VOLUME 19: Issue 1 - 2011

From the Editor – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

The Rooms Chronicle® has entered its 19th year of publication. During this time period we have published over 2,000 articles, inserts, posters and pocket guides on various facets of hotel operations. Everything from guest relocation procedures, linen thread counts, reservation call conversions, dealing with deceased guests, emergency evacuation procedures, telephone etiquette tips and more have been covered. We even provided an article on choosing the right toilet bowl brush for cleaning guestroom commodes! How is that for breadth of content?

Front Office: New ADA service animal regulations are now in effect for hotels – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

Previously, individuals checking into a hotel with a pet and claiming it is a “service animal” are essentially protected under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the guest and service animal must be accommodated unless the animal poses a disruption or direct threat to the hotel or its guests. As of March 2011, the Department of Justice has updated the ADA with new regulations pertaining to service animals in places of public accommodation. These new regulations provide greater clarity for hoteliers as to what exactly is and is not considered a “service animal” and whether the animal being presented as a service animal must be accommodated by the hotel.

Guest Services: New product provides immediate response for heart attack victims – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

Each year about 1 million Americans will suffer a first or recurrent heart attack, and some 500,000 will not survive it. The majority of all heart attack deaths occur before a victim can get to a hospital. Yet, aspirin remains largely underutilized at the onset of heart attacks. This is mostly because aspirin typically are not conveniently accessible when needed away from home. Just introduced in August 2010, is a unique patented aspirin dispenser that provides the fastest possible access to an emergency dose of aspirin tablets. It measures just three inches in length; so that it can be carried on a keychain, or in one’s pocket or purse. These emergency dispensers can be strategically located throughout a lodging property for immediate access when a guest starts to exhibit signs of a heart attack.

Housekeeping: The pros and cons of outsourcing housekeeping positions – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

Staffing a hotel’s Housekeeping department with reliable personnel can be rather difficult at times. It can require a detailed hiring process to bring unfamiliar associates on board, and usually an entire Human Resources staff to handle any needs or requests they may have. One alternative solution that many hotels are embracing is outsourcing some or all of the various housekeeping functions to non-hotel staffers. This entails the hotel bringing in a third-party business to supply the staffing needs. While outsourcing a hotel’s housekeeping function provides several benefits, there are also some negative aspects that must be considered. Here is a non-exhaustive list of pros and cons that any hotel should contemplate when considering if outsourcing is right for them.

Housekeeping: Several tips for controlling housekeeping labor costs – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

With Housekeeping being the department that only takes away from the bottom line but never generates any revenue to add to it, every housekeeping manager should always make controlling their department’s expenses a top priority; and that should start with labor costs. This sounds simple, and if the hotel’s housekeeping team is really dedicated to this goal it can be; but controlling labor expenses when the hotel is busy and there are a thousand other things to do can be a real challenge. Here are some ideas that can be used as a checklist to keep the Housekeeping department’s labor costs under control.

Human Resources: Best practices for diversity in the lodging industry – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

In this day and age, it’s pretty much a given that employers in every industry should – and do – strive for diversity in their workforces. In fact, diversity has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the 21st century. But even if it seems that everyone already knows that they should pursue diversity, it’s still worthwhile to reflect on the benefits of a diverse workforce, and talk about best practices for getting there. In this article, labor law attorney Jaclyn West provides insight for hoteliers to promote diversity in the workplace.

Risk Management: Safety dictates that room service “door menus” have outlived their usefulness – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

Let’s all remember that just because something makes money, doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. What about hotel marketing efforts that possibly compromise the delivery of guest service, or more significantly, pose a danger to the safety and wellbeing of their guests? Today, with the intense pressure on the bottom line, hotel managers must not lose focus that it is still their responsibility to protect guests against “foreseeable dangers” on hotel premises. As this article explains, one example of such a marketing initiative in hotels that poses a foreseeable danger and should be eliminated is the Room Service for Breakfast Door Hanger.

Risk Management: Housekeeping employees must be wary of potentially hazardous drug exposure – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

Hoteliers must guard against hazardous drug exposure. Not the illegal kind of drugs, but the pharmaceutical type that may be left behind by guests and discovered by housekeeping associates. OSHA has identified this as a problem of increasing exposure to good health, and hotel housekeeping personnel are likely to encounter these drugs in guestrooms and restroom that have been left behind by guests and customers. Although these are incidental encounters, increased exposure could potentially threaten the health of certain associates.

