Demonstrating a commitment to security

Gavin Bailey, Operations Director of CitySuites believed security was a strong asset of its operations and therefore believed independent assessment and accreditation by a recognised international body would add value to its offering.

For the past five consecutive years, CitySuites has achieved Building Accreditation from ISAAP, a leading provider of accreditation to the serviced accommodation industry. In 2021 ISAAP launched Secure Serviced Accommodation Accreditation (a security assessment for serviced accommodation standard), and CitySuites decided to become one of the first participants in the new security accreditation scheme.

“We were attracted to the rigour of ISAAP’s accreditation process, which included a full site review and training requirements to pass accreditation. We felt having it independently assessed and accredited by an international body would add further value to our offering.”, comments Bailey.

“We felt reassured that the accreditation was meaningful and ISAAP would not issue accreditation unless a business was prepared to invest in high levels of security. The process allowed us to review and update new policies and training processes and embed these into the CitySuites operational business.”

The process

ISAAP’s accreditation process identifies three distinct types of serviced accommodation provider: the Aparthotel (which is similar to a hotel); a residential block (with no staff on site or concessions such as bars or restaurants), and serviced apartments in shared buildings (where a proportion of the apartments are used for accommodation). Each different type of provider needs to demonstrate security processes and procedures relevant to their type of serviced accommodation.

Being an Aparthotel, CitySuites enrolled in the ISAAP Secure Serviced Accommodation Accreditation scheme for Aparthotels, which closely mirrors the hotel security assessments provided by ISAAP’s sister business, GSA Global.

ISAAP’s MD, Stephen Martin, oversaw the onsite elements of the assessment process for both the building accreditation (ISAAP) and the security assessment (GSA Global). This first-hand experience allowed Stephen to understand how the services impacted CitySuites and identify any duplications in the two processes. Bailey highlighted several features of the accreditation that were important for CitySuites: “The focus on training was critical, as well as the rigorous overview of documented security policies and processes.  We were also pleased the accreditation focussed on cyber security and crisis management.”

The result

CitySuites was one of the first participants for ISAAP’s Secure Serviced Accommodation Accreditation. Upon completion of an action plan drawn up by the ISAAP assessor, the company successfully received its accreditation award in early November 2022.

Speaking of the process, Gavin Bailey, Operations Director, said: “ISAAP and GSA Global’s rigorous approach was highly professional throughout. The qualitative feedback and recommendations from its assessors have helped us refine our approach to safety, quality and security – all critical components in enhancing the guest experience. As well as allowing us to review, update, and add new policies and training processes across our operations, it will make request for proposals (RFPs) simpler, with accreditation likely to become a requirement on some RFPs in the near future. This process has allowed us to demonstrate how seriously we take the safety of our guests, staff, and contractors.”

CitySuites has since reviewed, updated and added new policies and training processes across its operations to demonstrate how seriously it takes the safety of guests, staff and contractors. It has also updated its website to include its ISAAP accreditation and linked back to ISAAP’s website so that corporate and leisure clients can see its commitment to safety and security.