10 May IGNORING HOTEL SECURITY IS RISKY BUSINESS
I am not one for making generalisations, but I feel it is safe to say that most people probably wouldn’t juggle with knives, go swimming with hungry crocodiles in the wild, or jump out an airplane without a parachute (with obvious, adrenaline junkie, exceptions to the rules). The reason, our most basic human instinct, survival. But when it comes to hotel security, so often Darwin can appear to take a back seat.
Why is it that we care more about how secure our mode of transport is to the destination than we care about the destination itself? Even the longest flight in the world is still shorter than the average one night stay in a hotel yet we exercise and expect due diligence when it comes to air transportation but not that for our accommodation. We make ourselves aware of an airline’s safety reputation, we anticipate adequate security before boarding and, once on board, the aircrew are required to inform us on what to do in the case of an emergency. However, do we employ the same level of caution with hotels as we do with planes?
Interestingly, when companies send employees to a hotel, they look for a number of different aspects with the priority often being to allow for business to transact efficiently and smoothly. These basic requirements may include efficient Wi-Fi, multiple outlets, access to work spaces, or accommodating concierge services. We place so much importance on small hotel accessories forgetting about the larger implications of hotel policy, procedure, and infrastructure.
Yes, sometimes losing the Wi-Fi connection may feel like an emergency. But how much of an emergency is relative. The big emergencies might be your company being hacked as a result of the hotel’s unsecure network or a hotel’s mass data breach giving cybercriminals access to passport, personal, and payment card details. Although, it is not only cyber but also physical risks one should think about. Crime is a significant risk for hotel guests beyond the loss of a small personal item, for example, guests being viciously assaulted with a hammer at the Cumberland Hotel in London a few years back. There has additionally been a global increase in terror attacks on hotels in recent years, the attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi in January this year and the attacks at hotels in Sri Lanka in April, amongst the most recent. While one can’t say all such attacks can be prevented or deterred, some of them can and where they cannot, hotels can be better prepared to respond quickly and effectively.
While travellers and those responsible for their safety should acknowledge their duty to ensure that where they are staying is safe, hotels should additionally honour their duty of care and submit to independent expert assessment against clearly defined security standards.
It is time to accept travel risk is increasing and therefore so is our need for security.