A guest arriving at a hotel

Should You Tell Your Guests About Your New Panic Button Plan?

As more resorts, hotels, and casinos get ready to roll out their new panic button plans there are a lot of moving parts in the background.

From employee training to a basic understanding of how a panic button works, to explaining the importance of keeping your devices fully charged, there are crucial bits and pieces that go into the process. One topic that’s not often discussed is where guests fit into the equation.

There’s no official info or recommendations on the topic

Hotel and lodging spaces have their official responsibilities regulated by state and local (not federal) law, one of the reasons the panic button legislation is being rolled out on a state-by-state basis. In fact, most hotels operate on something loosely referred to as the standard of care requirements. That means a hotel has to be safe, adequately heated, and have proper lighting and a security system in place. There isn’t even an official stance on how to protect your guest’s valuable property. For that reason, there really isn’t an official directive on what you have to tell guests either.

The last thing anyone in hospitality wants to do is cause their clients or guests to panic about panic buttons. After all, your guests are there to enjoy their stay, not to worry about the way that your hotel operates behind the scenes. Interestingly enough, The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has only a handful of articles available about panic buttons, and none touch on the potentially sticky topic of whether or not to tell your guests about them.

To tell or not to tell

So should you tell your guests about your new panic button policy? It depends on a variety of factors.

  1. Is your hotel already transparent about policies? If your hotel or chain already has an open book policy about the way you operate, then it’s a no-brainer to include panic button information as well. Make sure to explain that you’re following state mandates and the plan is to protect remote workers. Your goal is to educate your guests, not to frighten them.
  2. You’re looking for media coverage. If you’re one of the first in your region to implement a robust panic button plan, you might want to talk about it. Local media outlets are always searching for feel-good stories. Informing others that you go above and beyond to keep your staff safe is definitely a story worth sharing.
  3. You offer an option for guests as well. This is a topic that’s been coming up lately as well. If your resort has hiking trails or other off-campus experiences, you might consider having a separate range of panic buttons or similar devices set up for guests. In this way, you offer another layer of security and peace of mind. And not to be shallow, but imagine the social media-friendly aspects of providing branded walkie-talkie devices for guests? You might want to create a shareable hashtag as well to create a feeling of both safety and camaraderie.
  4. There’s a history of issues in your region. Your hotel could be the safest one around, but if your area isn’t, guests or staff might not always feel entirely secure on the premises. By creating a subtle announcement, you’re informing people that there’s a new layer of protection on your property. By announcing your use of panic buttons, you’re also allowing any potential troublemakers to know they’re not welcome on your property and will be held accountable.

Ready to tell your guests about the new panic buttons? Along with your training, you should come up with a unique to your property way of describing the devices. This hospitality site offers downloaReassure guests that the devices are there to protect workers. And while you’re at it, run your statement by your staff attorneys to avoid making any promises or reassurances that you might not be able to keep.

The goal of giving your staff panic buttons is to empower them and protect their safety. That also gives guests more peace of mind, knowing the property they’re visiting follows all state safety laws and keeps both workers and guests as safe as possible.

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