Arlo Guthrie, Tesla, and Hotel Signage

Sometimes you need a trivia to start your day. So, what do folk artist Arlo Guthrie and the rock-band Tesla have in common? You guessed it. Hit songs. And now for the bonus points…hit songs that mention signs. Physical, posted-for-all-to-read signs, like the ones you may (or may not) have at your hotel.

In “This Land Is Your Land,” Arlo sang, “And on the sign it said ‘No Trespassing.’ But on the other side it didn’t say nothing. That side was made for you and me.” Decades later, Tesla broke out with “Signs, signs, everywhere signs, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”

Now, your hotel guests are probably not radical songwriters looking to revolutionize America. They may, in fact, ignore your signs completely. But when an accident occurs, their lawyers will be looking for posted signs that could have prevented the tragedy from striking. The absence of the right signs could be the hotel guest’s golden ticket to winning a lawsuit.

There are the common cases of injuries occurring when someone slips on a wet surface. No “wet floor” sign around? This could spell trouble. Then there are the less common cases. One hotel had a staircase located at the end of a long hallway. There were not adequate warning or directional signs, and the hotel guest suffered injuries when trying to exit. Although the architects and contractors were at fault for poor design, the hotel ended up taking the hit.

The big picture here is: It’s OK to have lots of signs. In fact, you may want to evaluate your existing signage and buy some new nails. It’s a sign-crazy world, but when it comes to keeping guests safe and protecting your hotel, a few more clear signs may be the way to go.

Sign Basics

  1. Evacuation signs – Are they easy-to-follow and posted where appropriate? Do you have a combination of text and visuals?
  2. Wet floor signs – a must-have for the unexpected.
  3. “To Exit” or “Exit Up Ramp” signs in addition to with the fire EXIT signs. Directing patrons with arrows on additional signage can go a long way to ensure that guests can exit safely.
  4. Are all restrooms labeled clearly? Have you considered labeling a single-occupancy restroom as a “family” or “all gender” restroom?
  5. Is your Pool Rules sign up-to-date and comprehensive?
  6. What other areas of the hotel could use extra warning signs? Any problem areas that need addressing?
  7. Have you gone the extra mile and posted in Spanish too?

Click here to take our fire safety and evacuation plan quizzes.Don’t worry, if you need a song running through your head when evaluating the signage at your hotel, you can always stream a little Ace of Base to remind you that “I saw the sign. And it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign…”