Published on October 11th, 2012


Security beyond hotel buildings and guest rooms

Post 26/11, security levels in city hotels are changing. They now factor in contingency plans to deal with terrorism too.
by Mehernosh Pithawalla

The whole concept of security at star hotels is undergoing a paradigm shift today. Earlier it was only about guarding property, whereas now, there is additional focus on fire safety, operational security, guest and employee security, as well as the need for contingency plans to deal with terrorist threats and abnormal crisis situations.

Security officers have to think beyond the buildings and guest rooms. Total security plans have to be drawn up to cover the perimeters, guard rooms, the gardens, illumination, all entry points, reception facilities, vulnerable equipment and power facilities, the regular staff and those of suppliers and contractors, and maintenance of the intrusion and fire detection systems. One of the top 10 global issues and challenges in the hospitality industry is the uncertainty in safety and security.

We do come across incidents of how hotels are coming under threat by anti-social elements. Due to this increased vulnerability, hotels are also now beefing up their security systems. Travellers are also now more aware and more concerned about their safety. Hotels are now looking at more than just CCTVs, alarm systems and swipe cards for security. Technology is opening new doors to hotel safety, and the way we navigate hotels is set to change in the near future. Improved biometric systems, RFID cards, CCTVs with enhanced features are all security products that have become more advanced and more sensitive to impending threats.

The awareness in this category is considerably rising, due to the terrorist attacks we witnessed in Mumbai (in 2008) and the hotel bombings we read about in other countries. The hospitality industry is now beginning to take proactive measures to curb security threats. However, I would still say that it is still at a very nascent stage and the industry has just about started to look at security beyond basic CCTVs and alarm systems. What is indisputable is that hotels now need to invest more in security of their premises and their customers to give them peace of mind. However, the problem is that unlike their western counterparts, the biggest hurdle faced in the Indian hotel industry is the monetary investment, time and effort to upgrade their security systems.

Mehernosh Pithawalla is the Assistant Vice President, Marketing, Godrej Security Solutions.

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