Sales and Marketing: Hotel sales blitzes and a not so new technique for building sales and awareness – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

A sales blitz is an intensive survey of a given geographical area to determine its market potential. The idea is to lay the groundwork for a sharp increase in business by gathering the information sales staff needs to do its job well. The concept of a hotel sales blitz is a remedy that brings a great deal of enthusiasm to those responsible for selling, as well as a good amount of potential business. Hotel consultant Dr. John Hogan shares several tips about how to implement a successful hotel sales blitz program and where to draw short term labor from, for almost free!

Sustainability: Where to start to fins information on sustainable hotel practices – Volume 19, No. 1 (March, April)

In this article, sustainability expert Dr. Brian Miller highlights resources that are available to hotels that can be used to increase their sustainable efforts. Special focus is made on the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s “Green Resource Center” that offers tips for hotel organizations to become more eco-friendly and offers a variety of programs and initiatives that hoteliers can adopt. These guidelines and best practices are provided to enable both hoteliers and suppliers to become more efficient in their sustainability programs.

VOLUME 19: Issue 2 - 2011

Ask Gail: Where to learn what it takes to become a hotel concierge – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

In this Ask Gail article, a reader inquires where to find information on how to develop a concierge program at her hotel. Gail provides two authoritative sources of information and discusses the uniqueness of each.

Energy: Energy savings comes from employee training – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

It is estimated that the annual cost of energy and water for a hotel can be reduced by as much as ten percent by training employees to operate the hotel efficiently. The information in this article offered by hospitality energy consultant Phil Sprague will provide some suggestions for training employees to reduce energy consumption without any capital investment.

Engineering: Safety Tips to Prevent Ladder Injuries in your Hotel – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

Ladders are a common tool utilized by the maintenance and engineering staff in nearly every hotel. They enable personnel to reach high places for a variety of reasons such as hanging banners, changing light bulbs, checking sprinkler heads, dusting high areas, accessing roof areas, and so much more. Yet, each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the United States relating to ladders. Of course not all these injuries occur in or at hotels and resorts, but many do. And when they do, the results can be costly.

From the Editor – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

The other day while traveling on a business trip my colleague and I were driving to the hotel. My role was navigator for the day. After spending 15 minutes attempting to find our hotel, I did what most men wouldn’t do – call the hotel for directions. Let’s just say it became a more frustrating experience…

Front Office: Tips for small hotels, inns and other hospitality businesses to save on expenses – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

In this article veteran hospitality consultant Dr. John Hogan offers 13 simple, but often overlooked cost-saving, steps can be especially valuable in small lodging properties. Tips for the front and back office and energy savings are included.

Housekeeping: With the deadline looming, new baby crib standards will affect hotels – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

The United States has issued new requirements for baby cribs to be bought and sold. As of December 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has unanimously voted to ban the sale and resale of cribs with drop sides and to make their use in hotels and motels illegal. The ban officially starts on June 28, 2011 with hotels and motels given an 18 month time period to replace inadequate and unsafe crib models. As this article explains in detail, any cribs offered in hotels and motels on or after December 28, 2011 must meet the new standards.

Housekeeping: Determining the correct levels and time to reorder housekeeping supplies – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

Housekeeping managers are responsible for reordering supplies, amenities and equipment so that their associates have the needed items to complete their assigned daily tasks. When supplies and amenity items run out, productivity can grind to a halt and guests are adversely impacted. When supplies run low to the point where reorders will not arrive in time before an outage occurs, housekeeping employees are forced to decide how to ration their supplies and guestroom amenities in order to make it through until the delivery arrives. This article illustrates how to develop and implement a standardized re-order plan for non-recycled housekeeping supplies to avoid such difficult scenarios.

