Enhanced Security Systems for Hotels and Resorts: Threat Detection and Avoidance
By Lawrence Adams Principal, ForrestPerkins | July 07, 2019
On Easter Sunday, 2019, two men wearing backpacks walked into the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After strolling around the lobby, they rode the guest elevator to the second floor and entered the Table One restaurant. Moments later they detonated suicide bombs killing dozens of guests having breakfast at the luxury hotel. Two other luxury hotels and three churches saw coordinated attacks killing 321 people in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in recent history.
Just a few months earlier, in January, Islamic extremists attacked the DusitD2 luxury hotel and office complex in Nairobi, Kenya killing 21 people during a 19 hour siege. The attack started when a suicide bomber detonated his suicide vest in the foyer of the hotel and continued as gunmen with AK47s hunted down and killed guests throughout the hotel.
One of the most dramatic hotel attacks, as depicted in the recent movie, Hotel Mumbai, occurred in November of 2008 at the famed Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. The sophisticated and coordinated attack killed 31 people in the Taj Mahal and another 30 people in the Oberoi-Trident Hotel during a four day siege. Two other hotels in Mumbai were attacked during the siege. The attackers had gained access to the blueprints of all four hotels facilitating their deadly planning.
A lone gunman, Stephen Paddock managed to smuggle an arsenal of weapons into the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas in the days leading up to the Route 91 Harvest music festival on October 1, 2017. Using bump-stock devices that turn semi-automatic rifles into machine guns, Paddock fired more than a thousand rounds of ammunition into the crowd from his 32nd floor suite, killing 58 festival goers and wounding 422 others. Reportedly Paddock left a Do-Not-Disturb sign on his door for 3 days which, against security protocol, went unreported by the hotel staff. This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
In June of 2015 38 people were gunned down on the beach near the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in a Tunisian resort town. In July 2005 a terrorist drove a pickup truck laden with explosives through the glass façade and detonated in the lobby of the Ghazala Beach Hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh resort on the Sanai Peninsula, killing dozens of hotel guests. Similar deadly attacks in recent years have occurred at the Resorts World Hotel and Casino in Manila, a North Caucasus ski resort in Russia and at the Bella Vista Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt.
Hotels and resorts have increasingly become targets of terrorist attacks. Ease of access to facilities that are designed to promote welcoming hospitality to its guests and visitors make securing hotels against attacks a difficult challenge. Terrorist regard hotels and resorts as "target-rich" since guests in luxury lodging are typically affluent and potentially politically influential.