s understood and used efficiently, which is why we place such strong emphasis on training your staff to recognize security threats, correctly use their safety button and why our customer service is always on hand to support you.
Partnering for safety
A concern I’ve often heard voiced in this untypical year is “will the company I choose be just a vendor or a partner, both in the current environment and for the future?” TraknProtect has built deep connections with the industry we serve, enjoying relationships with hotel associations and global brands from coast to coast so creating meaningful partnerships is in our DNA. Not only have we worked closely with the IHLA, and with HTNG workgroup in developing a greater understanding of employee safety buttons, but we also partner with experts to interpret state regulations to ensure our solution is compliant with your specific mandates. It’s a guarantee that we can make certain that the safety button solution you choose for your property will be compliant with all local regulations and with your own brand’s requirements.
As a partner, we’re invested in your success, helping to remove as many obstacles as possible to make at least one choice for your property easy. Because when your guests return, we want you to be ready to greet them, safely.