Human Resources: New requirements for employers who seek to claim tip credit – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

A recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Labor with regards to tipped employees may have a dramatic impact on hoteliers, especially if a hotel fails to comply with its requirements. The ruling specifies that all employers must notify employees or forfeit tip credit on wages. This would affect hotels that seek to minimize the cash wages it pays directly to some employees such as bell persons, door persons, parking valets, concierges, room attendants, servers and bartenders as part of their weekly compensation. The new law requires that employers must comply with specific procedures if they seek to claim a tip credit for wages paid to certain. Many employers take up to a $5.12 credit against the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 for employees that normally receive a substantial portion of their compensation as gratuities from guests. As explained in this article, to continue to take advantage of the tips credit, there are several requirements that employers must meet.

Human Resources: Insert – Fact Sheet #15: Tipped Employees
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)- Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

This insert, prepared by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, provides a list of requirements that all employers must comply with who seek to claim a credit towards hourly pay for the gratuities that certain tipped employees receive. The Fact Sheet discusses how to handle minimum wage situations and overtime problems.

Risk Management: Hoteliers beware: OSHA can now subpoena safety audits from insurance carriers – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

Recently, a federal district court ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the right to subpoena safety audits and other records prepared by an employer’s insurance carrier. The court also ordered the carrier to testify about the records. The court’s decision serves as a reminder to hoteliers that OSHA continues to aggressively wield its enforcement authority, and that a hotel’s safety audits, internal safety reports, and related documents – even when prepared by an insurance company or an outside consultant – may eventually end up in OSHA’s hands.

Sales and Marketing: Fact sheets are the most basic yet vital form of a hotel’s collateral material – Volume 19, No. 2 (May, June)

Hotel fact sheets are an invaluable tool in the arsenal of sales and marketing managers. They provide the reader with immediate information about the hotel in a short and concise bullet point format. Essentially, it is an abbreviated version of a hotel’s marketing brochure that usually fits onto one standard size page. But what exactly should be included on a fact sheet, how should it be presented, and how often should this information be updated? This article addresses each of these areas, one at a time.

VOLUME 19: Issue 3 - 2011

Energy: Unusual, inexpensive energy saving ideas – Volume 19, No. 3 (May, June)

Over the years, facility hotel and building managers have introduced many different and unusual methods for saving energy. Some were extremely expensive, while others were more or less just common sense. In this article, hotel energy expert Phil Sprague shares several useful, practical and cost effective ways of saving energy in a unique way.

From the Editor – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

As we finish up our Summer season and get ready for the Fall, let’s take a moment and reflect on the past ten years and how it has affected the lodging industry. This past month we have experienced a major hurricane on the east coast of the U.S., as well as tremors from a widespread earthquake. We also reflect upon the six year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And of course the world is still struggling with the effects of the 2007 recession. Most notably the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks looms heavily in our minds.

Front Office: Lessons learned from a hotel data breach – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

In this article, a former FBI agent shares the fallout resulting from a 2004 breach of guests’ data at a Maryland hotel that resulted in $850,000 in fraudulent credit charges. About 50 people had their credit cards defrauded. The hotel staff spent months on the phone giving interviews and processing paperwork. When all was said and done, almost a year after the attack, the hotel had learned a few hard lessons that are shared here.

Front Office: Hotel “call-arounds” pose legal problems while other options do not – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

Despite the myriad of resources available to hoteliers in a technologically advanced business environment, many front office managers opt to still engage in the age old business practice known as the daily “call around”. This is where a PBX operator or front desk clerk engages in a benchmarking exercise by telephoning other nearby hotels to inquire about their selling rates and occupancy for the coming evening. Based on the information culled from the call around, some front office managers may choose to raise or lower their short term rates to maximize revenue potential. Common sense dictates that that this approach to keeping tabs on your competitors is unreliable and rife with misleading intelligence. As this article explains, this tactic can be considered an illegal business practice and in violation of federal anti-trust regulations designed to promote fair and open trade amongst competitors.

Housekeeping: To increase room attendant efficiency, limit trips to the cart – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

The best room attendants will explain that they have developed a system to clean their rooms. Whether or not they have been formally trained, veteran cleaners have worked out a routine that they use in each room. One of the secrets of being an excellent executive housekeeper is to help every room attendant learn a system that will save both steps and time. Although there are disputes about the correct order of cleaning, the most important factor is to limit the number of trips to the cart. This is a list that has been successful in many hotels.

