Positive guest experience is paramount in the hospitality industry- this includes the service from hotel staff, cleanliness and comfort of the room, but most importantly hotel security. According to the recent White Paper "A Survey on the Current State of Hotel Security," the industry is subject to new risks (along with the traditional) which can lead to a negative guest experience with both financial and legal repercussions.
So what did the survey find are current oppotrunities for security reinforcement? And what can be done to ensure a positive guest experience and prevention malicious incidents?
Only 27% of the hospitality industry reports having security personnel on duty 24/7; meanwhile, 47% of hotels and the like experience 0-50 thefts annually, with 18% reporting between 500-1000 thefts, and even more alarming 2001 plus thefts in 6% of these places.
External threats are of course a concern for properties, but too often hotels are seeing room thefts conducted by a trusted individual with internal access. These breaches at times occur by accident, but still with malicious intent. "Travelers expect their hotel rooms to be their sanctuary, a place where they can store their personal belongings and sleep without fear." (White Paper, 2) Hotel safes are a common place for guests to secure their belongings- it is much more convenient than a communal safety deposit box, giving guests access to their affects in-room. But how can a guest be sure that someone won't come in later with a master key, open up the wall safe or drawer safe, and take items? The best form of prevention is an having the ability to keep track of all entries to the safe. When an individual knows there are measures which can document all usage, they are then less likely to attempt a theft. 240 Audit trails are a great way to document said safe openings, and Safemark safes employ such technology.
The next security pitfall? 19% of hotels do not know the last time they updated their door lock systems. At the 2012 Black Hat Security Conference, a flaw in hotel keycards was discovered: they could be hacked. In a note from Callaghan, hotels have been advised to upgrade to RFID door lock technology, with the lock and keycards employing advanced encryption. Such measures can prevent a hacker from being able to access millions of rooms.
Contact one of Safemark's Security experts today for a review of your hotel security plan and how we can help fulfill your needs and ensure you don't have a negative guest experience.
This March, Safemark is set to dazzle the exhibit floor at BDwest in San Diego. BDwest- multi-faceted trade fair experience focused on innovation and creativity- serves hospitality design professionals in the western United States, Mexico and Central America. 2014 serves as the second annual marker for BDwest, following a very successful debut in 2013. A break from traditional trade shows, BDwest seeks to introduce the most cutting edge products and innovative ideas to a market that demands experiential design. So how does Safemark fit in? At Safemark, we believe in listening to and anticipating the needs of our customers, while delivering outstanding and reliable service with a focus on quality and innovation. Innovation and focusing on needs are the key takeaways here; it is through these values that we take hotel security to the next level.
At this year’s BDwest, Safemark will be unveiling a whole new side to hotel security and the protection of personal valuables. Come by and visit our booth, and experience the changing face of hotel safes.
March 20-21, 2014
San Diego Convention Center
111 W Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA
Safemark stands apart from other hotel safe providers with a strong commitment to exceptional craftsmanship and the highest security standards. Those words were put to the test not long ago when a Safemark customer, Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, experienced a fire.
The fire was contained to one room on the second floor of the hotel’s South Champlain building. Officials noted the accidental fire began during renovations when vapor from flammable glue burst into flames after a propane torch ignited construction material. The damage is estimated at $30,000.
Safemark’s AN 5.3 hotel safe was installed on a shelf less than a foot away from the sprinkler system. When the blaze occurred, the safe received major fire and water damage, however, is still intact and functional. The outside was obviously charred by the flames, yet the safe maintained its structure. The electronic keypad was damaged as well, but the numbers are still visible and the backlit keypad continues to illuminate. More importantly, the safe’s keypad is still functional. Although the door is off kilter, one can clearly see the steel bolts locking and unlocking on cue. The staff member can even manually lock and unlock the safe with the override key.
How is this possible? Although Safemark’s safes are not fire rated (a required feature for hotel doors, but not hotel safes), our 30+ years in the hospitality industry has allowed us to perfect the manufacturing of safes. We won’t skimp when it comes to using quality materials that result in reliable, long lasting safes. We made that decision long ago and today it’s separating our company from others.
We are relieved the Sheraton’s fire damage was minimal. South Burlington Deputy Fire Chief Terry Francis said the Sheraton’s fire evacuation plan worked seamlessly. The hotel had also upgraded its fire alarm system recently and most of the fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system before the fire department arrived.
Nick joined the Safemark Direct Sales Team on 4th November and has direct responsibility for growing our business in mainland China.
