Victoria, British Columbia has a lot to offer: mild winters, plenty of parks, outdoor activities and greenery to spare, to name a few. Some properties near downtown Victoria, however, get more than just the good parts of the city.
The Parkside Hotel & Spa is a seven-year-old luxury hotel located in downtown Victoria. Since this property offers four-star accommodations and amenities, it was a particular shock to staff and guests to find unwelcome and potentially dangerous visitors on guestroom floors and in areas that are restricted to staff only.
Despite the fact that the hotel already employed security during the day, these individuals found their way in off the street, posing potential health and safety issues for both guests and staff. That’s why Trina White, general manager of the hotel, decided to call in the pros.
“I’ve been working in the hotel industry for about 18 years and I’ve always had a good experience with security companies, so I recommended we go with the security firm Commissionaires based on good experiences from other hotels that used their services,” says White.
Parkside Hotel & Spa has employed the firm for about three years after discovering the presence of intruders from off the street in hidden regions of the hotel. Not only that, it seemed these visitors were passing along information on getting into the building to other individuals on the street. White had no choice but to spring into action to prevent further intruders into the hotel.
When Commissionaires was hired on to work at Parkside Hotel & Spa, the first thing they did was a walk-through of the building to identify potential security issues.
“They took the time to recommend areas to improve on. We did quite an intense walk-through of the building with a manager and one of the main security personnel and they recommended additional security measures that we put in place, locking certain doors and using one-way locks and different measures like that. We made those changes and they started doing security rounds right away,” says White.
In addition, White says the presence of a tent city in downtown Victoria in 2015 caused issues for other local businesses. According to her, commercial buildings and businesses nearby with no security had ongoing problems with break-ins and squatters while the tent city was set up. However, the presence of Commissionaires security personnel deterred intruders to the point that the hotel did not report any suspicious activity related to the tent city during that time.
“They provide patrol services seven days a week from evening to morning, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., because that was when we’d most likely have incidences with people getting into the hotel and when we have the least amount of staff working,” White explains. “The security personnel have checkpoints they have to go through continuously throughout their night. They walk the entire building and check in on staff that are working and they provide reports on anything out of the ordinary that they might find, for example if a fire door is jammed open or if they have to escort a non-guest off the property. They also help the guest services team in dealing with any actual guest that is intoxicated or too loud.”
Now, White says the hotel is completely secure. “Commissionaires did a great job getting us re-established from a security perspective. The staff feels secure. Prior to working with Commissionaires, some of the staff said they felt unsafe. We’ve had no issues with workers coming forward to our human resources department to complain about not feeling safe in the workplace since we started working with them,” says White. “Within the first couple of months they were here, we stopped having issues. Now, in the last two and a half years we haven’t had any issues at all.”