Prevent Vandalism in Hotels

Many a time we have seen hoteliers and properties at a fix on how to tackle such situations, as well as how to prevent them.Whetherone runs a museum, a landmark or a cultural attraction, it is a good idea to have several options in place to encourage positive visitor behaviour that can help in the protection of your assets. Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India shares insights and helpful tips that can help your properties stay in good condition whilst ensuring visitors continue to enjoy a great experience.

PROPERTY DAMAGE is an inevitable and painful thing whether deliberate or not. It is even more painful when this is caused by vandalism, which not only causes a lot of anger and damage to your pride, but also undermines the image of your property and hampers the traveller experience for others.

Make eye contact to make visitors behave

People are less likely to misbehave if they know someone is paying attention. That’s why retail stores employ a greeter. That friendly hello is more than just a nice start to a shopper’s experience – it can also reduce theft because customers know employees are watching. Even if one doesn’t have a greeter, one can train the cashiers, security and other staff to smile and make eye contact with visitors to help reduce the chance of inappropriate behaviour.

Use strategic signs to your advantage

Investing in a few signs that grab attention and encourage compliance can be well worth the effort. Some attractions use humor, others are more serious. Some use words, others use images (as a bonus, illustrations are often universally understood). Whatever style is right for your brand, location is key. Place signs in visible areas near where visitors are likely to want to touch, steal from or otherwise disturb parts of the attraction.

Leverage the power of social proof

People are often compelled to do what others are doing too. It’s compliance through social proof, something that marketers have used for years to encourage specific behaviours. One way to incorporate social proof is in the signage. Instead of “Please don’t touch,” a sign can have more impact if it says, “Like the 10,000 visitors before you, please do not touch.” to encourage common behaviour of not disturbing the display.

Put up barriers to block touching

Sometimes one needs more tangible protection. That’s when physical barriers are useful. While velvet ropes, metal railings and museum cases are more intrusive and can dampen visitor engagement, they can be invaluable when it comes to safeguarding fragile or precious items or areas. And in some instances, a case or other barrier can add to an item or attraction’s perceived value (“it must be expensive!”) or appeal (“it must be special!”).

Offer a designated “hands on” area

Some attractions, such as museums, are exclusively or primarily “do-not-touch.” Having an “it’s-okay-to-touch” area is like a pressure valve for the tactilely inclined (for instance, young children). One should clearly mark that this area – and only this area – allows for a hands-on experience. For instance, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has a room where children can dig in sand to explore their junior archeologist careers.

Talk with other attraction owners

It’s important to discuss the issue with other attraction owners. See what works – or doesn’t work – for them. At the very least, this is a good opportunity to network with other local attraction owners. One can also reach out to owners of similar attractions – searching or browsing TripAdvisor can help one identify owners with similar audiences, attractions and concerns; and this may just turn some new contacts into valuable, proven advice.

While there will always be certain limitations to absolutely control such tendencies, some of the above can be good starter ideas for balancing visitor engagement while protecting your investment. After all, the well-being of your property is invaluable, whatever the price of admission is.

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