Safety & Security: Whose Responsibility Is It? Experts Say It Is A Shared Responsibility Between Hotel Owners, Guests

NEW YORK? Ray Ellis is not the only expert with certain well-defined opinions about the current state of safety and security affairs at hotels across the nation and around the world. Marriott Lodging?s Chad Callaghan and Bass Hotels and Resorts? Wendell Couch are at least equally adamant about who should accept responsibility for a guest?s well-being. As noted by Callaghan, such responsibility is actually the fruit of a ?partnership? effort encompassing hotel management, staff, and the guests themselves. ?Everyone has to do their part in ensuring safety or even the best of systems is sure to break down,? said the vp for loss prevention. ?Management?s responsibility encompasses developing effective employee-training programs as well as incorporating/utilizing reliable and sophisticated security products,? Callaghan said. ?As for hotel employees, their mission is the day-to-day implementation of safety and security procedures, all the while serving as the eyes and ears of management and ultimately, ownership.? But guests have a vital role to play, too, he added. ?It?s imperative that they understand and use the provisions that have been expressly set-up to safeguard their own well-being.? Along these lines, Callaghan maintained, what may well be the biggest challenge facing the hotel industry today is the education of the guest, with the overriding rationale being that the paying public needs to realize that most circumstances that can victimize them are eminently preventable. As for Couch, he, too agreed that guest safety and security demands shared responsibility. According to the director of risk operations, ?hotels have an obligation to provide reasonable care, while guests have an obligation to follow recommended procedures and make use of all equipment in place for their well-being.? However, Couch did differ with Callaghan on the subject of the greatest challenge facing this aspect of lodging operations. ?We are increasingly being pressured to do more [about guest safety and security]with less [operating monies],? he lamented. ?In short, we often find we?re battling the bottom line, but it?s a battle that?s necessary if we?re to continue to effectively protect and safeguard our guests.?