In his renowned book, The Paradox of Choice, author and American psychologist Barry Schwartz explains, "Autonomy and freedom of choice are critical to our wellbeing, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy." Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.” In this digital age, this paradox is well known – innovation is relentless, and consumer preferences are constantly changing in response to emerging platforms and digitally-enhanced conveniences.
Within the hospitality industry, specifically, hoteliers come to face this paradox every time they look to upgrade or transform their operational infrastructure. Adopting a new platform is no small decision. With an influx of vendors and solutions vying for the attention and favor of hospitality brands, selecting the right platform can be a difficult task.
But are all safety platforms and panic buttons created equal? How can hoteliers ensure they select the right solution? What differentiates one system from the next? Is cost the primary differentiator, or are there other considerations to keep in mind?
1. Advanced Features That Are Easy to Use
Often, the biggest barrier to adopting a new platform is the user experience. When vetting prospective hotel safety solutions, hoteliers should consider the following questions:
Does the platform require extensive staff training?
Is the platform easy to use?
Can the device be carried easily and discreetly by staff?
Is the panic button easy to activate in an emergency scenario?
Is the solution specifically designed for hospitality?
Does the solution offer full property coverage?
A hotel’s safety platform should be simple and effective, training should be minimal, and staff should have no problem carrying the device throughout their shift. More importantly, activating the device whenever they need help via one-click activation.
Other Solutions: Unfortunately, some panic button solutions on the market (especially legacy versions) are cumbersome and inconvenient for staff to keep on their person while working and, in some cases, challenging to use. Ultimately, if a staff member can’t utilize the device in an emergency scenario with ease, the panic button will be unable to serve its intended purpose.
2. Ease of Implementation
The best hotel safety solution is one that can be installed with ease and peace of mind, without any extensive cabling or hardwire required and without needing to take rooms out of inventory. Best-in-class platforms, like TraknProtect’s safety platform, are specifically designed to integrate easily and efficiently with a hotel’s existing back-of-house systems, with little to no operational headache. Beyond the initial installation, hoteliers should seek to establish partnerships with vendors that provide ongoing support and customer service, as well as effortless maintenance and convenient monitoring options.
Other Solutions: Often, the installation experience offered by other vendors can be both time-consuming and tedious. In some cases, the installation may require more than one technician across multiple days and will require multiple days of staff training.
3. Real-time Location Accuracy and App-Based Alerts
Hoteliers should also steer clear of traditional ‘noisemakers’ and opt instead for a next-generation platform that offers accurate, real-time location data. Specifically, the platform should utilize a network of BLE/Wi-Fi hubs that continuously gather real-time data from buttons and sensors to triangulate and provide accurate location of devices in a hotel. This ensures that staff members in crisis can be accurately located anywhere on the property, in a quick and effective manner. Moreover, the platform should be entirely customizable, offering each hotel multiple formats of alerts, such as SMS, push notifications, desktop alerts and emails, configured to their unique preferences.
Other Solutions: Location information can only be helpful if it’s accurate; however, some staff safety solutions require “gateway” hardware that is not only an eye-sore but can result in inaccurate room-level reporting. Moreover, these platforms may suffer from a time delay while an employees’ location updates, which further impairs accuracy and response time.
4. Additional Functionality
Modern hotel safety platforms can be more than panic buttons. Using the Internet of Things (IoT), TraknProtect’s safety platform offers additional features and functionality, including inventory tracking, room tray tracking, vendor tracking, and protocol compliance. In this sense, installing the safety buttons in your hotels is just the beginning. A comprehensive staff safety platform can also be fully customized to help hotels ensure they meet ongoing evolving requirements in a post-pandemic world.
Other Solutions: Now, more than ever, hoteliers are looking to do more with less, and yet, other solutions may offer little to no functionality beyond that of a traditional, legacy panic button. Seeking out an all-in-one platform with best-in-class features helps to cut costs and streamline operations to benefit a hotel's bottom line and improve the staff experience.
Ultimately, hoteliers should actively seek out platforms that were designed based on feedback from hoteliers and employees to be seamlessly integrated into a hotel’s operational structure. At TraknProtect, our mission is to help as many hotels as possible create a safer environment for both staff and guests, and, with this in mind, we’ve developed an award-winning solution that provides hospitality brands complete peace of mind.