In the security industry, the term “Visitor Management” often refers to a platform that is an extension of the access control system that provides access to and tracks people visiting the facility who do not have assigned credentials. These platform features usually include:
- Temporary badging
- Enrollment in the access control system for specific time periods
- Identification, signature and photo capture
- Policy review and confirmation of qualifications and certification
- Verification against established databases or pre-registration
- Notification of the individual the visitor is meeting
- Visitor tracking within designated physical areas
- Historical tracking for reporting
The above items will appeal to personnel charged with securing facilities; however, I would like to call attention to the perspective of a visitor. Visitors to your facility may be customers, vendors or guests, each with their own perspective and needs. This is not always intuitive when we navigate our own facilities, since we are familiar with them. Some items to consider:
- Have you used your own visitor check-in process as a visitor? How was this interaction?
- Only relying on posted and publicly available information, is it apparent how to access the facility as a visitor?
- If an emergency occurs, are the exit routes clear? How do you learn of the emergency?
- After entering the facility as a visitor, what areas do you have access to?
- What information is within view of visitors after entering and is this appropriate to have accessible to visitors?
- Are there any safety items that visitors should be aware of in areas accessible to visitors?
- Do visitors know what mass notification or emergency communication systems are in place at your facility?
- Are there emergency response people at your facility that are responsible for visitors in an emergency?
Many organizations have plans to ensure that facility occupants are safe and communicate this to those guests that frequent the facility. Infrequent visitors to the facility will already be at a disadvantage as it is unfamiliar, and they will likely not have received any prior communications or information around emergency response and safety procedures. Providing clear communications around emergency response to your visitors will help provide them with a comfortable experience while mitigating risk.