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Hotel Common Sense

“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hoteliers:
Safety and Security 
(Part one of two)



by  Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, September 2006

This series of hospitality industry strategies has been receiving strong interest in readership and response and has prompted a number of people to request that certain topics be discussed in this forum.   The last topic in housekeeping was re-enforced by input from Aleta Nitschke, CHA, Founder, of The Rooms Chronicle and I decided to be seek counsel and suggestion from some of my industry associates on the next several issues. 

“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hoteliers:  Safety and Security  (Part one of two)

The numbers 9-1-1 have evolved from the emergency response system to one that evokes a wide range of emotions, especially for citizens of the USA.  Nine – Eleven means today a vivid reminder of what can unexpectedly happen to us. The hurricane season of 2005, the fires that affected many western states, the flooding in the northeast US in early 2006 are all examples of potential crises that can tax our resources.

I am very appreciative to have received input from one of the industry’s most recognized authorities on risk management, Professor Ray Ellis, Jr.  Ray, a proud octogenarian , is a Professor at the Hilton College of Hospitality Management at the University of Houston.  Ray also serves as the Director of the Loss Prevention Management Institute and the primary author of the LOSS PREVENTION MANAGEMENT BULLETIN. .   

As a reminder of why the use of a BAKERS DOZEN, we often see a top ten list of ideas.  The term "bakers dozen" arose when bakers started giving away an extra loaf with every dozen purchased to make sure the total weight of bread sold complied with the strict Weights and Measures Regulations which came into force at the time. Since then, the number thirteen has been referred to as "a baker's dozen". 

“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hoteliers:  
Safety and Security (Part one of two)


1. Become aware of the real costs of safety.   The direct and insurance costs are obvious. Higher claims, especially if there is fault involved, can delay payments or cause extended periods of legal entanglement.   We should not  overlook the  hidden costs of lost productivity, of overtime to cover absence of an injured employee, inefficiencies in service, the loss of guests to other hotels requiring expensive marketing to regain lost market share.   This list  can be very extensive.

2. Define  safety through control of safe practices and elimination of workplace hazards.  Your insurance carrier will assist you in this effort – they want you to providing safe environments.

3. When hiring, consider job safety analysis. This is of special value when interviewing a disabled applicant. (There is no question nor "gray areas" as to what is required on the job and what capability the disabled person must bring to the task.) 

4. Remember the costs affiliated with workers compensation. – Workers’ Compensation hearings before an administrative judge usually require legal representation. These and court fees become additional factors on the part of the lodging establishment .

5. Always strive to maintain a property that will  present minimal hazards to the public and guests.  Constant awareness by staff to those conditions that might contribute to an accident with immediate mitigation of such circumstances is essential.

6. Create and actively sponsor a property Safety Committee.   An effective and involved safety committee representing staff, supervision and management can make a real difference in anticipating and preventing potentially dangerous situations, and can also help in the event of a lawsuit if you can demonstrate reasonable care..

7. Maintain the proper types of Workers Compensation and Employee Litigation insurance.  Workers’ Compensation  is experience-rated and you can directly influence and control the premium costs through an effective accident prevention program. Casualty coverage will provide the same dimension in incidents involving guests and the public. 

8. Train, Train, Train.  Ray Ellis’s "pet" is the development of an American Red Cross multi-media First Aid program which will train EVERY employee in first aid and CPR.  With this kind of training , in any incident, there is a person ready to respond.  One does not have to dash around trying to find a person who can give CPR to the guest who just collapsed on the lobby floor. 

9. Establish and practice Preventive Maintenance.  These staff and management practices should include an on-going and documented  safety inspection protocol throughout the lodging establishment. 

10.  Certify staff.  Certifications in Certified Safety Professional (CSP) are available through the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), as well  and certified American Red Cross First Aid and CPR trainee. 

11. Make Safety practices visible and important.  Recognition programs for safety excellence by individual, department or property in a hotel organization pay for themselves in terms of dollars and appreciation by guests and staff.

12. Keep current. Keeping involved with the Loss Prevention Committee of the AH&LF, the Retail, Services and Logistics Section of the National Safety Council or the Hospitality Branch of the American Society of Safety Engineers is a measurable way of remaining alert.  A continuing awareness of and compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act mandates (OSHA) is essential.

13.  Ask your teams in every area  for input.  Your staff, supervisors and managers should be encouraged to make suggestions to the Safety Committee through a formal suggestion program that ideally includes rewards for great ideas.

A WORD TO INDEPENDENTS - if your hotel is not part of a brand,  your local hotel association will likely know of qualified programs or products 

Think Tank  

Questions of the day

These questions are offered to stimulate discussion about the way we do business.  There is not necessarily only one “correct” answer – the reason for this section of the column is to promote an awareness of how we might all improve our operations.  Consider using these or similar questions at staff meetings encourage your team to THINK!


“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hoteliers:  Safety and Security
  1. Do you have a SAFETY COMMITTEE?   If yes, do you document their regular meetings?  If no, why not? 
  2. Do you know how much your workers’ compensation experience rating is?  Have you taken steps to improve your record?   
  3. When was the last time you had a fire drill with your staff and listened to their suggestion on how to deal with problems?
  4. How much safety training have you completed at your hotel in the last quarter? The last year? 
Feel free to share an idea and contact me at anytime and remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication or of Best Western International.
All rights reserved by John Hogan. 

This column will be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.
John Hogan, Ph.D. CHE CHA MHS is the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for Best Western International, the world’s largest hotel chain.  Best Western International has more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries and is one of the worlds most established and recognized hotel brands, founded in 1946 in California.

He serves on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity including the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the AAHOA Education and eCommerce Committee and is the Best Western liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.

His 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 is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) , a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), a Master Hotel Supplier (MHS), and a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and his Ph.D. in International Business and an MBA via Distance Learning from UNW.    He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor for 20 years, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independents hotels.  Prior to joining Best Western International in spring of 2000, 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 has conducted an estimated 3,000 workshops and seminars in his career to date.

He has published more than 300 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 HSMAI ,, and other industry sources. 
He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and is working on his 2nd book – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.

Additional Contact information:  Ray Ellis, Jr. Director of the Loss Prevention Management Institute RCEllis@central.UH.EDU

The LOSS PREVENTION MANAGEMENT BULLETIN is prepared as a service of the AH&LA by the Loss Prevention Management Institute, Conrad N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Funded by gifts from the American Hotel and Lodging Education Foundation.  It has been re-formatted and a search engine has been added. It is possible to search by subject area and the article will appear with date and attribution in the event a reader wishes to “lift” an article and use it for a bulletin, magazine or other safety or security communication. The materials in the BULLETIN and in the re-formatted articles are not under copyright so the reader may have ready use of the data.


Dr. John J. Hogan, CHA MHS CHE 
Director, Education & Cultural Diversity 
Best Western International -
6201 N. 24th Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85016-2023 
Phone 602-957-5810; 
fax 602-957-5815

"...we all need a regular dose of common sense "
Also See: A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Front Office Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / August 2006
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Front Office Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / July 2006
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Sales & Marketing Professionals / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / June 2006
"A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel General Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / May 2006
“A Bakers Dozen” of Ideas for Hotel Management Company Executives / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / April 2006


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