You can tell a lot about how a hotel is managing overall security by simply looking closer at the security measures in place in the carpark. I am referring to carparks or garages that allow access to public vehicles and walk-ins off the street. These are the most common type of carpark in hotels around the world.
Some hotel garages can be quite spooky and don’t portray the same warm and welcoming feeling exhibited in the hotel lobby or in the hotel bedroom. When garages are not guest-friendly, when they are dark and have an unsafe feeling, it is almost an invitation to criminals to commit a crime. The risk for theft, robberies, rape, and vandalism are definitely much higher when the safety and security concept fails because it was not thought through or is completely missing when it comes to hotel garages.
Unfortunately, investment in the safety and security of the hotel garage too often ranks low in priority. Capital expenses are allocated to refurbish rooms or other public areas, but the hotel garage is often not not considered even though it is also a public area and should be treated accordingly.
When a hotel guest drives into a hotel garage, it makes no difference to them whether the garage is operated by the hotel or by a 3rd party contractor. The guest expects the same standard of security for themselves and their vehicle.
A hotel garage can be considered safe and secure when the following global hotel security standards are in place:
- Sufficient lighting so there are no dangerous dark spots
- CCTV covers the entire hotel garage. Cameras should be small, but clearly visible
- Frequent security patrols
- Securely locked at night
- Parking spots should be reserved for young families and females close to the hotel entry
- An emergency call button must be available and clearly signposted.
When it becomes necessary to provide more safety and security for your guests in the hotel garage, you need to look at it from a holistic point of view. All security measures have to work together hand-in-hand. For instance, it is not good enough relocating female parking spots close to the hotel entry when the car park is not CCTV monitored or well-lit or the panic button is not in a highly visible and convenient location. Understanding crime patterns and the behaviour of potential rapists, for instance, will influence your security plan. Rapists and other criminals generally fear the light and don’t want to be recognized. If they see a hotel garage is well lit and CCTV cameras are strategically located, they will be more likely to move on.
As I said, most hotel garages are open to everyone. However, hotels that open their hotel garage only to guests statistically have a much lower risk. Based on this experience, you can clearly see that most of the time the risk is coming from outside. Therefore it is important to strengthen the perimeter as well as building an effective trap protection into your security concept. Should a security incident occur, your guests must have the confidence the hotel will provide swift intervention.
Security Tip: If you are concerned about homeless people sleeping in your hotel garage, I recommend you play classical music through loud speakers. It is a successful solution transport authorities in Germany use to keep the homeless from sleeping in the railway stations. The music disturbs them and they can’t rest.
Investing in your hotel garage security standards is worth the money, and it will make your guests feel safer and welcomed right from the start.
About the author
His hotel experience includes rooms division management, pre-opening, fire, health & safety, risk management & cost control. He has worked for leading hotel brands in Munich, Frankfurt, Bremen, Berlin, Cork, Edinburgh and Doha in the Middle East.
He graduated in 2002 as a Hotel Management Consultant at the Steigenberger Hotel Management School. He gained valuable experience as a Cost Controller at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers at Frankfurt Airport. He worked three years in Ireland where he built on his experience as a former volunteer fire officer and became a qualified IOSH Health & Safety Officer. He effectively combined the field of Health & Safety with his Assistant Manager positions.
Stefan now consults to hotels to implement innovative and affordable strategies to raise their level of security to meet growing global demands.