A regrettably often overlooked property essential is the installation and maintenance of a security camera system.

A well thought out system can save time, money and be a great management tool.

Here is a “short” list of some of our ‘finds’ over the years:

  • Employee drinking on the job
  • Vandalizing of vending machines
  • Room Break-in
  • Drug Deal
  • Employee stealing from their co-workers purse
  • Friends clocking in for absent employees
  • Housekeepers marking off and getting paid for ‘stay-overs’ (but never took a vacuum into room)
  • temporary help loading their van after hours with our power washer and carpet cleaner
  • Front desk associate giving guest a ‘lap dance’ in the lobby (yes, you read that right!)
  • False guest injury claims
  • Car accident (camera actually was positioned in such a way that it picked up part of the highway. A major/multi-car crash was caught on camera and investigators were able to piece together exactly what had happened and who was at fault)
  • Multiple cases of employees loading product into their cars (toilet paper, towels, bedspreads, tv’s)
  • Guest’s taking coffee pots/tv’s etc.
  • Fender benders in parking lot

Hopefully this list will help you realize the scope of a monitoring system’s usefulness and how it might benefit you in your everyday operations.

We once had a guest claim that an item was stolen from their room while they were out one afternoon. Our camera feed had definitive proof that no one from our staff (or anyone else) had entered the room.


Theft is certainly a main consideration for installing cameras. But what about potential guest claims against the property in a personal injury case? A suit brought by a guest due to a slip and fall they claim was due to your neglect, can be squelched quickly if your camera reveals it was their soda spill that caused the hazard.

Have a guest complaint that a room wasn’t serviced? Or that they had a DND sign on their door and someone entered anyway? It’s so easy to pull up the history on your feed and go through the timeline to see what the real story is.

We once had a guest claim that an item was stolen from their room while they were out one afternoon. Our camera feed had definitive proof that no one from our staff (or anyone else) had entered the room.



There are so many options here that it may seem a bit daunting! For a smaller property with only a couple of entrances and limited public spaces, you may do fine with a self installed NEST or other “like” system. These run nicely on your Wifi. You will have a login and dashboard area online to manage your recordings. From here, you can research any camera on your system and it’s recording history as well as have the ability to download clips to your computer if needed. There are usually plans you can subscribe to for backups and pricing will directly relate to how much history you want them to keep on their servers. As long as you stay on top of monitoring, you should be able to opt for the limited time service and be sure to keep up on downloading all questionable clips for future use.


For larger properties you may opt for a professionally installed system. We went this route for a 113 unit property in Denver. We wanted high resolution cameras and because of the sprawling nature of the property we required 36 cameras. Yes, it was more of an expense. But it saved us numerous times from, employee theft, vandalism, police investigations and so much more!

Camera technology has increased so dramatically over the past several years, that obtaining a system with high-definition and color images even in low light is certainly obtainable at a lower cost than you might think.


  1. Print out a copy of your property map.
  2. Locate the areas that you know for certain will need a camera
    • Front Desk (positioned to get the faces of the guests and you will also want a microphone enabled on this camera)
    • Breakfast Room
    • Pool
    • All entrance doors
    • Front drive in area (to capture license plates)
    • Employee Break Room
    • Laundry Room
    • Business Center
    • Vending Area
    • Guest Laundry Facility
    • Employee time clock
    • Outdoor guest areas (BBq or gathering areas)
  3. Now walk the property with map in hand
    • Look in all directions, is there anything that would be missing from the camera’s angle? If so you may need to add another camera in that location.


You will want to be sure to set up a monitor on the property for instant review. Many large hotels who have security in place would be in charge of monitoring movement on the property. Most of our properties though are probably under 100 or even 55 rooms. In that case, it’s important to have a monitor installed behind the front desk for your associates to keep track of all movement in and around the hotel.

This is especially important during the night audit. Any strange activity or movement is quickly seen by an attentive night clerk.

Remember, the more camera’s you have, the smaller the section on the monitor that each capture area will be. For one of our 36 camera systems in Denver, we opted for a 55 inch monitor placed behind the front desk, in full view of the guests checking in. The area it was situated in had a historically higher crime rating and the addition of this large screen monitor served two purposes. It put our guests at ease knowing that we were taking security seriously. Further, it sent a message to our ‘other than wholesome’ guests, that they may want to keep a low profile while on our property or maybe even stay elsewhere. (Did happen several times)

Whatever system you choose, most all now have the capability to be viewed remotely from your computer or even your phone. This comes in so handy when you are not at the property but still want to see what is happening.

It can be an indispensable coaching and training tool. Let’s face it, we just can’t be at the property with full attention 24×7. Imagine your newly hired associate who is just starting to fly ‘solo’ is working. You pull up the live feed and notice she ‘walks’ a guest. You can call her and go over the “what if we tried this” scenario to help her get more effective in guest sales.


Some jurisdictions have privacy and protection laws in place and you need to be sure you are in compliance with those. In most areas, placards that give the public and your employees notice that they are being recorded is all that is needed. Please be sure you understand your state’s laws regarding this.

One other consideration and benefit, your local police will usually be very supportive of your efforts as the installation of cameras on your property will most definitely help to deter crime in and around your property making their jobs a whole lot easier.


What ever system you choose, we can’t emphasize the importance of it’s implementation. It’s doubtful 30 days will go by before you are so glad you did!