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Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, November 21, 2008

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Hoteliers Must Remember the
Lessons of Reasonable Care!

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By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS
November 21, 2008
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REASONABLE CARE - The degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would use under like circumstances. 

I am not an attorney by profession and do not offer legal advice, but at this time of year I find myself remembering a great educator and hotel industry resource who shared much with the hospitality industry in his many roles as professor, workshop leader and keynote speaker to most of the industry’s brands and associations.

The late Dr. Tony Marshall, formerly affiliated with Florida International University and The Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association has been called the Messenger of “Reasonable Care”    Much of the work in his career was aimed at trying to advise the hospitality industry of the many common sense approaches that it could and should take in addressing guest and hotel safety issues.  Marshall passed away in December of 2006, but his messages remain with us. 

The Concept of Reasonable Care  by definition, is "satisfying a legal duty to act as an ordinary, prudent, reasonable person not to do something that will cause injury to guests, customers, or invitees, or fail to do what will prevent such injury." 

There are many resources available to hoteliers today, including their insurance carriers and hotel attorneys.  The following  Bakers Dozen of “Reasonable Care” points are offered as reminders for how hoteliers in every segment of the industry should consider in their every day planning and training.

Keeping in mind the definition above, ask yourself these questions:
 

1. Is the lighting in lobbies, hallways and elevators proper and appropriate to the needs of guests and staff?  Are there dark places that should be evaluated?

2. When is guest room furniture examined for safety features and condition? This should include chairs, tables, lamps, etc.

3. When was the last time you documented the condition, availability and usage of in room safes and/or safe deposit boxes?

4. How often are the in door viewers checked?

5. What is your documented procedure on all locks at your hotel, including key card usage and monitoring, locks  between rooms, to balconies and other guest access areas?

6. How often is your exterior landscaping reviewed in terms of lighting, shrubbery trimming, general accessibility, etc.? 

7. How often is lobby and public space furniture checked for safety features, including banquet or breakfast equipment, portable dance floors, room dividers, pool furniture, etc?

8. What are your established policies and responses to slips and falls that may occur at your hotel? 

9. If your hotel serves any kind of food or alcohol, what is your documented training related to food safety and liquor liability awareness? Both the AH&LA and the NRA have strong commitments to approved programs such as SERVE SAFE

10. METH LABS have been found in hotels around the world and are a growing concern, as well as other drug trafficking .What are your preventative plans and response actions relating to potential danger from drugs? 

11. Are your hotel in house policies very clear and documented on  drinking, drugs on property, firearms and other significant topics 

12. Not all hotels have dedicated security staff but every hotel should have a staff that is trained from day one to be observant and attentive to safety and security issues.  Documenting all training and possibly including this critical requirement in every job description reminds all staff of what reasonable care stands for. 

13. Continuing education  is just that – ongoing awareness and concern for guests and staff.  The major brands all offer basics in safety and security orientation, but it is the ultimate and legal responsibility of the individual hotel owner and manager to introduce, monitor and maintain their own plan. 

I offer the following as a proven resource from personal experience and professional reputation.  Dr. Stephen Barth   Sbarth@HospitalityLawyer.com


Feel free to share an idea at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops or speaking engagements.  Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE  www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan.   This column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.

John Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis.  He holds a number of industry certifications and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands.  He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20 year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels.  He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness.  He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain. 

He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.  He has conducted an estimated 3,100 workshops and seminars in his career.  He served as senior vice president for a client in a specialty hotel brand for six years.

He has published more than 350 articles & columns on the hotel industry and is co-author (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from a range of industry sources and AMAZON.com.  He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and is finalizing his 2nd book based on his dissertation –     The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.
 

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Contact:

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
johnjhogan@yahoo.com

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Also See: Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
...


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