One year after a historic announcement pledging to increase safety and security at America’s hotels, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced a 230 percent increase in members participating in the 5-Star Promise, growing the commitment to 56 hotel companies. Participating hotels have made significant progress over the past year in deploying employee safety devices (ESDs), with devices already provided in several markets, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, and Miami Beach, and a goal of nationwide implementation by 2020. AHLA has also provided resources to streamline the implementation process, including creating a Device Buyer’s Guide to help hospitality companies purchase and implement ESDs, in addition to establishing a discount program for member companies with select ESD providers.
The 5-Star Promise is a voluntary commitment by AHLA members to enhance policies, trainings, and resources, including providing ESDs, that together are aimed at strengthening the culture of employee and guest safety, with an emphasis on preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault. This comprehensive and unprecedented commitment includes these five important components:
- Build on our industry’s longstanding commitment to hospitality and a people culture by continuing to provide industry-wide training and materials on safety and security, and retain expert guidance to work with the industry on diversity and safety matters.
- Ensure mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies are in place in multiple languages.
- Provide ongoing training and education for employees on identifying and reporting sexual harassment.
- Provide U.S. hotel employees with employee safety devices to help them feel safe on the job.
- Broaden vital partnerships with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence, assault, and trafficking, and promote workplace safety, including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA), and Polaris.
“As an industry of people taking care of people, we have always been deeply committed to safety and security for our employees and guests. We have a responsibility to ensure they feel safe and secure,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “Hotels continuously evaluate and evolve their policies, trainings, and technologies to foster a safe environment and empower our employees. I’m proud of the progress we have made as an industry over the past year, and we will continue our efforts to ensure America’s hotels are safe places for all those who work in and visit them.”
Last September, 17 hotel brands joined AHLA in announcing the 5-Star Promise. Since that time, the industry has made significant progress around safety and security initiatives:
- Member participation has increased 230 percent, from 17 companies to 56.
- An estimated 20,000 hotel properties have committed, resulting in an estimated 1.2 million employees who will be better protected and provided with increased training and resources, including many of whom will be provided with ESDs depending on their job responsibilities.
- More than 5,000 properties have already deployed safety devices this year, with the remaining on track to do so by 2020.
- All 17 brands originally committed to the 5-Star Promise in 2018 have already completed the remaining pillars of the pledge.
- The hotel industry has increased training around sexual assault, harassment, and human trafficking prevention.
- AHLA released a Device Buyer’s Guide created in partnership with Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) to help connect hospitality companies with ESD providers and facilitate the adoption process.
- AHLA established a program for member companies to offer discounts with the following ESD providers: AT&T, Enseo, PwC, React Mobile, RF Technologies, ROAR for Good, and TraknProtect.
Participating brands or properties are determining the best security devices based on the facility’s layout and features, with a range of options, including devices with loud noise-emitting features or emergency global positioning systems (GPS) tracking at the push of a handheld button. This approach reflects the segmented and diverse nature of the hotel industry, as well as the considerable structural differences in building design and layout, construction materials, and Wi-Fi network capabilities within the industry.
As part of this commitment, AHLA has partnered with a number of leading safety and security experts, including the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal support to victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in the workplace, and RALIANCE, a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence.
“The American Hotel & Lodging Association is an example of how all industries can and must step up to champion healthy, safe, and inclusive workplace cultures for their employees. We commend AHLA for proactively addressing important safety and security issues impacting their workforce. RALIANCE is proud to partner with AHLA and the hotel industry on setting the tone for real leadership on this critical issue. Together, we can end sexual violence in one generation,” said Monika Johnson Hostler, founding Managing Partner of RALIANCE.
In addition to this significant progress around the 5-Star Promise, hotels are leading the way across industries when it comes to advancing safety, including:
- No Room for Trafficking campaign, uniting the industry around one comprehensive approach with the goal of training 100 percent of employees.
- Increasing training and partnerships with sexual assault and human trafficking prevention partners.
- Proactively implementing employee safety devices to help ensure employees feel safe.
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign to reaffirm the hotel industry’s commitment to ending sexual violence.
- Bringing together lodging executives and security experts at AHLA’s annual Safety Summit.
- Launching a nationwide tour of regional human trafficking prevention training events in partnership with elected officials and prevention partners.
- Donating $55,000 to partner organizations ECPAT-USA, Polaris, and the DC Rape Crisis Center to help fund human trafficking prevention efforts and sexual assault awareness programs.