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There is increasing interest in the health, safety, and security attributes of hotels. Many companies and organizations are interested in this information to satisfy two overarching managerial responsibilities: Duty of Care and Due Diligence.
Because of this interest, they may request information from a hotel in order to assess the security and safety integrity of the property. Determining what information is relevant to such an assessment is particularly challenging because there are no agreed-upon standards of what security/safety features a hotel should have, nor are there any agreed-upon standards as to what constitutes a “secure” or “safe” property; there are only generally accepted “best practices.” Assessing the security/safety of a property is therefore a subjective analysis. Therefore, this guide is referred to as an “assessment” rather than an audit or inspection, which implies an appraisal against a defined standard. And since each hotel company operates its properties according to its own brand operating standards, it is appropriate that the assessment take these factors into consideration.
This assessment guide was created to help corporate security departments, corporate travel and safety departments, event planners, meeting organizers, tour operators, and others (e.g., third-party health, safety, and security assessors) collectively referred to as “customers,” to conduct security, safety, and health surveys and assessments of hotels.
It is important that hotels be able to respond to such requests in a timely, accurate, and customer-friendly manner. While hotels certainly understand the concerns of customers and wish to cooperate with them as much as possible, there are also important restrictions on what may be provided to them. Therefore, the Loss Prevention Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and its Hotel Security Working Group, came together to produce this assessment guide. The guide reflects a common agreement on what security, safety, and health information is generally able to be provided by a hotel in order for customers to make an assessment of a particular property.
As you can appreciate, to avoid compromising the hotel’s security and safety systems, there are limitations on what the property may disclose (e.g., information concerning security camera locations or alarm systems, security staffing information, security procedures) or routinely provide upon demand (e.g., copies of emergency plans or procedures, floor diagrams, property schematics, etc.). These limitations are in the interest of protecting the hotel’s guests and staff. The hotel recognizes, however, that a customer may wish to further discuss the security or safety matters of the hotel. If so, the customer should contact the hotel General Manager. Alternatively, the customer may also contact the corporate security department of the respective hotel chain. Contact information for the corporate security department may be obtained by OSAC constituents from the AH&LA or through the OSAC Program Officers for Common Interest Councils.