The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced its 5-Star Promise in September 2018 with the goal of rolling out safety measures in hotels, now planned for the end of this year. This initiative is “a pledge to provide hotel employees across the U.S. with employee safety devices (ESDs) and commit to enhanced policies, trainings and resources that together are aimed at enhancing hotel safety, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault.”
Many hotel associates are often alone or isolated in different areas around the hotel, leaving them vulnerable. I worked as a front desk agent while I was in college, and many times I was one of two associates running the hotel – or sometimes I was on my own. I also worked catering and breakfast shifts – extremely early and late. Having a safety system in place for wherever I was around the hotel would have made me feel much safer working late into the night and taking items around the hotel.
People are the magic behind those memorable and safe hotel experiences, and we believe equipping hotels with the right tools and training can make a big impact to keep staff and guests safe while on the property.
We spent some time with our inventor of Nomadix Alerts, Benoit Le Gall, to learn more about the new product offering, what it can do for hotels and some best practices for hotels in this Q&A.
Why did you develop the button?
I too have a history working in hospitality – for the last 12 years. In 2019, I felt there was an alignment in the stars to develop an innovative product for staff safety, that would not only bring a new smart solution to market, but also facilitate the adoption of staff security solutions for hospitality.
What are best practices to get staff to adopt a panic button solution?
Staff need to trust their panic button solution. They need to trust the device will work. It needs to be simple enough to operate so that they are confident they can call for help when they need it, where they need it and that it will protect them if they fall and are unconscious. They also need to trust that the device is not tracking their location for purposes other than their safety.
What are the top features of your employee safety device technology?
The Nomadix Alerts smart badge is a complete employee safety solution: it is a panic button that staff can use to call for help wherever they are on the property, simply with the press of a button. There is also a fall detection feature embedded for isolated staff on night duty, for instance.
In order to encourage and facilitate a hotel’s access to staff security solutions, we drastically reduced installation complexity and cost while also putting the “brains” of the product in the badge itself. The solution can leverage a hotel’s existing in-room equipment to localize the badge or use commercially available battery powered beacons with no socket needed. In some cases, hotels have nothing to install… except the badge.
Nomadix Alerts also brings hoteliers additional value besides staff safety and security. With multiple staff members wearing the badges throughout the hotel, the technology silently monitors the quality and security of the Wi-Fi.
How much training is needed?
Using the smart badge is intuitive so training is minimal and quick. An easy-to-remember color status helps users know the badge is operational. Pressing the button activates an alarm; no smartphone or code is needed to call for help. Members of the response team are trained to acknowledge alarms and add situational information in the alert reports. This can be done via the solution’s portal, which is accessible from a smartphone or workstation.
Why add Wi-Fi analysis to the panic button solution?
Everybody is aware of the importance of a performant and secure Wi-Fi in hospitality. But there are no tools to track a property’s Wi-Fi QoS. Hoteliers will often only learn of Wi-Fi issues when a guest complains, and then the property’s e-reputation might already be hurt.
The smart badge measures the Wi-Fi performance and security to offer live updates, or through consolidated reports of the issues, before guests complain. This feature also alerts about potential Wi-Fi weak spots. As part of the service, hoteliers are able to view in-depth dashboards to easily locate and remedy any issues. The badges are constantly traveling around the hotel with staff, so it’s a great opportunity to get more value out of the product.
Which areas of the hotel do you recommend be covered?
Nomadix Alerts smart badges can be worn by any staff member in any part of the property, but we highly recommend prioritizing isolated staff and anyone who enters guest rooms on a regular basis (e.g., housekeeping, maintenance, IT personnel) who may come into contact with bad actors or just simply be on their own if an incident occurs. We also recommend providing coverage in areas where isolated staff may fall, such as staircases and slippery surfaces like spas, pools or outdoor areas. A single beacon can cover a large open area and be placed anywhere, which makes it easy to add localization coverage.
How accurate are the locations reported?
Location accuracy is at the room level and directs help to that particular room, via geolocation. If the person in distress moves after triggering the alarm – for example, if that person begins running away – his/her location is regularly updated.
Thank you, Benoit. What is your hotel doing to protect staff? Are you ready to meet the 5-Star Promise? Feel free to reach out to our team to learn how we can help. Our 2-in-1 smart badge solution is readily stocked and available for purchase.