On November 16, 2017, a forum of Hotel Security Executives gathered in MIAMI to discuss the post effects of the Las Vegas Shooting and how that may change the “Hotel Security” moving forward. Some of the Panelist included current FBI and Law Enforcement and former Israeli experts to name a few of the subject matter experts.
While there were dozens of issues discussed, the focus was addressing what do we do as a hospitality industry to get prepared and take lessons learned from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history that may change HOTEL SECURITY moving forward. And, while the global hospitality industry continues to recover from the security gaps associated with this incident, security remains a huge challenge and very costly undertaking for hotels.
Over 50 Dead, Hundreds Wounded In Shooting At Las Vegas Country Music Festival. Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers from his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas around 10 p.m. on Sunday night. At least 58 people were killed, plus the gunman and over 500 were injured. Paddock, who had no serious criminal history.
THE PROBLEM Security and screening methods often fall by the wayside in large hotels that can’t afford expensive screening systems or don’t want to make their guests feel as if they’re back in a TSA line.
THE INTERM SOLUTION Hotel industry experts instead have increasingly turned toward more unusual strategies for protecting guests, including training staff to recognize suspicious behavior and even using algorithms to spot patterns of bizarre behavior that a human might miss. Above all, whether it means a small change to staff training or a big change to operations, the Las Vegas shooting has signaled a turning point in the way hotels will need to think about safety.
The mere presence of additional security can often serve as a deterrent to crime, and while it might not have been successful in preventing the attack in Las Vegas, a greater security presence could have made it possible to respond to the shooter more rapidly. A heavier security presence could also benefit outdoor venues.
While no data was immediately available on how effective that scheme has been, anecdotal evidence supports the idea. In the case of a potential shooter or terrorist, hotel workers might be on the lookout for someone who books multiple rooms on the same floor (as in a human trafficking case), requests a very specific type of room, brings an unusual amount of luggage, or leaves the “do not disturb” sign on their door for more then 24 hours.
With the hub of a busy hotel that might see hundreds if not thousands of guests a day, the average housekeeper or desk attendant might be unable to notice all of those things, however. Unlike airports where workers can be trained to notice specific signs, the baseline of normal behavior in a hotel is much different.
THE CHALLENGES FOR HOTELS
1. Today’s Global Uncertainty While the global hospitality industry continues to recover from the post effects of the terrorist attack on Las Vegas Hotel Shooting this year, the war on terrorism remains a major concern. Terror attacks are the most direct example of global uncertainty. The hotel industry needs to take a proactive approach in addressing these issues and their potential impact.
2. Human Resources Issues Human Resource is an area that is growing in importance. As the hotel industry needs to focus on its employees and their roles as service providers. Increasing demand requires increased staffing levels at a time when the labor pool is shrinking. To address this issue, the hotel industry must attempt to work with private sector alliances, devote more time and money to recruitment and training and education.
3. Branding Issues Increased competition between the hotel brands may lead in instilling security training to staff and leverage its brand standards.
4. Financial Viability There is a significant amount of capital currently flowing into the hospitality industry. Hotel, like airports, should be able to charge a Guest Facilitation Fee to all reservation or include in the so-called, “resort fee” in efforts to streamline an ROI to cover the added security associated expenses.
5. Technology The hospitality industry must do a better job of managing technology and addressing the challenges posed by new threats and risk factors and changing technology. Specifically, the industry must align technology investment with business objectives, address aging and inadequate infrastructure (at both the corporate and the property levels); and learn to better utilize technology in marketing to guests, training employees, yield management, and meeting customer requirements.
6. Operating Cost While the hotel industry has experienced strong revenue growth in recent years “non-controllable” costs such as utilities, insurance, and government regulation have increased significantly. And, there is the potential for increases in controllable costs such as for security. The hotel industry just like other industry must embrace the need for a “security budget” that is aligned with today’s security landscape and takes the steps to address the potential risk factors. The threat of terrorist attack remains a major concern for the industry. Hotel operators must make every effort to protect their guests while encouraging tourism.
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