Terrorist attacks on hotels expected to rise: what can we do?

Terrorist attacks on hotels expected to rise: what can we do?

I recently saw an article predicting an increase in terrorist attacks on hotels. The aim of this is not to cause alarm, but to demonstrate the reality that terrorism is becoming more sophisticated and causing more damage. You only have to look back to April this year to remember the fatal impact of terrorist attacks on a number of luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. With a rise in the risk of terrorism, actions must be taken to mitigate risks for travellers.

Why are they likely to rise?

In recent years, terrorist organisations have increasingly used crowded spaces as a preferred attack modus operandi. As high-profile targets that are easily accessible to the public, hotels are prime soft targets. Also, hotels have fixed locations and a daily high footfall which offers the ideal opportunity for attackers to carry out preoperational surveillance.

Militant groups such as Al Shabab – one of the most prolific terrorist groups in Africa – generally use an explosive device to breach hotel perimeter security to carry out marauding attacks on foot. Now they have figured out how to effectively cause the most death and destruction, it is likely other insurgent groups will adopt the same strategies.

How can hotels mitigate risk?

There are steps hotels can take to increase the security and safety of their establishments. We discussed lockdown procedures and the implementation of safe zones in hotels to mitigate the risks in our most recent blog, but more is needed.

At Global Secure Accreditation, we manage and maintain a global standard for hotel security. Our independently accredited standards are risk-based and designed to ensure a consistent, appropriate level of security, having assessed the unique environment and risk profile of a hotel. They cover strategic planning, policy and procedure; physical and technical security and effective management and training of staff.

How can corporate travellers make informed decisions?

When employees travel for work, employers have a duty of care to make sure hotels they choose are as safe as possible. Filtering out poor safety standards and carrying out a simple risk assessment of a hotel has historically been challenging. By choosing GSA accredited hotels, corporates can ensure that their employees are staying at hotels where security and personal safety is of paramount importance. Equally, travellers can have peace of mind that an enhanced level of duty of care is being taken by the hotel and are therefore more likely to return.