Housekeeping: What to do with needles, syringes, and other “sharps” – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

Over 9 million people in the United States use needles and syringes to manage medical conditions. For the most part, exposure to “sharps” is not a big problem in the lodging industry; it can however present a serious problem exposing many “back of the house” employees or future guests to injury by carelessly discarded syringes and other contaminated items. Sharps are anything that can cause a puncture wound and expose employees or guests to blood or other body fluids that may contain germs (pathogens). Most commonly encountered sharps are hypodermic needles. But sharps may also include other items that have been contaminated with blood. This article discusses the concerns associated with sharps and hotel employees including employee training, collection and disposal.

Housekeeping: Twelve common housekeeping errors found in many hotels – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

As an educator, author, hospitality consultant, and former hotel manager, I tend to notice the various shortfalls in both service and cleanliness standards that regularly occur at hotels where I stay or visit when traveling. Whether it be for business travel or pleasure, it is easy to notice when the housekeeping staff at many hotels fail to meet the standards associated with their brand or the expectations of their guests. Presented here are twelve errors or inappropriate housekeeping work practices that can commonly be found in many hotels just by walking the halls as a guest. How many of these “errors” does your staff commit?

Risk Management: Behavior ignored is behavior accepted… Behavior rewarded is behavior repeated – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

In this article, risk management expert Jesse Denton encourages hotel managers to shape employee behavior by praising appropriate and exceptional behavior whenever observed. However, failure to correct bad and unsafe work habits will foster an environment of inappropriate behavior and an unsafe workplace.

Risk Management: Preparation for the hurricane season includes insurance and risk reviews – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

Once again, the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. With it comes a sense of apprehension for all along the coast, especially for those in the hospitality industry. For many, a few months’ income will make or break a business, so a severe storm brings potential ruin for a business that is not sufficiently insured. While hotel owners cannot predict a storm, they can protect their businesses financially; understanding both the insurance product and a business’ risk is essential. In this article, attorney William F. “Chip” Merlin, Jr. explains the ins and outs of hurricane related insurance for hotels.

Sales and Marketing: Five Common sense steps to stronger public relations for hotels – Volume 19, No. 3 (July, August)

Many of John Hogan’s articles cover topics that are of interest to hotel and restaurant managers, hotel owners, innkeepers and hospitality associations. One of the topic areas he receives the most feedback and requests for additional materials are in the area of sales and marketing, which he has come to recognize is one of the three most essential for success. With that in mind, here are five common sense steps to stronger public relations that should help improve the positioning and perception of your hotel, as well as revenues.

Sustainability: New book offers comprehensive look at best practices for hotel sustainability – Volume 19, No. 3 (May, June)

It has been several years in the making and now hoteliers have at their disposal a definitive and comprehensive source of information and education regarding sustainability efforts for their properties. Hotel Sustainable Development: Principles and Best Practices is an authoritative reservoir of information for any hotel manager seriously seeking to establish a green program or hotel culture of sustainability. In this book’s 21 chapters, various leading sustainable development experts identify emerging trends and discuss how sustainability affects regulatory, policy, development, architectural, financial, and operational issues as they apply to hotel and resorts. Each chapter presents important elements in the implementation of sustainable development to provide valuable insights to hotel investors, developers, owners, and lodging operators.

VOLUME 19: Issue 4 - 2011

From the Editor – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

When Niagara University assumed publication ownership for The Rooms Chronicle® in 2003 one of the goals was for TRC to be used as a teaching tool to educate future hotel managers. To that end, TRC has been used as an educational tool in classes not just at Niagara University, but by instructors at dozens of college hospitality programs in the United States and abroad, including in South Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As an educator, the opportunity to share with and learn from others is something that is most important to me. After all, learning is a never-ending, lifelong journey.

Front Office: Prioritizing responses at the front desk during busy times – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Put yourself in this scenario: You are working the front desk alone at a select-service hotel and as fate would have it everything explodes all at once. There are two guests waiting to be checked in, a third guest is seeking directions to a nearby restaurant, the phone is ringing off the hook, you can hear an incoming fax arriving, and yet another guest wants to pay for their purchase from the hotel convenience store. Who do you help first? And in what order do you assist each guest or complete each task?

