Sometimes, what is remarkable in life, as in business, is how we react to what has not yet happened. Even when a real, known risk will have substantial negative impact, human nature often leads us to complacency and inaction. This dilemma is compounded when it involves a subject in which hotel managers have little or no training. As a result, it is understandably given little attention and a limited budget.
The last three years have been remarkably good years for the hospitality industry regarding incidents of serious crime and terrorist attacks. Yes, there was the disheartening attack in Mumbai. Only by ineptitude on the part of an attacker did a well-known hotel in the heart of Times Square avoid suffering a major bomb blast. Casualties and collateral structural damage from the blast impact and subsequent fire would have been significant to catastrophic. These are not isolated incidents. They are planned and deliberate attacks against targets that will draw substantial negative media attention.
We have been fortunate, which implies an element of luck. Effective security and risk management relies on a foundation of principles including critical rapid data flow, standardization of emergency protocols, executive leadership and effective local management, not luck. We can guarantee only that attacks against hotels will happen again. The nature of the hospitality industry offers porous, soft, attractive targets.
The corporate security departments of most major hotel brands are not budgeted to provide the effective layers of detection or deterrence required to minimize this risk. A cautious examination of the major world economies reveals the first early signs of improvement. This presents an opportunity for major brands to offer an enhanced measure of security to their important customer base. We should consider that the safety of business and recreational travel is on the minds of everyone who boards a plane and visits or stays as a guest in your facilities. Comfortably resolving this sense of uneasiness is good business.
There are several critical elements required to create an effective hotel global security program:
• security risk management software (global command and control);
• security management standardization by venue;
• new generation security equipment with software analytics; and
Management methods that increase margins and reduce the risk of crime, terror, accidents and incidents, can be summarized by four words: global command and control.
Global command and control security risk management software provide the data and evidence to assess where the crimes, accidents and incidents occur and with what frequency. This information flow highlights weaknesses in the existing layers of security deterrence. Management’s attention is directed to areas where repetitive crime and accidents occur allowing for timely correction of defective conditions. The results are effective layers of deterrence against terrorist attack, lower crime rates, and fewer accidents and incidents. An additional positive consequence is a reduction in future insurance claims frequency.
Executive security management, in conjunction with risk management, can now have the business tools to deliver site by site cost reduction solutions and the systems to ensure the solutions are consistently applied by local management and staff.
Real time crime and accident data, globally enforceable departmental protocols, automated data assessment, and international regulatory compliance are effective layers of deterrence against terror, crime, accidents and negative margins. It protects your guests, saves lives, and can dramatically improve the bottom line, too.
Re-capturing capital investment and enjoying a substantial improvement in your margin is not only plausible, it is part of the security risk management programs design structure. This is the fundamental premise of good business security management.
Anthony C. Roman is the CEO of Roman and Associates, Inc. a global investigation and security & risk management program consulting firm based in the New York metropolitan area. He is the software designer of WEB TRAC©, a business and security risk management intelligent software program. This firm specializes in corporate, legal, and insurance investigation and security and risk management program consultation. Mr. Roman is a former Adjunct Instructor at the State University of New York Aerospace Department.
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