Employee safety and security protections increasing in the hotel industry
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Employee safety and security protections increasing in the hotel industry

By WK Editorial Staff

The AHLA has reported a 230 percent increase in hotel companies participating in a health and safety initiative that includes deploying employee safety devices.

One year after implementation, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has reported a 230 percent increase in members participating in its 5-Star Promise, moving the number of safety and security commitments to 56 hotel companies. The AHLA is touting not just the progress on this particular initiative, but also other initiatives that have been launched in the hotel industry. Sexual assault and harassment has long been a matter of concern in this particular sector.

ESD deployment. Participating hotels have made significant progress over the past year in deploying employee safety devices (ESDs), with devices already provided in several markets, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, and Miami Beach, and a goal of nationwide implementation by 2020, according to the AHLA.

The association has provided resources to streamline the implementation process, including creating a Device Buyer’s Guide to help hospitality companies purchase and implement ESDs, in addition to establishing a discount program for member companies with select ESD providers.

Safety and security commitment. What is the 5-Star Promise? It’s a voluntary commitment by AHLA members to enhance policies, training, and resources, including providing ESDs, that together are aimed at strengthening the culture of employee and guest safety, with an emphasis on preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault.

This commitment includes these five important components:

  • Build on the industry’s longstanding commitment to hospitality and a "People Culture" by continuing to provide industry-wide training and materials on safety and security, and to retain expert guidance to work with the industry on diversity and safety matters.
  • Ensure mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies are in place in multiple languages.
  • Provide ongoing training and education for employees on identifying and reporting sexual harassment.
  • Provide U.S. hotel employees with ESDs to help them feel safe on the job.
  • Broaden vital partnerships with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence and assault and trafficking and promote workplace safety, including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA), and Polaris.

Much progress in one year. Since the 5-Star Promise was announced, with 17 hotel brands on board, the industry has made significant progress around safety and security initiatives:

  • Member participation has increased 230 percent, from 17 companies to 56.
  • An estimated 20,000 hotel properties have committed, resulting in an estimated 1.2 million employees who will be better protected and provided with increased training and resources, many of whom will be provided with ESDs depending on their job responsibilities.
  • More than 5,000 properties have already deployed safety devices this year, with the remaining on track to do so by 2020.
  • All 17 brands originally committed to the 5-Star Promise in 2018 have already completed the remaining pillars of the pledge.
  • The hotel industry has increased training around sexual assault, harassment, and human trafficking prevention.
  • AHLA released a Device Buyer’s Guide created in partnership with Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) to help connect hospitality companies with ESD providers and facilitate the adoption process.
  • AHLA established a program for member companies to offer discounts with the following ESD providers: AT&T, Enseo, PwC, React Mobile, RF Technologies, ROAR for Good, and TraknProtect.

Testing out devices. Participating brands or properties are determining the best security devices based on each facility’s layout and features, with a range of options, including devices with loud noise-emitting features, or emergency global positioning systems (GPS) tracking at the push of a handheld button. This approach reflects the segmented and diverse nature of the hotel industry, as well as the considerable structural differences in building design and layout, construction materials, and Wi-Fi network capabilities within the industry.

As part of this commitment, AHLA has partnered with a number of leading safety and security experts, including the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal support to victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in the workplace, and RALIANCE, a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence.

Other safety initiatives. In addition to this significant progress around the 5-Star Promise, hotels are leading the way across industries when it comes to advancing safety, including:

  • No Room for Trafficking campaign, uniting the industry around one comprehensive approach with the goal of training 100 percent of employees.
  • Increasing training and partnerships with sexual assault and human trafficking prevention partners.
  • Proactively implementing employee safety devices to help ensure employees feel safe.
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign to reaffirm the hotel industry’s commitment to ending sexual violence.
  • Bringing together lodging executives and security experts at AHLA’s annual Safety Summit.
  • Launching a nationwide tour of regional human trafficking prevention training events in partnership with elected officials and prevention partners.
  • Donating $55,000 to partner organizations ECPAT-USA, Polaris, and the DC Rape Crisis Center to help fund human trafficking prevention efforts and sexual assault awareness programs.

News: IndustryNewsTrends Reports Safety SexualHarassment

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