the Threat of Terrorism as Part of Conducting
By Steve Shellum, Publisher/Editor, HOTEL Asia
Hotels need to urgently – and, in many cases, drastically – step up security arrangements and learn to live with the threat of terrorism as part of conducting everyday business.
With many properties in Asia Pacific carrying the well-known and easily identifiable brands of US and other international brands, they present prime potential targets to terrorists seeking to grab the world’s headlines.
These were the key messages from the recent HOTEL Asia Pacific Security Workshops, held in Bali and Jakarta.
“Hotels, whether or not they are star-rated, must improve safety standards and security systems,” Gen Made Mangku Pastika, chief investigator into the Bali bombings, told the delegates. “Otherwise, they must be ready to face disaster, which can happen anywhere and at any time.”
He said that many hotels in Indonesia had not yet been equipped with adequate security and safety systems to counter terror attacks.
“At least, they have to meet the minimum standards
for required safety and security systems. They have to spend extra money
on it. Even then, I cannot guarantee there will be no more bombings.
He pinpointed a number of issues that need to be addressed by the industry, including:
“Before 9/11, security was the unwanted stepchild
of the hotel industry, because it did not make money. Now, all that has
changed and security is right in the spotlight.
“Security has now entered the thinking man’s arena - and we have to think out of the box.”
Craig Foster, regional director of leading security consultancy Hill & Associates, discussed the crucial importance of crisis management, which he defined as “an event, or set of circumstances, that threatens the integrity, reputation or survival of an individual or organisation” or as a ”decisive moment, time of great danger or great difficulty”.
“A crisis can put at risk a hotel’s two most important tangibles: its corporate reputation and its brand image.
“There is little that can be done to affect the threat, so actions must concentrate on reducing the vulnerability.”
All hotels should develop policies, procedures, plans, teams and facilities to “mitigate the risks or minimise the consequences”.
“It is crucial to identify preparatory steps before a crisis, strike a balance between too much and too little detail, coordinate input from different agencies and departments, and make critical decisions in advance.”
He gave a checklist for hotels, which included:
Timothy Dumas, regional security officer attached to the US Embassy in Jakarta, said: “Terrorism is no longer simply a government concern. Gone are days when only government establishments were targets – today, everything from hotels to nightclubs to schools is a potential target.
“Cooperation among intelligence agencies around the world has expanded to unprecedented levels. Planned attacks have been prevented and lives have been saved, but incidents such as the Bali and Kenya bombings show us more work still needs to be done.
“Hotels offer excellent potential targets for a variety of reasons. They must remain open, there are many people moving around and there are many entrances and exits. It is very difficult to prevent an attack if someone is determined.”
James Filgo, Asia Pacific director of Consolidated Services International, gave a number of pointers on training staff as the first line of defence.
“Security is the main concern of guests these days, and quality hotels are expected to have in place high standards, policies and procedures.
“Impressions count, and hotel staff either give
a sense of security or insecurity.”
“Security training is essential for all staff, and requires a top-down approach in which every function is subordinate to guest protection.”
Filgo urged all hotels to establish a Protection Management Committee (PMC) responsible for:
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|Also See||50% of Hoteliers Have Not Increased Investment in Security – More than a Year After the September 11 Attacks / HOTEL Asia Pacific Survey / December 2002|
|Security: Something No Hotel Can Ignore / Geoff Griswold / Summer 2002|
|Biometrics Lend a Hand to Hotel Security / Feb 2002|
|Hotels Near Airports Provide Better Safety and Security Features According to The Center for Hospitality Research - Cornell Hotel School / Dec 2002|