SafePlace Makes Hospitality Inroads

SafePlace Corporation, an accrediting agency involved in hospitality for a little more than two years, is close to securing an agreement with a high-profile luxury brand in the U.S. and, shortly after, with a similar international brand.

John C. Fannin III, president and CEO of the Wilmington, DE concern, says SafePlace is doing particularly well with four- and five-star independent luxury properties that are “quicker to respond to customer preferences than a chain would be.” SafePlace confers accreditation based on what it calls the “protection triangle” philosophy. The three legs of the triangle are technology, practices and procedures, and people, Fannin says.

Accreditation takes SafePlace about a week. On the property side, it can take far longer because the property has to gather information on some “600 points” linked to the protection triangle.

SafePlace asks properties for certificates of occupancy, inspection credentials and evidence of policies and procedures related to security and emergency preparedness and management. Once these are gathered and submitted, SafePlace reviews them to determine accreditation worthiness and, if the property qualifies, sends an inspector to survey the site for at least a day and a night, Fannin says.

If the survey shows that the property meets the requirements, it is accredited. The procedure is similar to that of Underwriters Laboratories, Fannin says.

A key benefit of SafePlace accreditation is “that it presents a unique opportunity for interdepartmental communication and cooperation,” he says. “We find that very few hotels have the documentation in a single place because what we do crosses departmental lines. We find and they find — general managers are frequently disappointed to learn — that there's no single depository for regulatory information.”

Other key benefits SafePlace points to are that accreditation will “improve operations and control costs, reduce losses, help mitigate liability, and provide potentially significant insurance reductions,” Fannin says, calling its accreditation an investment, not an expense.

SafePlace just launched SafeMeetings, a free program offering meeting planners and corporate travel managers information on the safety and security of hotels and convention centers. “The medical profession has just locked onto the accreditation,” Fannin says. “Meeting planners seemed to be the first to jump on it.”

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