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Major hoteliers to deploy employee safety devices at all US hotels

Major hoteliers such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corp., InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, Marriott International Inc. and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are rolling out employee safety devices, or ESDs, at their hotel properties across the U.S., as part of the hospitality industry's effort to advance employee and guest protection.

The 5-Star Promise initiative expands the deployment of ESDs to all hotel employees nationwide, with broad implementation targeted by 2020, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Hotel companies already provide ESDs to employees in several markets, including New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Seattle.

Hotel companies will also provide improved policies, trainings and resources to ensure safety, including ways to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and assault, as part of the initiative.

Marriott said it will make associate alert devices a new standard at more than 5,000 managed and franchised hotels in the U.S. and Canada, and it is evaluating similar technology solutions for its global hotel portfolio and workforce.

Hilton President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said the company had already rolled out the devices at its New York; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; and Chicago hotels, and implemented anti-harassment and anti-trafficking training across its more than 5,400 properties.

Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said his company recently updated its housekeeping guidance to focus on personal safety. Hyatt mandated the use of ESDs at its full-service, managed U.S. hotels starting in fall 2017, and about 50% of its franchised full-service hotels have followed suit, the executive said.

IHG Americas CEO Elie Maalouf said his company implemented personal safety devices at hotels in New York, Chicago and Seattle, as well as mandatory and enhanced workplace training for U.S. corporate and hotel employees. The company is also working with hotel owners to determine ways to support franchised sites, among other efforts, Maalouf said.

Wyndham Hotels President and CEO Geoff Ballotti said the ESDs are expected to be deployed at the company's owned and managed hotels in the U.S., and annual anti-sexual harassment, discrimination, and human trafficking training will be implemented in the next 12 months. Plans to offer best practices guidelines and training to Wyndham's U.S. franchisees, as well as ESD sourcing solutions, are underway, the executive said.