As part of its ongoing focus on safety, Marriott International [NASDAQ: MAR] today announced it is ramping up the deployment of alert devices for housekeepers and other on-property associates allowing them to discretely summon help if they feel harassed in any way, need quick support or spot a guest in distress.
Further signaling its ongoing commitment to safety, the company will be making associate alert devices a new standard across its portfolio of more than 5,000 managed and franchised hotels in the United States and Canada and is exploring similar technology solutions to meet the needs of its global hotel portfolio and workforce. The associate alert technology rollout is projected to continue through 2020 as the company and its franchise partners fine-tune and tailor installations at individual sites ranging from high rise city properties to sprawling resorts to suburban hotels.
After more than a year of field testing and modifying solutions based on input from housekeepers and safety and security experts, Marriott International and its franchise partners are expanding and accelerating the rollout of associate alert technology, including devices that can pinpoint the location of the alert issuer, which has proven effective in scenarios where rapid response is critical and in hotel settings which can be more than a million square feet in size.
The move sets a high bar within the industry and was applauded by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), which today convened leaders from multiple member hotel companies committed to protecting employees as well as the millions of guests who stay in hotels each day.
"No one should ever be fearful doing their job, least of all associates on-property who are so vital to the success of our company and our industry," said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International. "The safety of everyone at our properties is always a top priority as is deterring and combatting harassment of any kind. I'm deeply proud to say our entire industry is unified around these important goals."
At testing locations to date, many housekeepers have expressed relief and described heightened peace of mind, not because they've had to use the device, but because they know they can if trouble arises.
"I've spoken with housekeepers who describe the feeling of walking into a guest room and not knowing what's on the other side of the door," said Erika Alexander, Chief Lodging Services Officer, The Americas, for Marriott International and a former Marriott Hotel General Manager. "Realizing they now have a device right at their fingertips is automatically empowering and it reminds them they're not alone. I hear the relief and confidence in their voices, I see it in their faces. Not only does it make them feel better, it makes their families feel better about the work environment they're in. That's why we're doing this."
Marriott housekeepers echo this sentiment. "It's a big relief for the whole family. First of all, for me being on the floor late and for my husband and kids. We don't have to worry about mommy, she's never going to be in danger. She's working in a safe environment," shared Latifa E., a Marriott Housekeeper.
"Everybody is happy in the hotel about this change, because everybody feels more safe," said Carlos C., a Marriott Housekeeping Aid.
The associate alert device puts another tool in the hands of Marriott's tens of thousands of associates and complements the company's regular safety and security training and protocols. Together, these tools collectively foster a safer environment in which associates are better able to care for each other and hotel guests.
"The real magic happens when it all comes together, and everybody does their part to create a safe work environment and guest experience," emphasized Alexander. "Putting people first is never going to change as a Marriott core value, but what that looks like and what tools and resources are available to us will evolve over time. In this phase, we're dialing up on safety and security."
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