Front Office: Four Challenges unique to select-service and limited-service hotels – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Today’s select-service and limited-service hotels are one of the fastest growing segments in the hospitality industry, and for good reason. Industry studies have shown that select-service properties have become more feasible to build and franchise than their full-service counterparts and offer an economical alternative for guests in today’s shaky economy. It is widely accepted that select hotels provide the best return on investment for hotel companies. As this segment continues its exponential growth, there will be more opportunity for management professionals to transition from full-service operations to managing a select- or limited-service hotel. As this article explains, while the size of the hotels may be smaller, the scope of what needs to be accomplished by fewer managers presents some unique challenges for hoteliers.

Housekeeping: Determining the correct order to clean guestrooms – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Many housekeeping attendants often express confusion about the proper order in which guestrooms should be cleaned on a daily basis. Should those guestrooms that checked out first be cleaned first? What about requests for “early makeup” by stayover guests or VIP rooms? And what do you do if you have rooms blocked for early arriving guests? This can become a confusing scenario for room attendants, especially since they will not know which guestrooms will likely depart early. This article provides a sequential order which guestrooms should be cleaned and explains why this order is the most efficient method.

Human Resources: Why failing to pay for computer “booting up” time might transport you into a costly lawsuit – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Let’s start with a fairly common scenario. An hourly employee arrives for work to start their shift. They sit down at their desk and turn on their computer. After about 5 minutes, the computer completes its booting up process, and the employee signs in. Once the employee signs in and the computer has accepted the employee’s password, his employer considers his workday to have officially started and he begins to receive pay for his time. Now, ask yourself what is wrong with this picture? If you said nothing, you might be right, BUT, believe it or not, this exact scenario has led to several millions of dollars in settlements over the last few years. This article provides a crash course on the legal issues associated with booting up time, and provides some helpful hints to keep your hotel from becoming the next Wall Street Journal headline.

Human Resources: Employers must display a new Employees’ Rights poster at workplace – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

On August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule that would require every U.S. employer subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to display a new employees’ rights poster in their workplace. The poster must contain a select list of employee rights under the NLRA and must be posted by November 14, 2011. However, as indicated in this article, this posting date has been moved back to January 31, 2012. This article fully describes the posting requirements, reasons why the posting date has been delayed, penalties, and what steps that hoteliers should take to comply with the new law.

Human Resources: Hospitality outsourcing for your hotel: Frequently asked questions – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Due to a weak economy and high levels of unemployment, management teams at hotels, casinos and vacation ownership properties have faced increased pressure by their owners to cut costs and become more efficient, not just with managing resources but in staffing matters. It is no surprise to any veteran hotelier that staffing expenses are typically the greatest burden carried by a lodging property. Add to this the growing number of government-imposed hiring regulations emplaced upon employers and it is easy to see that many hotel managers are asked to deliver more with fewer resources available to them. Because of these challenges, outsourcing in the hospitality industry has and continues to grow by leaps and bounds across the United States and in the Caribbean. Many hotels brands have sought out the benefits afforded by outsourcing at least some aspects of their labor operation. Here is a list of the ten most frequently asked questions and answers about the benefits of outsourcing various labor functions within a hotel.

People Skills: A baker’s dozen of reality checks in hospitality: Myth or fact? – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

During the past 25 years in workshops, seminars and presentations, article author John Hogan has been collecting an assortment of “myths” that many of us have held as self-evident truths. Though he has shared one or two of these in previous blogs or columns, this list is much more comprehensive. Judge for yourself the depth of these following items, and decide if you agree with my assessment whether they are “myths or facts”.

Risk Management: Ten steps to prepare your hotel for the next power outage – Volume 19, No. 4 (September, October)

Power outages are indeed disruptive to hotels, their employees and most certainly its guests. Obviously elevators, escalators, computers, televisions, lights, and refrigeration systems will stop working unless the hotel maintains an emergency power source from a generator. But even the largest generators can typically only support limited electrical service to a big hotel. Hence, it is critical that hotels prepare well in advance for a power outage, which could occur at the least opportune time. Attempting to round up emergency supplies, diesel fuel, and other support items after an outage has occurred will likely prove costly, futile, or both. So take the time now to ask yourself, “How prepared is my hotel for a massive power outage?” Drawing on the lessons learned from the recent power outage in Southern California, here are ten steps to get you started on your emergency response plan for dealing with a large scale power outage.