“I’m so pleased to finally have a Safemark person based in China as our primary ‘go to’ person for all our customers in China", said Jennifer Ferris Vice President of Asia-Pacific, “and Nick has a perfect background to work well with owners and management companies."
Nick comes from a hotel background having worked at a number of IHG properties over the years. His last two roles were quite challenging as he not only performed the duties of the Front Office Manager in these newly opening properties but was the property's General Project Manager working between the owners and the management team. This experience will be invaluable as he goes to work for Safemark understanding and balancing the needs of Brand Standards against project budgets.
”I was ready for a new challenge and Safemark offers me that opportunity while allowing me to stay in the hospitality industry which I love” says Nick. “I was already familiar with the Safemark product and I’m relishing the opportunity to go out into the industry representing a product I really believe in”.
With global contracts, preferred supplier arrangements and regional approvals with hotel companies such as Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Carlson, Starwood and Kempinski, Nick certainly has his work cut out for him.
Nick will be driving the Safemark business forward from his home base in
Chengdu, Sichuan province but Nick originally comes from Yili in Xinjiang. He is married with a four-year-old daughter plays guitar and cooks!
Nick can be reached at:
Telephone: +86 15308063729
Safemark is pleased to appoint Bruce Humphrey as regional sales manager. Mr. Humphrey brings nearly two decades of industry experience with a forte in guest service and security. He will be responsible for Safemark’s expanding portfolio of products in the Midwest region of the U.S.
“Bruce’s experience, reputation and integrity made his appointment an easy decision,” said Safemark VP of Sales, John Foley. “He is a true utility player and wellversed in the needs of hotel operations, security, and design. I’m confident he will continue Safemark’s tradition of first-class service.”
Prior to Safemark, Mr. Humphrey held management, sales and operations positions with respected hospitality suppliers including Bartech, Miwa and Nexus. Mr. Humphrey is based in a suburb of Chicago and can be reached at bhumphrey@safemark or (214) 578-1156.
Safemark was proud to be included as safe supplier to the Hi Connect show in Nashville, Tennessee, a unique show organised by Hotel Interactive with built out fully constructed vignettes created by the vision of leading hospitality designers, architects and purchasing professionals. And those who attended got to step into actual guest rooms and see products in the context in which they belong; in a real hotel environment.
During the show in Nashville I spoke with the team from FODA Design: award winning Principal Jennifer Kleen and interior designer Jeremy Jones. For more than 15 years, FODA has designed some of the world’s leading spas and resorts and have developed excellent relationships with the hospitality industry’s leading operators, consultants, and developers. With a focus on the luxury market they pride themselves on bringing a sense of place to their work and using materials in new and innovative ways.
I was glad to hear that business is growing for them, mostly in Central and South America but lately in the last six months or so they have seen a rise in domestic projects. We supplied our EN5.3 Executive 17” laptop compatible safe for their vignette, which was one of the most popular stands at the show.
Here’s some of the feedback they gave me.
How did you get involved with Hi Connect?
We received a call from Jay Viola from Hotel Interactive. He called us because we were on his list as we visited the year before. He had checked up on who we were and our work he asked if we would be interested in participating this year. We said we would think about it, and then we said yes! And we’re glad we did because this has been a tremendous experience for us.
How long has that process been? When did you start all of this?
The call from Jay came in September 2012 and we hit the ground running at that point because we knew it would be a complicated process to get the team involved to get a good solid concept and also to spend the time, love and energy that we have done to make the concept come to fruition.
Talk to me about your interaction with the vendors. Did you choose your own vendors or were you given them by the organisers?
It’s been a mix. We found a lot of our own vendors. We ran into a few stumbling blocks with some of them and we went back to HI Connect and asked if they had anyone else we could use. We also had a purchasing agent involved but 80 per cent of the vendors came from us.
We included some vendors that we had never worked with in any way before through HI Connect - there were a couple of holes but HI Connect helped us to fill some of those. HI Connect also introduced us to some of their global sponsors for this event such as Panasonic as well as Safemark of course.
So you have a mix of familiar vendors and new suppliers as well. That’s good as it creates many more interactions and possibilities. We try and talk to designers to find out what their thought process is about where the safe is going to go so that it is in a good spot for the guest. As designers, what’s that process with you when thinking about the safe and your selection of case goods?
