READERS OPINION Hotel Security
From time to time we receive letters from our readers on pertinent issues for Phuket hotels, tourism and property. We are publishing one readers comments regarding hotel security which raises many relevant points.
We recently issued the challenge below to hotels in Thailand. The same can be said to hotels everywhere. We believe that the senior management of many hotels in the world are negligent in the level of protection they offer their guests and employees.
Challenge: The levels of protection here in Thailand are as low as in the two hotels in Mumbai, the one in Peshawar where those terrible massacres occurred a few months ago and the two blown up last week in Jakarta. Your telling yourself that you have adequate protection for your guests does not make it true. As an expert in real security and not looks like security; which is all you offer your guests, I can tell you and everyone else that you are not fulfilling your responsibilities by advertising “24 hour security” when all that means is not much more than people in uniform with walkie talkies. While no one could ever guarantee that the attacks across Asia could have been totally prevented, we can confidently state that the number of victims would have been dramatically diminished had the correct equipment, arrangements, procedures and security personnel training been in place and in effect. And you have none of those.
As an example, the terrorists in Mumbai were able to gain easy entry not only to the ground floor but then to every other floor as well. There is no excuse for this. The worst case scenario should have been that they were able to shoot their way into one entrance and then stopped there. The white truck in Peshawar should never have gotten past the gate, but like at your hotel, the guards had inadequate training and insufficient equipment. With a more secure entry point, even that could have been made considerably more difficult and contained at that location.
Thailand already is suffering financially from a drop in tourism and investment due to the worldwide economical downturn combined with the recent domestic political turmoil. An attack like those in Indonesia could be the final nail in the fiscal coffin for Thailand. It would certainly be a boost for The Kingdom to gain the reputation as the safest vacation destination in Asia.
This could be accomplished if all the major hospitality facilities had real security instead of the facade of non- security; they have now, mostly comprised of untrained, skinny guys with whistles and walkie talkies. One of these days, the family of a victim will sue a major hotel for falsely advertising “24 security”. If it is in Thailand, the long-term effects could be disastrous.
Guests want to stay where they and their families can walk out of their room any time of day or night, sure that there are no unauthorized persons lurking around. They want to know that when they leave their room, their belongings are safe. They want to know that the security staff has full visual coverage of the entire property all of the time, not just at the front entrance or on predictable patrols, or when they remember to watch the monitors. They want to know that if there is a problem, someone with specific and professional training in screening, monitoring, threat assessment and situation control, will come to help them. This requires an integrated security plan including total control of all means of ingress to the building; coded, biometric room entry; constant CCTV surveillance of all public areas. It is time that the management of hotels in Thailand stop trying to save a few baht rather than saving a lot of lives.