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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 25,  2009

>Hotel Common Sense –

Robbery Attempts on the Increase -
Safety and Security Reminders

By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, November 25, 2009

Because hospitality establishments have a certain amount of cash on hand, agents and cashiers face the danger of robberies.  While it may seem simple to advise these staff associates to remain calm, the abundance of mixed messages from the mass media (movies, television and even video games) relating to how to best address this situation can be confusing.

There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing. 
Brian Tracy

 

I am neither an attorney nor a law enforcement officer, but I have learned a number of reasonable care practices in my career.  I also have had the good fortune to know one of the industry’s leading professionals on security and loss prevention, Ray Ellis.  Ray finally retired in the spring of 2009 from the Hospitality Program at the Hilton School of Hotel Management at the University of Houston the age of 90, following an award-winning career. His career included service with AH&LA and his specialization  in Facilities Management and Loss Prevention Management assisted him obtaining underwriting for both his position at the University of Houston and his monthly Loss Prevention Bulletin which is distributed regularly to thousands of hotels and all of the major brands. 

Unemployment is at high levels in many locations globally, and the coming holiday seasons should be a reminder to observe common sense when dealing with this sensitive issue of preparedness.  In my career, I have noted an increase in robbery attempts at a number of different types of hospitality operations in the period from late November through the end of the year.

The following ideas are among those championed by Ray in his writings and books, including SECURITY and LOSS PREVENTION MANAGEMENT, published by the Educational Institute of AH&LA and used in many hospitality programs.

1. Cashiers should comply with a robber’s demands and make no sudden movements that the robber might interpret as an attempt to prevent the robbery.
2. Cashiers should not do anything to endanger their own or other lives.
3. Cashiers and desk agents should be aware that amateur criminals are often edgy and nervous, so cooperation is important.
4. Management and ownership might consider silent alarms in the cash drawer that automatically activates when a certain item or pack of bills is removed. Care should be taken to not draw attention to an alarm.
5. Cashiers should not attempt lengthy conversations or make unsolicited comments with a robber.

If your hotel is branded, there is likely a solid bank of training material available from your franchisor’s training services.  Your hospitality association is another valuable source of information, as is your insurance carrier.  Your local law enforcement agencies are also highly motivated to be of assistance.

The following is a representative form that contains the vital information needed in the event of an armed robbery.  There are many variations available.

Armed Robbery Report (sample)

Name:

 

Business:

 

Time:

 

Contact Phone:

 

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SUSPECT(s) IDENTITY         FILL IN AS MANY BLANKS AS POSSIBLE

Offender:

Sex:

 

Age:

 

Height:

 

Complexion:

 

Race:

 

Hair (color/length):

 

Eyes:

 

Build:

 

Weight

 

Left/Right Handed

 

Speech (lisp, accent, etc.)

 

Other (glasses, beard, etc.)

 

# of Suspects

 

Piercings, jewelry

 

Disguises used by offender:

 

Words used by Offender:

(Names Used)

Comments (Scars/Tattoos/Peculiarities):

 

Weapon(s) Used:

 TYPE OF WEAPON

Handgun  __________________________________________________

Shotgun   __________________________________________________

Knife______________________________________________________

Other__________________________________________________

  Method of Escape

 

 Direction of Escape

 Vehicle Details:

 Distinguishing Marks

 

Type:

 

Make:

 

Color:

 

License Plate #

 

 

Number of Occupants:

Other Evidence Left:

Locate Witnesses:








  • Every witness should write their own version of the incident
  • WITNESSES SHOULD NOT DISCUSS OR COMPARE NOTES
  • WITNESSES SHOULD NOT TOUCH EXHIBITS
  • Contact Police


A Bakers’ Dozen of Reminders for

CRIME PREVENTION for ARMED ROBBERY!