VOLUME 19: Issue 5 - 2011

Ask Gail: Should lone employees leave the front desk? – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

In this Ask Gail column, a night auditor who usually works alone inquires whether it is appropriate to leave a hotel’s front desk unattended in order to deliver items guests have requested to their hotel room. Arguments for safety and service are presented.

From the Editor – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

Recently, I was asked by a veteran hotel consultant what I perceived have been the biggest changes in hospitality law affecting hotels in the past five years. My reply is presented here for review.

Front Office: Understanding the breakeven point when it comes to room revenue – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

Because of the various fixed costs associated with operating, maintaining and staffing hotels, there is a specific point, both in terms of dollars generated and room nights sold, where the hotel will start to realize a profit. Until the hotel reaches that magical number of guestrooms sold and revenue generated, all sales up to that point will essentially be used to pay for the fixed costs to operate the hotel plus the variable costs to supply and maintain the guestrooms that are used. Regardless of the service level your hotel offers, every competent hotel manager should know and be able to determine how many guestrooms they must sell and how much gross revenue they must generate in order to realize a profit. This article explains how to calculate this point, in a step by step format.

Front Office: Eight items every front desk should have available for guests – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

The front desk serves as the hub of a hotel’s operation. The round the clock nature of the front desk makes it a logical focal point for guests to seek out remedies for their immediate problems at all hours of the day and night. Realizing this, front desk personnel should foresee the need to make available certain items to guests at any given hour of the day or night. Presented here are eight categories of items that every front desk should keep handy to accommodate unexpected or late night requests or emergencies. This list was compiled after consulting with various front office managers, night auditors and the author’s professional experience working overnight shifts at hotels.

Housekeeping: Tub and tile: Important and difficult – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

When it comes to cleaning the bathroom, the tub and tile area takes more time and energy and can be the cause of more problems than any other area of the guestroom. Many guest complaints and too many employee injuries begin in this area. This article presents tips that can serve as guidelines for training employees in the proper procedures for porcelain tub and tile shower cleaning.

Housekeeping: The basics of loaning items to guests – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

As a service to guests, hotels provide a variety of equipment that travelers commonly need. This equipment is loaned to guests upon request and at no charge. The housekeeping department is typically responsible for maintaining the inventory of guest loan items, responding to loan requests, and tracking the items to make sure they are returned. This article provides an overview of this function for housekeeping managers.

Housekeeping: Insert: Log for guest loan items – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

This is a sample log for guest loan items that can be used by housekeeping and front office personnel to keep track of amenity items loaned to guests.

Human Resources: Hoteliers Beware: FCRA class action lawsuits on the rise! – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

This past calendar year has produced an alarming trend in employment litigation to which employers should pay particular attention – a boom in the number of class action lawsuits filed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) based on allegations of improperly conducted applicant/employee background checks. These lawsuits have resulted in several multi-million dollar settlements, not to mention the dramatic legal fees and costs associated with defending any class action. Thus, all employers, including hoteliers, should develop a familiarity with FCRA requirements and implement FCRA-compliant background screening policies and procedures in order to prevent costly litigation and provide a defense in the event of litigation.

Risk Management: Common accident causes are frequently linked to poor employee discipline – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

Did you know that over 80 out of every 100 accidents are the fault of the person involved in the incident? It’s true. Unsafe actscause four times as many accidents as unsafe conditionsAccidents occur for many reasons. In many situations, people tend to look for “things” or reasons to blame when an accident happens. This seems to them to be easier than to look for the “root cause” or basic reason for the incident to begin with. Presented here are some of the reasons that work-related accidents occur. As you read them, recall if you have ever been guilty of any of these.

Risk Management: Reducing the spread of contagious illnesses between employees and guests – Volume 19, No. 5 (November, December)

It is no surprise that the Winter months bring an increase of cold, influenza, and other communicable illnesses to the workplace. But hotel employees are perhaps more susceptible than most workers to these transmitted illnesses because of the transient nature of the environment in which they work. Because of the public nature of the hotel business, it is impossible to work completely in a sterile environment. But there are prudent and guest-friendly steps that hotels and their associates can undertake to reduce transmission of communicable illnesses between guests and employees through various common contact points.