Aftermath of the Las Vegas Tragedy: The Impact Upon Hotel, Resort and Casino Security

By Richard Hudak Managing Partner, Resort Security International | November 12, 2017

Information we now know from Metropolitan Police press briefings, confirms protocols, procedures, and security guidelines in place at the Mandalay Bay Resort on October 1, 2017 significantly altered the plans and behavior of Stephen Paddock but did not prevent him from carrying out murder. How will this tragedy impact future hotel and resort security planning?

Mandalay Bay is a prime example of the CPTED (Crime prevention thru environmental design) concept. The resort has excellent “standoff” providing reaction time in an emergency for a police or security response. Use of barriers allows avenues of vision. Windows are designed to remain closed. The shooter had to break two windows to carry out his plan, the first and only time he may have drawn attention.

Security technology enhances Mandalay’s security. Digital CCTV, large screen high definition monitors, analytics, biometrics, motion detection, proximity locking systems, external LED lighting and parking garage communications, all dramatically improve the ability to monitor access points, identify suspicious activity, and interdict potential criminals. Yet the shooter did not standout as a risk.

An effective security program depends upon effective communications. Resorts employ a variety of landline (PBX), cell, Wi-Fi, internal and external networks and “talk down security” in appropriate situations. The Mandalay Bay security officer immediately radioed security command after being shot advising there was an active shooter on the thirty second floor. A cell phone backup was also available. Communications with Metro Police pinpointing the location of the shooter may have saved lives.

Most importantly, hotels and resorts emphasize the mantra “every employee is responsible for safety and security.” Safety and security issues are discussed in meetings; supervisory updates are provided daily; safety and security posters are placed in staff areas; computerized security training modules are often required; “on the spot” rewards and Employee of the Month recognition are frequently awarded to encourage participation. Furthermore, responsibility for safety and security is documented on most employee and management job descriptions.

Hotel and resort security programs depend upon “360 degrees of safety and security protection” from the moment a guest makes a reservation or drives onto the property to finally securing the door of the guest room. “ Layers of security” involving all departments to provide situational awareness for the security department and situational management for property management. The recent tragedy at Mandalay Bay underscored how each department and each staff member had an important safety and security role to play.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.