Hotel Technology: Panic Buttons Staff Alert

Hotels Need to Act Quickly to Equip Employees with Staff Alert Panic Buttons

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Due to the nature of their jobs, hotel employees often work alone and work late hours.  Consequently, they are vulnerable to sexual assaults and workplace violence.  58% of hotel workers disclosed that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted during the course of their work.  49% of hotel workers reported that guests have subjected them to some form of indecent exposure when they opened guestroom doors and nearly 15% said they have been in situations where they have been trapped or cornered by guests.  Although major hotel brands have been focusing on employee safety and some states and cities have passed laws requiring that hotel employees be equipped with hotel panic buttons, hotels need to act quickly to ensure the safety of their most vulnerable employees.

Recent Violent Incidences Against Hotel Employees

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Hotel workers around the country remain vulnerable to assaults and these violent attacks are becoming more prevalent.  This year alone there have been numerous cases of violence against hotel employees.

  • In January of 2021, a hotel employee in a Raleigh, North Carolina hotel was attacked, kidnapped and assaulted while cleaning a room.
  • In March of 2021, a guestroom attendant in a Las Vegas hotel was attacked and assaulted while at work.
  • In April of 2021, a guestroom attendant in Salem, New Hampshire was ambushed and strangled while in the process of cleaning a room.
  • In April of 2021, a guestroom attendant in Venice, Florida was brutally attacked and beaten and died as a result of her injuries.  Surveillance cameras later showed the man entering the hotel room where the employee had been working.

Hotels that Have Implemented Employee Safety Devices/ Panic Buttons

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Hotels like the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites reported that hotel panic button technology has improved communication and guestroom attendants no longer felt isolated on guest floors.  They are able to stay connected to team members throughout their shifts.

The Thunder Valley Casino and Resort in Las Vegas believe that hotel panic buttons are invaluable and have been used to protect employees against threatening situations and have also been used during medical emergencies.

Hotels reported that:

·      The implementation process was seamless, and training was clear and simple.

·      Panic buttons/ employee safety devices integrated well with the hotel’s existing technology.

·      Panic buttons/ employee safety devices offered reassurance that helpful resources are being deployed to accurate locations.

·      Panic buttons/ employee safety devices improved communication between team members.

·      Panic buttons/ employee safety devices met budgetary needs.

·      Panic buttons/ employee safety devices offered an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

AHLA’s 5- Star Promise

According to the AHLA, almost 60 hotel companies representing 20,000 properties have made the pledge to equip employees with panic buttons/ safety devices as a part of the AHLA’s 5-star promise.  It has been estimated that 5,000 hotels have already issued safety devices/ hotel panic buttons to employees, but over 10,000 hotels have yet to comply.

Hotel Brands Employee Safety/ Panic Button Initiatives

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The goal to deploy employee safety devices/ panic buttons was initially set to take place by 2020, however due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, some brands have extended their deadlines.

Marriott International Hotels
Marriott International, plans to provide employees in the U.S. and Canada with safety devices/panic buttons, with the goal to fully install and integrate by 2020.

Hilton
Hilton has already implemented employee safety devices at numerous hotel locations and plan to deploy devices for all employees working in guestrooms at Hilton-managed properties in the U.S. by 2020.  In addition, Hilton plans to include anti-harassment and anti-trafficking policies and training at all their properties.

Hyatt
Hyatt became one of the first hotel brands to issue safety devices to employee who work in guestrooms.  This is a brand standard for Hyatt-managed full-service hotels in the U.S., and more than half of full-service franchise Hyatt hotels will implement safety devices to staff.

IHG
IHG has deployed safety devices to employees at numerous hotel locations within the U.S. and plan to fully implement safety devices at their managed hotels in the U.S. by 2020.  As well as mandatory and enhanced workplace training for corporate and hotel employees in the U.S.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts plan to deploy employee safety devices to all employees in the U.S. who are assigned to work alone in guestrooms.  These devices will be provided to the employee at no cost.  Wyndham also plans to roll out mandatory, annual anti-sexual harassment, discrimination, and human trafficking training for all employees.

AccorHotels
Accor plans to equip employees who enter guestrooms and restrooms unaccompanied with safety devices by 2020.  Accor also has a strict policy against sexual harassment and will also provide mandatory trainings to employees.

Best Western Hotels
Best Western branded hotels in the U.S. are required by the end of 2020 to provide employees with safety devices, at no cost to hotel employees who are assigned to work alone in hotel guestrooms or hotel areas.  In addition, employees will be provided with training to identify and report sexual harassment.

Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson will deploy employee safety devices for hotel employees who work alone in guestrooms by 2020. Mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies and trainings will be provided to all employees.

Hotel Panic Button Legislations that Affect Your Hotels

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In addition to the AHLA’s 5-star promise, new laws and ordinances have been put in place that require hotels to provide employees with safety devices /panic buttons.  Different states have different requirements and timeframes for hotels to become compliant.  Deadlines are fast approaching for hotels in the states and cities listed below, where panic button laws have become effective or are in the process of being passed.

Statewide Hotel Panic Button Legislations

Illinois
Date of Compliance
The deadline for hotels to become compliant was July 1st, 2020 but was extended to March 1, 2021.  Hotels and casinos are responsible for equipping employees who are assigned to work in guest rooms, restrooms, or casino floors, where no other employee is present in the room or area, with a safety device or a notification device.

Washington State
Date of Compliance
Hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms must become compliant by January 1st, 2020, with all other businesses meeting the requirement by January 1st, 2021.  All hotels, motels, retail, or property services contractor, who employs an employee must provide a panic button to each employee.

New Jersey
Date of compliance
The deadline for hotels to become compliant was January 1, 2020.  The Panic Button Law requires hotels, inns, boarding houses, motels or other similar establishments with at least 100 guest rooms to provide panic buttons to hotel employees assigned to work in a guest room without any other employee present.

Massachusetts
Date of compliance
Ordinance is still pending: Will take effect 1 year after passage.  Hotels with at least 25 rooms are required to provide employees assigned to work in guest rooms or in any enclosed area, where no other employees are present and where guests may be reasonably expected to be present, with panic buttons.

Passed City Ordinances for Hotel Panic Buttons

Santa Monica, CA
Date of Compliance
The ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020.  Hotels must provide employees assigned to work in guest room or rest rooms with safety devices to prevent sexual violence or threatening behavior.

Oakland, CA
Date of Compliance
The deadline for compliance was July 1, 2020.  Hotels with 50 or more guest rooms must provide panic buttons to all hotel employees assigned to work in a guest room or bathroom without other employees present.

Long Beach, CA
Date of Compliance
Any hotel containing 50 or more guestrooms must become compliant no later than 6 months following the effective date of November 13, 2018.  All other hotels containing less than 50 guest rooms are required to become compliant no later than 1 year following the effective date of November 13, 2018.

Sacramento, CA
Date of Compliance
The ordinance became effective on March 29, 2018.  The county will provide a 60-day grace period for businesses to comply with the ordinance after it takes effect.  Hotels and motels with 25 or more rooms that are located in the unincorporated area of Sacramento County provide each employee with a panic button or notification device.

Miami Beach, Florida
Date of Compliance
The deadline for compliance is August 1st, 2019.  Hotels are required to provide panic buttons or notification devices to each hotel or hostel employee.

Proposed Hotel Panic Button Legislations

New Mexico, California and Washington D.C.

Union Negotiated Hotel Panic Button Requirement

Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Hawaii, New York City

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