Breaches of implicit trust between hosts and guests in B&B accommodation have recently been reported, reminding us of our security obligations to our guests and, of course, ourselves.
This is an article excerpt. Read the full article in Accom Management Guide, our accom industry guide to the galaxy (well, New Zealand).
These events have reminded me that our (that is, all accommodation providers, including B&B operators) obligations under the Inn Keepers Act 1962:
“Subject to the provisions of this act, every innkeeper shall be liable as an innkeeper for the loss of or damage to property brought to the inn by any guest, whether or not the loss or damage was caused by the default or negligence of another guest or of the innkeeper or his servant or agent.”
In the relaxed environment of a B&B or other hosted accommodation, it is easy to forget that we must be mindful of our responsibilities. Providing a lock for the guest to lock themselves in and others out is a basic requirement but if you service the rooms and, like me, like to give it a good airing are you mindful that you may be leaving your guests’ possessions at risk if you leave the door to the room open? For smaller properties, this can be alleviated by making sure access is prohibited by keeping entrance and back doors closed and locked but in the heat of summer that is not always observed.
A room safe for personal valuables and passports is relatively inexpensive and provides another level of security for your guests. At our B&B, our security was such that an iPad stayed hidden for two years in the safe (its magnetic cover stuck to the side of the safe and it was completely hidden from view!) but what about those medicines requiring refrigeration? Personally, I dislike refrigerators in the rooms so our guests share a fridge in a casual lounge, which some guests did question so we do have a small fridge that can be moved into the room to provide this security if the guest requires it.
Providing a safe place for guest cars is also something accommodation providers should ensure they provide. Accidents happen and once when we were not able to persuade our guest to park on our driveway, a neighbour sneezed as she was backing out and went straight into the side of the guest’s car. However, under the act, we as innkeepers are not liable for this or for loss from the car.
We take care of the guests and their property but we must not forget our own property and personal security.