This particular room is slightly different from our normal design as we had a choice to put in a closet with a safe as opposed to an armoire because this room is all about making everything efficient in one area. We have a sleeping zone and a living zone so the guest can concentrate on those experiences rather than on some of the more functional things such as storage and ironing that normally in a residential situation would be in a separate room altogether. We wanted to keep the safe off the floor and as high as we could get it as we didn’t want guests to have to go down on their knees to put in their belongings. That was just one of the many ergonomic considerations that we looked at for this room.
When it comes to including the functional items we need to have a safe, we need to have a mini-bar, and we need to have closet space with ironing board and iron. It’s always a lot nicer to have a specific functional area planned out to make the rest of the space more luxurious. And that is what we try to strive for because that is the market we know and enjoy. Putting all those details together for a luxury guestroom is a lot more challenging.
How has the show been and how have people responded?
It’s been great and very supportive. It’s been exciting to watch people get excited about your design and being able to talk people through it. It’s been well received with many saying they want to stay in the room literally.
We have had people come in and ask if our furniture was for sale and a lot saying that we are their favourite booth and that they really love the details of the design.
Would you do it again?
Yes, if what happens is going to happen and if we get business out of this. If we even get one or two projects then definitely we will do it again.
From the standpoint of manpower and the standpoint of getting to see a vision form, or a dream if you like, come to fruition that is something that we would definitely like to go through again. It will probably come down to timing and the amount of projects in the office. It’s been a wonderful experience in that we can act like a client. We like that. And thank you for donating your Safemark safe!
Throughout the HI Connect event all participants were invited to vote for their favourites in a number of different categories. FODA Design’s vignette – Upscale Guestroom – was voted People’s Choice Award, Best Guestroom! Safemark congratulates the team at FODA for this outstanding achievement.
Tel: (404) 501.0471
Jennifer Kleen, Principle
CNN conducted a “Consumer Connect: Travel & Tourism” survey between October and December 2012 to find out what the deciding factor is for tourists when they choose their travel destinations. The survey asked 3,106 respondents from more than 70 countries to evaluate their decision-making process before traveling.
The results put safety and security at the top of the list with 67%, more than two-thirds, saying safe venues are more appealing.
“That safety and security is significantly more important for respondents than the cost of travel, even in austere times, is an indicator that, in time of regional unrest, the pendulum has swung,” says Didier Mormesse, senior vice president of ad sales research, development and audience insight at CNN International.
Cost ranked a close second with 60% while reputation came in third with 58%.
According to the survey, respondents often turn to location-specific and travel websites when planning their trips. They also noted that recommendations and information from family and friends help in choosing their destination and hotel stay.
Safemark knows that safety should be a top priority. When booking a hotel, check to see what safety features the hotel offers. Guest room safes are a good way to keep guests’ valuables safe. Our safes are specially designed to hold items such as laptops and iPads while our peephole covers provide extra privacy.
Secure Those Important Documents
When traveling, along with identification documents, people often turn to credit cards for their financial needs. To protect one’s identity, we at Safemark would like to stress that you should not leave credit cards, passports, or other important valuables with your name and information lying around your hotel room. The door may have a lock on it, but leaving those items out could create several problems. If you don’t need to carry your passport or computer around during the actual vacation, your hotel safe can keep these valuables secure.
A hotel room should be a home away from home, and that includes feeling secure, so factor in safety next time you plan your getaway.
Last year, lock firm Onity was made aware of a security flaw that allowed computer hackers to break their locks and enter into hotel rooms. Onity announced that they were in the process of fixing it, but hackers are still manipulating the system with a new hacking technique.
After several break-ins at various hotels in Arizona, police and hotel staff concluded that the burglars gained access into the rooms by inserting a small device into a data port located on the bottom of the hotel locks. This data port stores the memory in which the hackers’ device used to access a digital key and trigger the opening mechanism of the lock.
Inside Edition recently did a report about these lock-breaking devices. Security researcher and software developer, Cody Brocious, demonstrated for the cameras how easy it is to use the device. Within seconds of sticking the hand-held hacking machine into the data port, the electronic lock clicked open and Brocious immediately gained access to the room without using a key. He revealed that the small homemade device is very simple to make, costing less than 50 dollars, and videos on YouTube show just how easy it is to make and use.
Onity is currently in the process of supplying temporary plugs to cover the data ports for the keycard locks of its more than four million rooms worldwide.
Four million is a big number. That’s four million hotel rooms unprotected, where a guests’ privacy is in danger of being invaded. According to police reports, recent items stolen from hotel rooms included luggage, TVs, laptops, iPads, the gun and badge of a U.S. Marshall, and the uniform of an airline pilot.
