Travel Safety

It often takes a tragedy to make companies address the risks of business travel. An article in the HR Daily Advisor states that personal crimes, such as assaults and robberies, are the most common types of incidents encountered by business travelers.

Often, companies make hotel and travel decisions based solely on price, rather than evaluating factors such as the crime rate of the neighborhood where the hotel is located, basic security safeguards utilized at the property, or transportation after dark.

Ironically, employers go to great lengths to protect company-issued mobile devices and the data stored in them, but according to the article, they aren’t proactive about ensuring the safety of the employees who carry those devices.

Prevention Tactics

When making travel plans, employers should consider the location and assess the potential risks to employees. Hotels that offer safety features such as card key systems and controlled access, meaning the exterior doors are locked at a certain time, are significantly safer for business travelers.

When making travel arrangements, the HR Daily Advisor suggests asking questions, such as:

  • What types of security measures are in place?
  • Does the hotel use closed-circuit television?
  • What types of problems has the hotel had that might cause concern?
  • Does the hotel meet the security recommendations of the American Hotel and Lodging Association?
  • Are individual franchise locations required to adhere to the corporate safety standards?

The article advises employers to educate business travelers about safety procedures they can follow to increase their own safety. Tips for travelers include:

  • Get directions in advance.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight in your motor vehicle.
  • Park close to the front entrance. If this is not possible, ask for an escort.
  • Park under a lamp pole or lighting fixture.
  • Ask for a room close to the front desk.
  • Avoid late-night travel if you can.
  • Use the buddy system when possible.
  • Trust your instincts.

Travelers should be provided with an emergency company phone number in case they need some type of assistance, have to report an incident, or become ill. This number could be a hotline or an after-hours number for a manager or personnel director.

Tips for Hotel Safety

In another HR Daily Advisor article, a detective gave his recommendations for selecting hotel rooms:

  • Avoid ground level rooms with windows or sliding doors opening at ground level.
  • Choose a room facing an interior courtyard rather than a parking area.
  • Choose a room on a lower floor since many fire department vehicles can’t reach rooms above the sixth floor.
  • Consider a room near the elevator. It is generally safer; however, it may be noisy.

In the Room:

  • Keep your key/card handy in case you have to leave quickly in an emergency.
  • Lock the door and secure the bolt and clasp or chain. If the chain is loose, twist it before securing.
  • Check fire exits. You don’t want to be wondering about which way to go when you are awakened in the middle of the night.
  • Get two business cards from the front desk that show the hotel phone number and address. Put one by the phone in the room and put the other in your wallet so there will never be a problem getting back to the hotel.

Guest Safety Tips

Finally, here are 10 basic tips from the American Hotel and Lodging Association:

  1. Don’t answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from the hotel staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.
  2. Keep your room key with you at all times and don’t needlessly display it in public. Should you misplace it, notify the front desk immediately.
  3. Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all of the locking devices provided.
  4. Check to see that any sliding glass doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked.
  5. Don’t invite strangers to your room.
  6. Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
  7. Place all valuables in the hotel or motel’s safe deposit box.
  8. When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evening, be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lighted areas, and use the main entrance.
  9. Take a few moments to locate the nearest exit that may be used in the event of an emergency.
  10. If you see any suspicious activity, notify the hotel operator or a staff member.

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