Hotel staff is a vital part of your operation, but the nature of their job—for housekeepers, in particular—leaves them vulnerable to dangerous situations. They may enter what they think is an empty room, only to find it occupied by an aggressive guest. You can only hope your guests treat staff respectfully, but you can never be too safe. This underlines the necessity of securing a hotel panic button for every staff member.
Several states have passed safety legislation to reduce assaults and harassment toward hotel and housekeeping staff. Meanwhile, the hotel can do its part to mitigate these dangers by investing in panic buttons and giving its valued team members an easy way to call for help.
What is a hotel panic button?
A hotel panic button gives your staff a direct line to a source of help should something happen while on the job. Before panic buttons, housekeepers would have to reach for a phone to contact security. The obvious pitfalls of this tactic, coupled with a rise in incidents, forced the industry to take much-needed action.
Wearable panic buttons also act as a visual deterrent for would-be aggressors. The technology has come a long way in recent years and utilizes Bluetooth, GPS, cellular, and WIFI frequencies to keep your staff connected 24/7.
Let’s say, for example, that a cleaning staff member is confronted or cornered by a guest. When they press the panic button, it can trigger an immediate notification to hotel security. These triggers also offer various reactions, including loud alarms, silent notifications, or emergency response requests. Security can perform several actions, from dispatching a security team to assisting or calling the police for help.
As there are several types of panic buttons, it’s worth researching the most effective options to keep staff safe in your facility. You must also understand your state’s current legislation to comply with changing safety regulations.
Different types of panic buttons
The best hotel panic button for your establishment depends on several factors, including hotel size, staff complement, and local laws. Let’s dive into the different types available and how each works to promote staff safety.
Wearable Panic Buttons: Staff members can wear panic buttons as a clip on their uniform. If the employee feels uncomfortable or like they are in a dangerous situation, it's easy to press the button and notify security of their location.
Wearable buttons help if the staff member is injured or comes across a guest who needs help (perhaps having an allergic reaction). Full-service hotels—with bars and restaurants—can also trigger panic buttons to alert security about a rowdy group of guests.
Noise Makers: These panic buttons are more affordable, costing around $10 per employee. They emit a loud, ear-piercing noise that can reach up to 130 decibels—significantly louder than the average speech volume of 55 decibels. Despite these useful features, noise makers don’t send signals to hotel security. They act mainly as a deterrent, only attracting the attention of those in the vicinity.
Full System: These location-based systems rely on beacons installed in each guest room and area. When activated, they identify the closest node, sending an emergency alert to dispatch with the staff member’s exact location. They can also trigger silent alarms, allowing security to move covertly in on an assailant.
Full-scale systems are the most expensive, costing around $10,000 for installation and as much as $150 in monthly service fees.
Mobile Apps: For these systems, your staff downloads an emergency communication app on their phones. When they press the panic button in the app, it sends their information and location to hotel security.
Some mobile systems can cost in the region of $5,000, whereas others work on a monthly payment basis.
What are the laws and regulations surrounding hotel panic buttons?
There are no federal laws on the books concerning hotel panic buttons. However, many states and cities have passed laws requiring hotels to equip certain employees with a panic button. Now, more than ever, staff members call for protection from on-the-job hazards. These laws couldn’t have come at a better time. For example, in:
Los Angeles, the new Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance (HWPO) went into effect on August 12th, 2022, requiring employers to provide “any worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other workers are not assigned to be present” with a hotel panic button.
New Jersey, Senate Bill 2986 requires hotels with 25 or more guest rooms to provide employees who work alone on the property a dedicated staff safety device (a hotel panic button). Similar laws were passed in Miami Beach, Washington State, and Illinois.
Factors to consider in choosing a hotel panic button solution
What should hoteliers look for when determining which hotel panic button to invest in? How can they know they’re making the best decision for their staff’s safety? Let's unpack some crucial features that separate the top hotel safety platforms from the rest.
User-Friendly: If the system is confusing and hard to use, it ultimately fails in its primary function. Ideally, safety management systems should be intuitive and user-friendly. The wearable hotel panic button should also be light and easy to carry, perhaps on a lanyard or as a clip-on.
Provides Real-Time Location Data: What good is a panic button if security can’t pinpoint the employee’s location? The most reliable systems leverage a network of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi hubs to triangulate location data within the hotel. Security can identify the floor and room if a housekeeper presses a button.
Integrates with Hotel Management Software: The ultimate safety system goes beyond the panic button, providing hospitality leaders with the tools they need to ensure employee safety in various ways while addressing other requirements beyond panic-related situations. Ideally, you want the system to integrate with other operations solutions, from housekeeping to task tracking and time management.
Prioritize safety & security with WrkSpot
Safety should be any hotelier’s primary concern. By equipping each staff member with a panic solution, owners and managers can ensure that their hotel complies with state/city regulations while promoting a safe work environment.
Nobody said managing a hotel would be easy. You can rely on a robust hotel management system like WrkSpot to track your hotel’s workforce, compliance reports, and operational efficiency.
Get in touch with WrkSpot today to increase visibility into your hotel operations.