One month ago the hospitality industry was thrust into the spotlight—and rightfully so—as a decision was reached in the Erin Andrews case.
By now I am sure you have all heard the details of the case, but to quickly recap: in 2008, Michael David Barrett recorded Andrews while she was nude by reversing the peephole of her hotel guestroom at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. Barrett used the hotel’s phone system to learn Andrews’ room number and request the room adjacent to it.
As hoteliers, we are with our guests at their most intimate moments. They trust us to protect their privacy and safety during their stay. The lessons learned from this case need to remain prevalent in our minds and be communicated effectively to our guests so we can retain their trust.
Basic hotel security procedures extend outside of what was called into question in the Andrews case, so I have put together eight tips that can help you ensure your guests have the best and most secure experience possible.
1. Peephole covers
Peepholes on guestroom doors are meant to make our guests feel safer during their stay but could now be a source of concern.
A quick and extremely inexpensive fix to put our guests at ease is to install peephole covers. This way, our guests don’t have to second guess whether someone has reversed the peephole because it remains covered when not in use.
2. House phones
When a guest needs to make a call within your hotel, your team should be taught to instruct the guest to a house phone from where they will be connected.
Ensure that these house phones do not have LCD screens that contain confidential information. In a taped deposition, Barrett admitted he obtained Andrews’ room information from an internal house phone that had one of these LCD screens.
3. Be aware of who is looking over your shoulder
While it is standard practice to have house phones without LCD screens, our teams must be taught to be wary of who is watching when they are using an internal phone. Having a phone system that displays guest information allows us to operate more effectively through the creation of a better guest experience by customizing phone greetings and truly tailoring guest interactions to create a unique stay. Our internal phones should never be visible to guests.