Job Analysis of the Director of Security - Hotel Front Office Management

The job analysis of a director of security outlines the administrative and supervisory tasks of this member of the management team. Active planning to ensure quick and effective reactions to problems and emergencies is the basis for successful job performance. A typical job analysis might be as follows:

8:00 a.m. Reports to the hotel.

8:05 Discusses the activities of the previous night with the parking garage attendant.

8:15 Discusses the activities of the previous night with the security shift supervisor or security guard on duty.

8:30 a.m. Obtains notes concerning the activities of the previous night from the night auditor. Obtains the daily function sheet, which lists the events of the day.

8:40 Checks the audit report of fire and safety equipment located at the front desk.

8:45 Discusses the status of heating, ventilating, and air - conditioning equipment with the director of maintenance.

9:00 Meets with the security shift supervisor or security guards for the first shift to communicate activities and duties of the day.

9:30 Meets with the executive chef to be updated on special functions of the day and incidental activities in that department.

10:00 Meets with the housekeeper to discuss incidental activities in that department.

10:30 Returns to the office to review the daily security shift reports.

10:45 Updates the general manager on the status of security within the hotel and incidental departmental activities of importance.

11:00 Discusses the activities of the day with the restaurant manager.

11:30 Returns to the office to prepare the weekly schedule.

11:45 Responds to a call from the front office that a guest is stranded in the elevator. Assists maintenance in keeping order.

12:45 p.m. Meets with the director of marketing and sales to determine the security needs for an upcoming high school prom and insurance executives convention.

1:00 Returns to the office to work on the budget for the next fiscal year.

1:30 Lunches with the city fire marshal to discuss plans for renovating the sprinkler system in the new wing.

2:15 Meets with the front office manager to discuss the fire emergency and bomb threat action plan for front office personnel.

2:45 Meets with the security shift supervisors for the first and second shifts to discuss operational procedures.

3:15 Conducts a fire emergency training program for fourth - and fifth - floor housekeeping personnel.

4:15 Returns to the office to revise the fire emergency and bomb threat action plan for front office personnel.

A guest calls down to the front desk indicating that her son has not returned from the vending machine area. He has been gone for 25 minutes. How should the desk clerk respond? What systems need to be in place for prompt, efficient actions?

5:00 p.m. Meets with the general manager to discuss the status of fire safety training in all departments.

5:30 Responds to a call from the front office that a guest has fallen on hotel property. Assists the guest with first aid and arranges for transportation to a medical facility. Completes an accident report. Assists the family of the guest in making arrangements for an extended stay.

6:00 Confers with maintenance personnel on the operational status of fire safety equipment.

6:15 Prepares a “to do” list for the next day.

6:30 Checks with the banquet captain on the status of guests at scheduled banquets.

6:45 Checks with the lounge manager on the status of guests.

6:55 Checks with the front office manager on the status of guest check - in.

7:00 Checks with the garage attendant for an update on activities.

7:05 Checks with the shift security supervisor for an update on patrol activities.

7:10 Departs for the day.

This job analysis shows the security director to be very involved with managing details concerning the whereabouts of people and showing a proactive concern for their safety. There is constant interaction with various department directors, employees, government officials, guests, and operational equipment. All of these job tasks describe a very responsible position in the hotel. The following comment on hotel guest safety outlines the objective of a hotel’s obligations to guests:

The hotel is not the insurer of guest safety but it must exercise the care of a reasonable and prudent operator in protecting the guest. This duty extends to an
innkeeper’s obligation to protect guests from

  • negligent or deliberate acts of hotel employees
  • acts of other guests
  • acts by non guests committed on the premises.

Failure to conform to the reasonableness standard in these three areas provides a liability risk for the hotel.

The responsibilities outlined in the job description for the director of security may be assigned to other workers in some hotels due to budgetary reasons. The general manager in a limited-service property, for example, may assign the crisis management role of maintaining control of an emergency situation to the manager on duty. The administrative role may be shared with the assistant manager, reservations manager, and/or housekeeper.

In - House Security Departments versus Contracted Security Services

General managers of hotels must determine if operating an in - house security department is cost - effective. Operating a well-organized security department must be the primary concern when considering the hiring of an outside security firm. As the job analysis for the director of security indicated, there is more to the position than patrolling the halls and grounds of the hotel.

Foot patrol - walking the halls, corridors, and outside property of a hotel to detect breaches of guest and employee safety - is an important feature of security, but it is a preventive measure, not an active means of organizing security. However, in some situations, a general manager will be forced, for economic reasons, to consider the purchase of an outside service. Administrative and planning procedures for operating a security department are delegated to other department heads. The cost consideration must be weighed against planning and coordinating a safe environment for the guest and employee.

The hourly rate charged by the security service for escort service, having a uniformed security guard escort a hotel employee to a financial institution to make bank deposits; for performing regular hall patrol; and for maintaining surveillance of the parking garage may seem very attractive compared to the annual salaries and administrative overhead incurred by operating an in - house security department 24 hours a day.

But more than cost must be considered. Who will work with the other department directors to establish fire safety and security procedures? Who will plan and deliver fire safety and security training sessions? Who will monitor fire safety devices? Who will work with city officials in interpreting fire and safety codes? Who will update management on the latest technology to ensure a safe environment? These and other questions will have to be answered if owners and management are committed to the concept of security. If an outside security service is hired, the role of maintaining security is parceled out to the various department directors.

The director of maintenance will operate the fire safety and security equipment, maintain operating records of fire safety equipment and elevators, and react to hazardous situations. The general manager will, if time permits, establish a safety committee that reacts to government guidelines and potential hazards. Each department director will, if time permits, establish security guidelines based on previous personal experiences. Under such circumstances, safety and security become low priorities. The lack of coordination almost guarantees disaster when an emergency strikes. In an article concerning hotel security, a director of security reports the following:

“Creating the biggest security problems in the past several years are liability, risk management and loss control,” according to Mark Beaudry, director of security at the Westin Boston. “Crime prevention education and training have moved to the forefront in order to prevent lawsuits when possible, especially when administrative work from litigation can take up almost one - third of a security director’s time. Directors of security have been assigned new duties such as risk management. They must be the liaison with the police in defending the hotel and also must know civil and criminal laws,” said Beaudry.

Meeting the challenges of providing security for guests and employees requires a full time approach. Part-time efforts to control crises in a hotel may be shortsighted. The following story shows the consequences of not providing adequate security.

The security department in a hotel works closely with the front office manager. (Photo courtesy of Pinkerton Security and Investigation Services.)

security department in a hotel works closely with the front office manager

The verdict against Hilton Hotels Corp. in the Tailhook case could have far reaching implications concerning hotel liabilities in providing security for guests, according to hospitality legal experts. In this case, former Navy Lt. Paula Coughlin sued Hilton for failing to provide adequate security during the Tailhook Association convention at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1991. Jurors awarded Coughlin $1.7 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Hilton claimed that hree security guards were adequate for the 5,000 people at the event.

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