Since I deal with the smaller properties of the hotel business, I shall concentrate on the loneliest person in our business that being the night auditor. I always make it a practice to come down from the room to talk to the auditor. You would be surprised at the wealth of information you can acquire just by talking to him/ her. When I started many moons ago, I did my share of night audits, and even though I found the shift difficult, it did provide a clear snapshot of the hotel business. It also showed me that the managers, and owners don’t take the auditor seriously. I noticed that the pay is terrible, and the responsibility is huge. Today, some 36 years later, this mind set still exists. I see auditors especially in medium properties working alone. The owners have entrusted a 7 million dollar property to a low wage earner, now does that make sense to you? It never has to me. The auditor is a person of many talents; he/she must be a clerk, plumber, electrician, counselor, referee, and much more. He/she has to solve problems, answer phones and listen to guest complaints.
Night Auditors and Safety
I have preached this situation many times to owners that there should be at least 2 people on at night. It is for safety reasons if nothing else. I get the same story- payroll - the property does not need two people on at night. I will tell you that things happen, and auditors are at risk. The following is strictly my opinion, but owners fail to provide what I would call reasonable safety for those employees that work the audit alone.
There was an incident in a hotel in California. I had hired a night auditor for this 89 room hotel in Inglewood. The neighborhood was not the best, but the hotel did a great business. There was a night security guard that patrolled the property. It was her misfortune that on the first night of her new job, that 2 persons came in and decided to rob the place. Well, I should say it became their misfortune; they had no sooner announced their intentions, and before they knew what was happening the auditor (Female, Egyptian) came across the desk and crippled both would be robbers. Security arrived just seconds after and handcuffed the robbers. I was later told that the auditor was in the Egyptian army and adept at hand to hand combat. She was not about to have these robbers take anything. By no means is this recommended, but things do happen in LA.
What Constitutes Reasonable Care?
I write this to show that there is a certain danger in this position. Auditors deserve reasonable protection, just like guests do. I can only make recommendations to my clients that have this particular problem; it is up to them to realize what value they place on their employees. Auditors are a special breed, they are hard to find, and keep. I still to this day see a single person behind the desk at early hours when entering a smaller property. In the auditors eyes I may not look like a robber, but as far as I know there is no definition of what type of person makes a robber - just because I am wearing a suit does not mean that I can’t hold up a clerk. I still advocate to owners and managers bite the extra payroll bullet and have two persons on at night.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.