Did you know? U.S. hotels spend over $6 billion annually on renovations and upgrades. Most of this spend goes into upgrades like comfier amenities, faster wifi, and remodeled facilities.
When was the last time your hotel remodeled the parking lot?
Hotel parking facilities tend to become just a part of the landscape — and not a very attractive one, at that. Yet, for reasons easily imagined, hotel parking lots are a common site for loitering, theft, or worse.
Your investment in preventing crime will cost far less than recovering from one. Here are four strategies you can and should employ right now.
1. Reflect on the problem
By their very nature, parking garages mean limited visibility. Parked cars, huge columns, and stairwells or elevators offer lots of hiding places.
We're assuming you're not going to demolish and rebuild an "open floorplan" parking garage.
Instead, install convex safety mirrors around your lot. Guests and staff will be able to see around corners in advance, and a potential criminal will have no place to lurk.
2. Eyes in the sky
Cameras have a clear deterrent effect. But, as we've noted before, one search for "convenience store robbery" proves cameras aren't a total security solution.
Nevertheless, a quality, HD camera system is vital for proactive monitoring. In the event a crime does occur, you'll want good footage to catch the perp. You don't want to find out that your video is unusably grainy after the police investigators have arrived.
If you already have cameras, but haven't had any safety issues in your parking lot, you've probably never watched the footage. Why would you?
Take the time now to review the video quality. Can you clearly see a moving license plate? A face?
If not, consider investing in a HD camera system.
3. Brighten the space
You find yourself in a shady parking lot, a single amber light buzzing faintly in the distance. You wonder if someone is watching you. You hustle into your car and lock the door immediately.
We've all been there before. It's terrifying! Can't your hotel do better?
Tour your parking lot after sunset and look closely for shadowy corners, dingy pathways, and other scary-looking areas.
Lighting consultants or security experts can recommend solutions that fill the space with light. Think about using lighter or reflective paint, which will scatter light more effectively.
In turn, this will improve the footage from your new HD camera system. Your guests will feel safer and happier immediately.
4. Security patrols
So far, we've suggested only passive security improvements. But to really ramp up your safety, keep mobile patrols in mind.
An officer can drive through your lot on a regular basis, several times a night. Depending on your hotel's unique needs, add supplemental foot patrols as needed.
Work with the security provider to plan the patrol runs around your schedule. For instance, a patrol could be scheduled at the time of an overnight shift change. Staff returning to their cars could trust that the parking lot was safe and secure.
The possibilities are nearly endless, and you can thus blend parking lot safety with general security enhancements.
This approach has the added advantage of bringing "fresh eyes" onto the property around the clock. The patroller will look out for hazards or maintenance issues, stopping problems before they become serious.
Prevention costs < recovery costs
All of these ideas are affordable and effective ways to boost your security, starting today. It requires some up-front investment, it's true.
But the cost of prevention doesn't even compare to the cost of recovery from a crime.
Hotels face more than 10,000 lawsuits each year for security-related lapses. The cost of a lawsuit — not to mention lost business and higher insurance costs — could be catastrophic.
By analyzing and improving your hotel parking security today, you'll position your property for great success in the years to come.