Keeping Guests Safe: Hospitality, Political Unrest and Terrorism

Can we prepare without alienating our guests? Many solutions are already in place.

Because of the recent proliferation of global terrorism and political unrest, hospitality industry visionaries are glad that they have already started integrating disaster planning into their operations.

For those who haven’t already done so, well-conceived plans that have been tested in high volatility parts of the world can be integrated into operations in areas that previously have been unneeded.

By their very nature, hotels, clubs, resorts, casinos and restaurants are supposed to be discreet, fun and non-intrusive. They are homes away from home, places where life time memories are made, and in some instances, escaping places from the everyday routine of life.  So, how does the hospitality industry balance the safety of our guests without ruining the experience?

I recently had some confidential discussions with HFTP members about their operations and here are a few things that the industry is currently doing:

  1. Installing bullet proof glass in secure areas, lower level windows, and in some cases, hotel shuttles.
  2. Installing riot shutters in areas where civil and political demonstrations occur, or are likely to occur.
  3. Installing reinforced doors.
  4. Building panic rooms or highly secure suites for high risk guests, such as politicians and celebrities.
  5. Adding additional wiring for back up phone systems and having satellite communications available.
  6. Hiring only law enforcement trained guards and engaging government security officials to design response systems.
  7. Using Explosive Detection Animals to monitor public areas, sleeping floor hallways, etc.
  8. Building secure mailrooms with small X-ray machines
  9. Adding access control systems and next generation CCTV to monitor “back of the house areas.”  In some cases, these feature motion controls, facial recognition and more.
  10. Increasing the amount of staff training to respond to suspicious situations and guest concerns.
  11. Installing crash rated fencing and pop up barriers. Here is a video example of a truck traveling 50 miles per hour crashing into a barrier:

Frank Wolfe, CAE is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). He often speaks on hospitality technology through the GUESTROOM 20X program. Follow him on Twitter @frankwolfe.

Photo courtesy of John Linwood.

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