According to Charlie Edlund, Hotel Manager of Steningevik, too many customers still lack awareness and knowledge about what safety and security requirements they could and should be demanding of a hotel or venue. “When we decided to raise security at our facilities there were no other comprehensive security programs. Right from the start, Safehotels had high international credibility with measurements from third parties as a basis for assessments. They offer an extensive certification that covers all aspects of safety and security work. The annual certification also means that we get an impartial and critical review of the work that has been done during the past year,” Charlie Edlund states.
Security issues are very important for the owners and management who point out that a large part of Steningevik’s reputation capital depends on security working on all levels. They consider it important that the facilities’ employees can minimise the existing risks and that staff members respond in the right way if a situation occurs. They also emphasise the importance of preventive security work.
“There is every reason for our sector to consider security work from other perspectives, in line with the changes in the world around us. Among other things, we are more exposed to external threats. This means that security-related work must have a broader scope,” states Charlie Edlund.
At Steningevik they have also noted that there has unfortunately been no increase in demands for better security from companies that are, for instance, booking conferences. Charlie Edlund believes the reason for this is a low level of security knowledge, so that people making the bookings do not know the requirements they can set, or that there is an assumption that security work is carried out at all facilities.
When we talk about whether there should be night staff or not, Charlie Edlund comments that it is a depressing fact that a lot of meetings facilities have no night staff at all. “We have had night staff for many years. I’m surprised that it’s still permitted to leave a fully occupied hotel unmanned. The authorities have many different requirements, but there is actually nothing about night staff.”
Placing trust in automatic alarms and other technical solutions that act as alarms is not responsible, he feels. There are so many situations requiring rapid measures that only staff can carry out.
“A rapid response can be the difference between a disaster and a minor incident that doesn’t affect guests or the operation. In addition, having night staff is for us a question of care, quality and service for our guests.
“We also have a policy that states that we shall never work alone and that receptionists always have assault protection at hand. In terms of IT security, we work continuously with the company that serves and manages the running of our computer environment.”
High security was in mind right from the start when Steningevik bought the neighbouring property, Säteriet, converting it into new meeting facilities as well as creating a new 10-room hotel building.
“We were already thinking about security when we bought it. Säteriet is mainly intended for groups that want to be secluded so that they can talk freely and discuss sensitive material. In addition to having normal security in mind, we have focused efforts on creating a meeting place that cannot be bugged, is easy to guard and is not overlooked.
“That project naturally made us think about what could be improved in the rest of Steningevik. We have implemented several measures, but above all general security-consciousness has been raised among all the staff.”
For the management of Stenungsbaden Yacht Club and Nordic Hotell & Resorts, it was an easy choice to go through security certification and training together with Safehotels.
“Hotel security issues are very significant for us, our customers and our guests. It’s important that everyone feels secure when they live and stay with us. Safety and security covers so many issues that preferably become personal – everything from bookings and fire safety to trained staff and the reception of guests. We consider it’s important for guests to feel and know that they are living in a safe hotel,” says Patric E Österström, CEO of Stenungsbaden.
He explains that, due to certification and cooperation with Safehotels, they are at the forefront in terms of security, and their preventive work has made the hotel more secure.
“We are better prepared. Society is changing, which means that we must also change. Proactive work with good routines and trained staff is a continuously ongoing process,” says Angelika Björkner, the Hotel Manager responsible for security at Stenungsbaden Yacht Club.
The hotel has many guests each year and a high throughput in the facilities where many companies hold various types of meetings. It means that requirements for security work have increased in recent years and that the hotel has to be able to deliver a better approach to security than previously.
“That’s right. Demands from guests and customers are increasing. More groups want to have a safety and security presentation before the start of a conference. Awareness has risen sharply among our customers,” says Angelika Björkner.
In the early 2000s, an incident happened at Skogshem & Wijk on the island of Lidingö when a large group went off to lunch without the last man checking that the meeting room was locked. When they came back they discovered that several computers had been stolen, and with those computers important company information. The incident was a wake-up call and the starting point for a close to 15-year collaboration on security issues between the meetings facility and Safehotels.
“The customers perceive it as very positive that we have security in mind in everything we do. As early as the first meeting with a prospective customer, we inform them about security and safe meetings. We then offer groups and participants a five-to-ten minute long safety and security presentation at the start of their conference,” says Pelle Lindholm, the Property and Security Manager of Skogshem & Wijk.
Many people who book various types of meetings consider that it is important for hotel and meeting facilities to have a high standard of security.
“It can never be wrong to feel assured about your routines concerning fire and security. This is best achieved through long-term and continuous security work with regular exercises involving some, or all, of the staff, depending on what we specifically want to practice.”
Pelle Lindholm considers that many companies choose their facility because they know that the hotel has a well-defined approach to security issues.
“We know that many people feel secure when they know that we have a highly developed approach to security and long experience of working with these issues in our everyday routines with guests.”
The ambition is to adapt security in such a way that a conference, course or event is affected as little as possible. Security solutions aim to enable the customers to focus on their core activities and their meetings and getting the most out of their stay.