Because this lock issue is still very much alive, it’s important to take extra precaution when staying in a hotel. As Pat Brosnan, CEO of Brosnan Risk Communications, told Inside Edition, “You’ve got to use common sense. Leave your valuables in a safe. Don’t leave them in a room.”
Safemark was thrilled once again to be part of HI Connect Design™ this year in Nashville. The Vignettes (mock rooms) were an incredible opportunity for designers to display their creativity and served as the perfect showcase for Safemark’s Safes.
We had an opportunity to interview an amazing design firm, Diamond Interiors LA, who would later go on to win a prestigious award during HI Connect Design. Diamond Interiors LA provides an array of services including Interior Design, Branding, Architectural Design, Product Design, Sourcing and Project Management. The principal, Lori A. Neal, has been in the business for more than 25 years with a unique background that includes residential, hospitality, TV and even the Oscars! Lori’s vast network allows her to collaborate with other designers to create a talented ensemble to meet each client’s needs. Here is a recap of our conversation with Lori, who by the way, had the coolest take away item for attendees…a fur envelope full of product fliers.
Chatting with Lori A. Neal
Q: Is this your first time at HI Connect?
A: I attended last year as a guest and have been a BITAC attendee. HI Connect is a great concept as participants get to see how a room comes together based on designers and what their vision is.
Q: HI Connect is incredibly different than the typical trade show. What was your process for preparing for such a unique event?
A: We were over-the-moon excited to be selected as one of the designers for HI Connect. Our team rallied together and through the process we made fantastic, new relationships. The entire process took about 8 months from the initial design concepts to putting the final touches on the vignette this past week. The last two months were incredibly busy as we wanted to make sure our end product would “wow” the attendees.
Q: Tell us about the feedback you are receiving here at HI Connect?
A: Oh my - we have heard amazing comments and we’ve seen some hotel brands come back multiple times for another look. They’re interested in the entire collection and from a designer’s perspective that makes me so proud. My vision is here – there is no other place I would want to be today.
Q: How do you incorporate the safes into your unique designs?
A: I am a woman traveler so a lot of what goes into my designs is about my personal experiences and expectations. The hotel safe is an important part of my travels and my design. I carry a ton of jewelry while on the road so safes need to be easy for women to access without scuffing shoes, running panty hose…all of the things that we encounter. The Safemark safe is so easy to use – it’s flow, it’s soft, it’s nice and I work it into my designs first.
Q: Any final thoughts for us?
A: HI Connect has been a wonderful experience. I would absolutely do this event again and without a doubt, incorporate Safemark safes into my design!
As mentioned above, the team at Diamond Interiors LA went on to win an award from HI Connect Design as the "Vignette most likely to make guests want to move in permanently.” We can’t agree more as we found ourselves relaxing in their vignette for so long one would have thought we were part of the furniture!
A typical flight from Shanghai, China to New York City is over 15 hours. A flight from London to Phoenix is approximately 11 hours and four minutes. And if you’re traveling from Australia to Los Angeles, California be prepared to spend about 17 hours in the air.
Although those numbers are high, more and more people are traveling to the United States as international travel is on the rise. And the tourism and hotel industry is taking notice.
According to the United States Commerce Department, 66 million tourists traveled to the U.S. and spent more than $168 billion last year. It was estimated that international visitors shelled out $14.4 billion this past January alone, which is an increase of 11 percent since January 2012. Because of these findings, tourism industry officials began looking for new ways to continue the increase of foreign travelers.
That’s where Discover America comes into play. Discover America is a new advertising campaign created by the travel and tourism industry to help promote travel to the United States. The new promotions will include television commercials in nine countries, and photo advertisements and banners in Tokyo, London, and parts of Canada. Facebook pages will be used to converse in other languages and tweets will be sent out to compliment the many charms the U.S. has to offer. While Discover America is garnering interest from foreign travelers, the hotel industry needs to ensure they are offering the same amenities provided by international hotels.
As international guests flock to the U.S., they are looking for a minimum of what they receive at home and likely, a unique experience to make their stay more enjoyable. For example, most high standard hotels in China offer large lobby areas, transportation to and from the airport, executive floors with concierge, and free breakfast buffets. Hotel rooms should be spacious and include in-room safes to lock up valuables. Because many international hotels offer facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, saunas, and laundry services, tourists expect to receive these same services while on American turf.
Be sure to contact Safemark if your property is missing in-room safes, as this expected amenity is sure to be needed by foreign guests to store passports, electronics, jewelry and other valuables.