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Hotels Near Airports Provide Better Safety and Security
Features According to The Center for Hospitality
Research - Cornell Hotel School 

ITHACA, N.Y. - December 10, 2002 - People who worry about traveling and spending time in public places may be relieved to learn that most U.S. hotels are pretty safe places to be, a study by a Cornell University hospitality-industry expert finds.

Hotels near airports offer the most safety and security features, with large hotels, luxury hotels of any size and new hotels also ranking high on the safety and security indexes devised by Cathy Enz, a professor at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, and Masako Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate at the school.

Enz, who is director of the Hotel School's Center for Hospitality Research, said: "A significant proportion of the 2,123 hotels included in our study rated 85 percent or higher on our indexes, which looked at such features as security camera monitoring systems, secured corridors, electronic locks and sprinkler systems. That news is reassuring now that we're seeing a heightened concern among the general public about how safe we are in public buildings, including hotels."

In general, the newer the hotel, the higher its safety and security scores, the researchers found. "This is probably because electronic locks, sprinklers and interior corridors are relatively less common in older hotels than in hotels built in the last decade," said Enz. Luxury hotels are the exception, she noted. "Because they are renovated frequently, even the oldest ones are likely to have the latest safety and security features." Accordingly, after airport hotels, luxury and upscale hotels had the highest scores for safety and security. All-suite properties and convention hotels also scored high.

While resorts scored low on the physical safety and security features, Enz attributed some of that result to customer demands for such amenities as rooms that open onto balconies overlooking such public areas as pools or the ocean. "It may be that what we want in a resort, we don't want in urban hotel properties," Enz said.

Motels had the lowest safety and security score, and bed-and-breakfast properties and condominiums also scored low, most likely because many lack sprinklers and electronic door locks, Enz commented.

In an earlier survey published in February 2002, Enz found hotel general managers reported few changes in safety and security measures or added security staff members following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. "While no place is immune to danger, taken together the two studies suggest that hotels had already implemented many of the safety and security features we found in our new survey and were fairly safe, secure places to begin with," said Enz.

Enz and Taylor used data from the 2001 American Hotel & Lodging Survey prepared by RealTime Hotel Reports, which is part of Smith Travel Research.  The researchers checked for these five key safety features: sprinklers, smoke detectors, in-room safety information, safety videos and security cameras; and these five security features: electronic locks, interior corridors, security cameras, in-room safety information and a safety video.  They gave a weighted score for each feature to create separate safety and security indexes, each with a potential perfect score of 100 (the features measured are listed above in descending weighted order).

The Center for Hospitality Research 
Cornell Hotel School
 (607) 255-9780 

Also See: Safety & Security Issues Surrounding MOD Programs / Aug 2002
Safety and Convenience Issues of Air Travel Continue to Restrain U.S. Lodging Demand / Nov 2002

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