Magazine article Security Management

A Safe Solution for Hotel Rooms

Magazine article Security Management

A Safe Solution for Hotel Rooms

Article excerpt

VACATIONERS AND BUSINESS travelers deserve to feel that their valuables are safe in a hotel. Hoteliers who usually provide security by offering guests centrally located safe deposit boxes may want to consider in-room safes.

To use a safe deposit box, hotel guests must bring their valuables to the front desk, where they receive a box assignment. Each time the guest wants access to the valuables, he or she must return to the desk, wait for a clerk, produce identification, and wait while the valuables are retrieved.

This multistep procedure is inconvenient for the guest and requires a great deal of time and attention from hotel staff. The safe deposit box area must always be staffed for both security and guest requests. In a busy downtown hotel this service could become a desk clerk's full-time job.

Safe deposit boxes generate hotel income. Each guest pays a small daily fee for the use of a box. Many guests, however, view the trek to the front desk for their valuables as a nuisance and are more likely to take their chances and keep valuables in the room.

The alternative--installing a personal safe in every guest room--is practical and efficient and offers considerable revenue potential for the hotel. In fact, one of the Automobile Association of America's recommendations to hotels striving for a four-diamond rating is that they have in-room safes.

In-room safes allow guests to secure and remove valuables whenever they like, without staff assistance. The safes benefit the front desk staff as well by eliminating the desk traffic caused by safe deposit boxes. The registration staff simply issues a key or combination number to the guest during check-in.

Safes come in a number of shapes and sizes with a variety of installation options and locking mechanisms. Recently, safes have become available in a choice of colors to blend into any room decor.

Choosing a locking mechanism for in-room safes can make a significant difference in maintenance time, cost to the hotel, and generated revenue. The more maintenance-free the lock, the more convenient it will be for the hotel to have on the premises. The easier the lock is to use, the more likely guests will be to use it--resulting in income for the hotel.

The most popular locks include:

The plastic card lock. At check-in guests receive a plastic card with the lock combination encoded on it. The card inserts smoothly into the lock from the top--no dials, visible numbers, or keyholes are involved.

Plastic card locks have many advantages for the guest and the hotelier. For example, if a guest loses the card, the hotel's security staff simply uses an encoding tool to recode the lock in seconds, actually changing the combination, and produces a new card. Should the original card be found, it will no longer open the safe.

The key card carries no identifying marks, such as a room number. If the card is lost, its finder will have no visible clues to follow to the matching safe.

Plastic card locks require no electrical or battery power to operate, making them secure even in the event of a power failure, and their construction makes them virtually pick-proof. In fact, the US Mint and the FBI use these locks for some safes.

The digital lock. These electronic locks include a standard numerical keypad on the door of the safe. Guests are given a combination when they check into the hotel and can easily operate the lock without keeping track of a key.

Combination locks require guests to remember the series of numbers that will open the room safes. …

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