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Safehotels branches out to raise venue security in Asia

Safehotels Alliance, which has created the Global Hotel Security Standard, will establish local representation partners in China, India and throughout South-east Asia by 2016, writes TTG Mices.

Its only presence in Asia today is in Thailand, represented by Bert Van Walbeek, vice president business development Asia Pacific.

The local partners will measure the security features of hotels and conference venues, such as locking systems to availability of first aid equipment, and issue a certification that remains valid for a year.

The alliance has certified 200 hotels so far, with most of them being in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

CEO Hans Kanold explained the company’s expansion into Asia is driven by demand from travel managers and hotels that insist on having a global standard in security.

He explained: “One of the weaknesses is that hotels may comply to local standards but there is no one enforcing it. Hotels may also be weak in training and general safety awareness among staff. Hardware maintenance may also be lacking.”

The Global Hotel Security Standard is recognised by ICCA and Kanold is working on getting it recognised on the buyer side, such as travel managers, tour operators and travel agents.

Geoffrey Fordham, senior vice president, engineering, Safety & Security, Onyx Hospitality Group, believed that a global certification can “give confidence in our own internal systems”.

Fordham added: “We also get very detailed requests for proposals on safety and security to the extent that we have to name the person responsible for (those aspects).”

Underscoring the importance of safety, Geetha Arekal, Asia Pacific travel lead at Unilever Industries, said: “In our RFP we want to know how a hotel measures safety and does it match with our requirements. One bad feedback will wipe a hotel from our RFP."