 

  1. Have you maintained visibility into your business?
  2. Are your shop or outlet displays free from posters and signs?
  3. Are your counters and cases law enough for line of sight?
  4. Are all sections of business are visible from central cashier area?
  5. Do you call authorities if you suspect someone?
  6. Have you secured your desk or cashier operation if there is a reason for concern?
  7. Have you installed a holdup alarm system and instructed staff in its use?
  8.  Do you keep minimal cash?
  9.  Is your routine for bank deposits varied?
  10.  Is your safe locked at all times?
  11.  Have you taught robbery prevention to employees?
  12.  Are references checked before hiring new employees?
  13.  Do two or more people open and close your business?

 

What are you doing at your hotel today?

Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ………….

And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com, www.smartbizzonline.com  and other industry sources.   

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

 

Raymond Clinton Ellis, Jr.     Professor, Association Executive, Industry Safety Leader
 
Ray Ellis is a hotel professional who continued to surprise the industry leadership with his resourcefulness and ability to continually re-invent himself.   He earned his academic PhD and MBA credentials in the 1950s at the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree at Ohio State University in 1943.   Ray retired in 2009 at age 90 from active service as Professor & Director of Loss Prevention Management Institute at the Conrad N. Hilton College at the University of Houston.   
 
Ray became an industry champion in an area that was relatively low profile – that of promoting hotel fire safety.  In the 1970s and 1980s, he interacted with many industry pioneers in safety and security technology. Ray became the leading spokesperson and advocate in his role as the American Hotel & Motel Association's director of research. He preached fire safety and loss prevention at industry meetings everywhere. 
 
He faced a life challenge when he reached the US traditional retirement age of 65, but Ray was not interested in tradition.  Using his vast network of contacts, he continued to spearhead industry attention and focus on a number of issues.   He remained a driving force for years in several association committees, and interacted with a number of national groups including  the AH&LA Engineering & Environment and Loss Prevention Committees and Risk Management Group.   He became an active supporter of the increased attention to the US military accommodations around the world and was instrumental in many of their managers earning industry certifications.  He was also on many teams conducting annual assessments and judging for the US Government.
 
His specialization  in Facilities Management and Loss Prevention Management assisted him obtaining underwriting for both his position at the University of Houston and his monthly Loss Prevention Bulletin which is distributed regularly to thousands of hotels and all of the major brands.  The BULLETIN was created to provide an ongoing communication to members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association of the important issues and news affecting the management of loss prevention in individual hotel properties. Each month a copy of the BULLETIN is sent to the member state associations of the AH&LA.  With Ray’s guidance, HOSPITALITYLAWYER.com has now assumed distribution and preparation of the Bulletin
 
Certifications and Recognition
Not one to pay lip service to the need for continuing education, Ellis has earned in the 1980s and 1990s the professional acknowledgments of Certified Hospitality Technology Professional, Certified Hospitality Educator and Certified Lodging Security Director.    Ellis has been honored with a number of Awards, including the Distinguished Service to Safety Award, National Safety Council, 1986 Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and 1989 Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding Educator, Educational Institute of American Hotel & Motel Association 
 
The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) also acknowledged his accomplishments by naming its highest lodging security award, the Raymond C. Ellis, Jr. Award.  This award, which recognizes excellence in security within the hotel and entertainment industry, is given at the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits show.
 
On a personal basis, Ray never married and never obtained a drivers’ license.  Some of his fondest recollections include the literally hundreds of families he has become attached to as an “uncle or grandfather” and the hundreds of thousands of miles he has flown in his lifetime of travel.


Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 

And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

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,  www.smartbizzonline.com  and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service 
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is a frequent speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment leading organizations at multiple levels.  His professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development, consulting, management, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations. 

As the principal in an independent training & consulting group, he served associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He has managed hotels with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independents and in his tenure at Best Western International, he created and launched a blended learning system for the world’s largest hotel chain.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career, including service as an adjunct faculty member for 20 years at three different institutions. 

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Contact:

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

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...

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