When was the last time you felt unsafe? Chances are, it may not have been that long ago. Your personal safety is nothing to mess with, nor is the safety of attendees at your event. We now spend more time weekly to address safety and security then we spent in a year’s time a decade ago. That’s why we jumped into action when we recently were at a hotel that did not make guest safety a priority or we would have never stumbled upon this disastrous situation.
For those of you who wonder if a site inspection is worth it, they always pay off. While doing our boring and tedious safety check during a hotel site inspection for an upcoming client event, our staff soon realized first hand why we do them as we experienced blocked fire exits on each floor. We immediately darted for the front desk; the general manager was unavailable. Our staff then requested a meeting with security. As security approached us, their attitude demonstrated they were bothered we interrupted them. After explaining the situation, both security guards were rude and blamed fault on a contractor who left the soda and ice machines there and they didn’t know when they would be back to move them.
With anger rising for lack of taking ownership, and our patience running thin, our event planners who are known for having to come up with solutions in even the most unfortunate situations, (last week we evacuated guests out of a hurricane zone), explained different options and were “dismissed,” once again saying there was nothing that could be done until the contractor came back, whenever that would be as it had been a while since they heard from them. They actually had the nerve to blame this on the contractor, citing this was “not a hotel issue.” Of course this was on the hotel! It was not an option to leave other guests in a precarious situation and we demanded that the front desk manager immediately call the general manager and to reply back to us as to how this situation was being resolved as our staff needed to rush off to the airport.
While we’d like to report that this was handled appropriately, we sadly didn’t get the results we had hoped for and we weren’t willing to have it on our company conscience that guests could get trapped in stairwells should a fire occur that day, so we had stayed involved, escalating it as needed.
Who is to blame? Hotel Management! Management does not allow transferring of blame or treating of guests like this, or putting their guests in harms’ way – ever! It’s hard to monitor how a hotel is managed, yet in this case, it’s clear to see that its time for retraining of staff and procedures to ensure your guests are safe at every corner, in every stairwell.
For your next event, don’t skip conducting your own site inspection for any area you need explored and don’t allow anyone else to override your judgment call.