SafePlace Corporation 55 In February 2002, a guest staying at the Hilton in Cherry Hill, New Jersey,

SafePlace Corporation55

In February 2002, a guest staying at the Hilton in Cherry
Hill, New Jersey, died while attending a convention. Several other guests were
sent to the hospital amid fears of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease or an
anthrax attack. Later, it was determined that the guest had died from pneumonia
and a blood infection unrelated to the hotel. The alarm surrounding this incident
illustrates how important safety has become to a hotel’s business.

In response to this need, John C. Fannin III, a fi re
protection and industrial security expert, formed and is the president of
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SafePlace Corporation55

In February 2002, a guest staying at the Hilton in Cherry
Hill, New Jersey, died while attending a convention. Several other guests were
sent to the hospital amid fears of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease or an
anthrax attack. Later, it was determined that the guest had died from pneumonia
and a blood infection unrelated to the hotel. The alarm surrounding this incident
illustrates how important safety has become to a hotel’s business.

In response to this need, John C. Fannin III, a fi re
protection and industrial security expert, formed and is the president of the
SafePlace Corporation. The firm is an independent provider of safety
accreditation of lodging, health care, educational, and commercial buildings
and other occupancies where the safety of people is a concern. Like the “Good
Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” SafePlace® Accreditation requirements are based
on the security, fi re protection, and health and life safety provisions of
selected nationally recognized codes, standards, and best practices.

The Hotel duPont in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first
lodging facility in the United States to receive the SafePlace seal of
approval. Such an accreditation process involves a rigorous inspection of the
facility and identifies the best practices the hotel should employ, such as the
use of key cards (as opposed to keys), self-closing doors, smoke detectors and
sprinklers in the guest rooms, throw-bolt locks on the doors, excellent water
quality, and safe work and food-handling practices among the hotel staff. The
Hotel duPont, which paid a $45,000 fee for the inspection and consulting
services, displays the SafePlace seal in the lobby and plans to feature the
credential on all of the hotel’s marketing materials. Other early adopters of
the SafePlace program are New Orleans’ Hotel Montcleone and the Sagamore in
Bolton Landing, New York. Both report that their approvals have led to
increased business.

Tricia Hayes, director of marketing at The Sagamore said
that SafePlace has brought meeting-planner attention to her facility and
management comfort in adopting best risk-management practices. “Our
accreditation has had a big impact on meeting professionals. Our sales managers
use it as a sales tool.”

Since launching its program, SafePlace is doing particularly
well with independent hotels that, according to Fannin, are “quicker to respond
to customer preferences than a chain would be.” In turn, Fannin feels that
there is a huge opportunity in the education market, particularly with colleges
and universities (for example, the accreditation of dormitories).

Discussion Questions 1. Describe the core service concept
and benefits that SafePlace provides to a hotel and its guests. How would you
describe these benefits in the body of an ad?

2. What steps could John Fannin take to fuel the growth of
SafePlace?

3. Assess the prospects for SafePlace in the education
market and suggest a potential strategy the firm might follow to penetrate this
market.

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