Resorts: A Unique Security Challenge

By Richard Hudak Managing Partner, Resort Security International | December 04, 2011

Security is not a “one size fits all” tradecraft. Unlike fire safety codes which are very specific and require local compliance, security programs (applications, technology, protocols, procedures and staffing) vary depending on the industry, location, risk, vulnerability and tolerance for inconvenience.

The lodging industry requires a higher level of care from a liability perspective due to guests sleeping over, dining and paying for a recreation experience. The lodging industry varies from bed & breakfasts, inns, hotel casinos, business and convention centers, and remote resorts. Each property is unique—the primary reason why lodging standards are difficult for industry associations to promulgate. Although, brand security standards have been in effect for years.

The premise of this article is that due to the unique nature of resorts, resort security programs differ from typical hotel security. To be fair, this premise is a generalization and based upon experience with isolated resorts around the World, not necessarily applicable to resorts that are concentrated in areas like Cancun, Honolulu or Miami Beach which are more characteristic of business hotels in resort areas.

It is widely agreed by lodging security professionals that prevention should be the objective of hotel security and that deterrence is the key. Both factors require situational awareness which is usually achieved by hotel security management through situational awareness with staff, vendors, service providers, guest knowledge and external intelligence. Physical security requires effective environmental design. Design that incorporates access controls from the perimeter to the guest room door. Access Controls must be monitored to be effective. Monitoring can be achieved by hotel security officers (or contract security), closed circuit television (CCTV) or electronics.

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Front Desk Cam

Security, by its nature, means inconvenience. Certain industries tolerate inconvenience more readily than others (e.g. banks, defense contractors, manufacturers). Other businesses traditionally lack tolerance for security protocols and controls. Since September 11, 1991, the airline industry and airports have transitioned to a higher level of security and tolerance for additional inconvenience. A similar trend is occurring in hospitality/lodging as more hotels and resorts are being targeted by criminals and terrorists. During the past five years, the media has reported incidents ranging from rapes, robberies, distraction theft, breach of hotel guest data bases, to violent assaults, assassinations and bombings. These reports have had a decided effect upon public opinion, raised the desirability for enhanced hotel security and along with greater tolerance for some inconvenience.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Robert M. O'Halloran
Scott  Watson
Andy Ellicott
Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi
Fifi Arisandi
Peter O'Connor
Tony  Heung
Holly Zoba
Emily Venugopal
Stephanie Miller
Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.