Safety at Resorts

In the excitement of planning your vacation, the last thing from your mind may be your personal safety and the safety of your valuables, but it shouldn't be. Popular tourist destinations don't just attract vacationers, they also attract shady characters who are quite aware that tourists may be more distracted when traveling and more vulnerable to crimes such as theft. Be aware that accidents can happen on vacation, and unexpected disasters too, such as fire, or earthquake.  All good resorts and hotels have safety and security plans in place and should be willing to share those plans with you, but you can be your own advocate and prepare for the unexpected by learning ways to prevent crimes and accidents.

Safety First

Most well-known resorts have a good safety/security plan in place. The resort's success depends on keeping their visitors safe and secure. Many resorts consider ALL staff members (not just employees assigned to security) to be part of the security team. Staff are put through safety training programs and expected to be vigilant to any potential security threats.  For example, the iconic Walt Disney World Resorts, often tied to theme parks, puts safety at number one on a list of four quality standards (the others are courtesy, show and efficiency) employees must adhere to in making operational decisions.

The Hyatt Regency also considers guest security and comfort a top priority and trains all hotel staff to be responsible and accountable for security.

Security Technologies

Larger resorts like the Hyatt will have more advanced security technologies. The Hyatt boasts integrated surveillance systems, advanced lock and access control systems and sophisticated asset protection tools. Other resorts use closed circuit televisions and recording technology (CCTV) at key areas. Trained security guards monitor the surveillance.

Fire/Life/Safety Systems

Every resort should have fire/life/safety systems and monitoring in place. Guests should be made aware and have easy access to an evacuation plan in case of emergency. Part of the staff training should be on emergency response plans that include training on meeting the needs of distraught vacationers caught in a natural disaster. The devastating storm that hit Alberta, Canada in 2013 stranded many visitors in Banff.  A trained and committed Grand Pacific Resort Management staff at Banff Gate Mountain Resort made all the difference in helping provide care and comfort to guests stranded at the resort until they were able to evacuate. Staff disaster training made a difficult situation less stressful for all involved.

Security and Safety tops on the list for ARDA

ARDA (American Resort Development Association) rates safety and security so high on its radar that they have even included it as category #36 (Safety/Security Individual/Team) in their annual ARDA WORLD awards competition.  One finalist for the award is Jon Fazzio of Grand Pacific Resort Management who as its Safety Director has really turned the company's safety program into one that is an example for the timeshare industry. Since implementing new safety programs, procedures and compliance standards, the safety at the company's 19 resorts has had a significant decrease in number of overall accidents in the past 3 years. In 2010, Grand Pacific recorded 39 accidents within the 13 resorts in the system. As the number of resorts rose, the number of accidents declined. The decrease continued each year up to 2013 with only 14 recordable accidents within the 20 resorts in the system.

Take the Initiative

When you travel, take the same precautions you do at home to protect your family and valuables.

Always lock your doors

Don't leave your room or unit without locking the door. The same goes for your car (rental or your own). Make sure valuables are locked away safely. If your room has an in-room safe…use it!  Never leave valuables visible in your car, take them with you, or lock all valuables in the trunk of the car.

Check the U.S. State Department Website for Travel Warnings

When traveling to a foreign country, check the U.S. State Department's website for any travel warnings or advisories for specific areas of the country. For instance, Mexico is generally safe in all the major tourist destinations. Much of the gang-drug violence we hear about is in areas very close to the U.S. border, probably areas you wouldn't be vacationing in anyway.

Make Copies of Important Documents 

Whether traveling within or without of the U.S., make copies of all your important documents such as passports or visas. Leave a copies with a relative or friend.

Credit and Debit Cards

Always alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling outside of the U.S. and where you will be traveling…you don't want the bank to think someone has stolen your card, and deny your card when you try to use it. Be aware of ATM use in other countries, and try to use your debit card only inside a bank or in a secure, locking ATM area.

With some planning and an awareness of your own safety and protection, most vacations turn out just the way you hoped them to be!
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