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Advice to Hotel Security Professionals...
from a Woman Traveler

By Tom R. Arterburn, August 24, 2010

More and more surveys suggest women are traveling more and more.  They now represent more than 40 percent of all business travelers.

"And many of these women have never traveled before," says Mary Beth Bond, travel expert, “so safety is often on their minds.”  Sixty-one percent of women pleasure travelers feel concerned about their safety and security of travel in general, compared to 49 percent of men pleasure travelers, according to a TIA report.

Her advice to hotel security professionals?

--Put a card in the room with safety tips for travelers, such as:  Avoid displaying room keys in public places - on the restaurant table next to you, on the bar while you order a drink, or on a chair by the swimming pool, where it could be stolen or a predator could read your room number.  "This is a very low-cost, effective way to educate women about hotel security.  It shows you care."
--Make sure front desk staff do not mention the name or room number of female guests at check in. 
--Encourage reservationists to provide women with a good room location.  "The safest and most convenient rooms are clearly visible from the elevator or near a center of activity.  Never give a single woman a first-floor room with sliding glass doors.”
--Discourage room service attendants from indicating anything on tickets that might suggest the female guest is alone.  "You fill it out, but just list first initial and last name."
--Ensure that employees, doing work in the room, display their identification before entering the room.
--Warn employees against fraternization.  "There was a woman who had a sexual relationship with the assistant manager of the hotel, who got up, got dressed, and left the room with all her cash while she was in the bathroom.  He was an employee of the hotel, so who was the hotel staff going to believe?"
--"Always ask to see the identification of the second party coming to a female guest’s room, and call the room to confirm.  I heard a horror story, where a woman checked in, went up to her room, and luckily put the chain on her door, because at midnight somebody tried to get in.  There was this man, who saw her check in, heard her name, went to the front desk, and claimed to be the woman's husband, and he was given a key."
--Provide escorts.  "Offer to walk a woman to her car.  They could make it a service, and it would certainly be seen as a value added program for the hotel."
--Make safety handouts available at the front desk.  "You can point out safe walking routes around the neighborhood, but maybe suggest that they not be taken after 9 O’clock at night." 
---When first entering the room, have the bellmen point out fire escapes, test the window to ensure it is locked, and remind a woman traveling alone to keep the door locked with the deadbolt and chain when they are in their rooms.
--Allow bellhops to be free with information about the safety of walking from the hotel to a nearby restaurant, movie theater or pharmacy. “They are often the most reliable source of information about the neighborhood.”

Bond, author of Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips (Travelers Tales), says the need for such services is necessary, despite concerns that women might be offended by the extra attention.

"You can be helpful without being condescending or patronizing.  Women business travelers have a lot on their minds.  Often, they are jet lagged, and don't take the precautions they might take at home.  So they appreciate the watchful eye of security at the hotel.  A female traveler is loyal, and if she likes your property, she'll come back again, and again, and again.  She will also talk about your property, so it is good business to make her a partner.  Female travelers also like service, and their number one concern when they travel is their personal safety.  We are aware of the footsteps behind us from the moment we step out the door.  But sometimes the battery may be low on our personal safety antennas.”

Bond is the award-winning author/editor of five travel books. She was the travel expert for CBS Evening Magazine, and was also a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has appeared on over 250 television and radio shows,  and runs the Web site

Tom R. Arterburn is an independent journalist and director of The Resume Institute, a job-search firm focused on the hotel industry.


Tom R. Arterburn, Executive Director 

Also See: Road Rules for Women Business Travelers / Nikko Hotels / Feb 2002
Wyndham’s Women Awards Finalists Share Their Business Travel Secrets; Top Ten suggestions will be located in the guest services directory in every Wyndham guest room / Mar 2001

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