14 effective hotel security procedures and guidelines

Updated 24 January 2023

Security is a key aspect of managing a hotel. It ensures the safety of guests, staff and property and eliminates security risks within the hotel premises. Understanding how to provide good security gives a hotel a distinguished reputation and promotes its growth and business operations. In this article, we define hotel security and explain various hotel security procedures that can be put into place.

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What is hotel security?

Hotel security is the management of the safety of guests and property in hotels, lodgings and entertainment facilities. It involves procedures, systems and personnel that ensure guests are safe in their rooms and around the venue and that their property and vehicles are secure. The hotel may have a department that provides and maintains security or outsource it to security agencies.

Related: What is hotel management and how to become a hotel manager?

Responsibilities of security in a hotel

Here are functions that staff and hotel managers perform to ensure the security of a hotel:

  • deter crime and criminal activities in the hotel

  • monitor suspicious individuals and activities

  • avert chaotic situations from happening or escalating

  • prevent the loss or damage of personal or hotel property

  • make guests feel secure within the hotel premises

  • provide immediate and effective responses to emergencies

  • prohibit harmful and violent attacks on guests within the hotel

  • provide valuable assistance and information to law enforcement during an investigation

  • provide emergency medical assistance to guests

  • protect hotel and guests' assets, including vehicles and luggage, from theft

  • help investigate and recover stolen items

  • escort unruly guests and trespassers out of the hotel premises

Related: What does a hotel manager do? (With skills and tips)

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14 hotel safety procedures

There are various systems to protect hotel guests and staff. They include policies, staffing and technologies you can subtly apply to monitor movement, secure property and guarantee guest safety. Here's a checklist of security measures you can enforce:

1. Access security

It's necessary to have an inventory of all locks in the hotel, including those for doors, windows and slide-and-chain bolts on guest room doors. Whether the hotel uses proximity cards, swipe cards or hard keys, ensure you account for and constantly track each spare key you use. Then schedule reorders that keep you ahead of that rate. Also, create an inventory for and test locks on doors to all backhouse spaces and make sure these doors are always out of sight, especially during and after interior design changes.

2. Registration process

Ensure employees provide accurate and updated information in their registration process. Ask guests for several pieces of identification and know the number of occupants in every guest room during a given period. Also, adhere to data protection policies, keep accessible records and use secure payment systems.

Related: 8 essential security guard skills

3. Vehicle safety

Evaluate the parking facilities for guests and ensure their security. Ensure functional and bright lighting in the parking spaces. Trim down bushes and trees that may obstruct the line of vision from building entrances. If the hotel or resort has carts and vehicles, also evaluate their security and secure their keys when they're not in use. Also, accurately track who is using them at every given time. You can set up fleet management software to help you keep track of these details, especially if the hotel has a large vehicle fleet.

4. Mobile device safety

Confirm that emergency services are available in every guest room and ensure hotel staff have mobile devices. Create a policy for hotel staff to contact emergency services if phone networks are down. Make sure your current storage and management strategy can secure mobile phones and tablets and make them available when required. If you manage a big hotel, consider developing an intelligent asset management system to manage mobile devices for service staff.

5. Outdoor maintenance

Keeping the hotel exterior in perfect condition can improve its security. It gives entrances and exterior surveillance cameras clear views unhindered by bushes and trees. It also deters criminals looking to compromise features in the venue's outdoor environment. Also, a well-maintained exterior gives guests a positive perception of your establishment.

Related: How to become a security guard in 8 steps (with skills)

6. Key surveillance

Establish a system for tracking and auditing all key usage. Keep every backhouse key in a secure location. You can improve security by implementing an electronic key management system that reduces the chances of someone else entering a guest room without permission. This system also keeps a meticulous record of who has which key in a given period, making it easier to identify security irregularity and handle it quickly. These electronic systems are cheap to purchase and operate. They also work efficiently.

Related: A guide to hospitality management and what it involves

7. Restrict entrances

It's easier for security staff and surveillance systems to monitor movement in and out of the hotel when there are fewer entrances. Position entrances in places you want to direct the traffic towards and make them part of your access plan. Also, design exits to allow a swift departure from the hotel building in case of a fire or other emergencies.

8. Video surveillance

To guarantee the safety of guests in the hotel, you need a surveillance system that captures good footage with playback. Implement and monitor a documented retention policy for surveillance footage, preserving camera footage for a relatively long period. Ensure the surveillance cameras are recording and can play back archived footage. Also, check coverage frequently to ensure landscaping and interior designs have not created blind spots.

9. Cash handling protocol

Put practices in place that guarantee the safety of cash collections at the reception desk, restaurants, counters and other locations. You can vary the cash collection schedule to make it unpredictable and difficult for thieves to track. Also, ensure staff count cash in a safe place outside the view of guests and use a licenced cash management agency to transport cash to the bank.

10. Duress alert systems

Duress alert buttons, or panic buttons, can help to ensure the personal safety of guests. If the hotel doesn't yet have a duress alert system, devise other efficient ways to implement one. If the hotel building already has a duress alert system, prepare periodic exercises to ensure it's in working condition and allow employees to rehearse responding to an alarm. Also, decide whether it's necessary to enforce policies for recording expected response times and devise ways to reduce and manage potential misuse.

11. High-security lockers

The hotel can provide lockers for high-value items that don't require regular signing in and out. If the hotel has safes, ensure they're in perfect working condition, physically secured and hidden from the view of guests. Also, account for the keys to these storage units and store them safely.

12. Security personnel

Ensure the hotel has enough security staffing to provide adequate coverage at every given period. You can decide to operate an in-house security department or employ a security agency. If you have security staff, ensure they have proper training and licencing. Also, update their training and audit their performance regularly. Create policies describing how you want security operatives in the hotel to handle sensitive situations that may arise in the venue. This policy may include ways to deal with unattended vehicles, suspicious packages and trespassers.

Related: How to write a director of security CV with a template

13. Guest item safety

If guest rooms have safes and other storage units, ensure they're always in good working condition. Also, consider the efficiency of using an asset locker for guests to deposit items at centrally managed locations. This location can be behind the reception desk or the pool and can operate electronically for better customer service.

Related: What does a guest relation officer do? (With skills)

14. Emergency procedures

Create a documented emergency action plan and update it regularly to reflect recent changes in the hotel's operations. You can also create a summary of your emergency and evacuation procedures on the hotel safety and security guidelines. Ensure these procedures align with new interior designs and renovations in the hotel. Also, conduct regular testing on smoke detectors and alarm systems and instal an automated system that accounts for the location of each guest during an emergency.

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