Hotels place emphasis on terror awareness training

Industry experts discuss how making employees, guests more aware can make hotels safer

"The state of surveillance technology has so dramatically advanced and improved," Sanna said. "We have significantly lowered costs, greater reliability, better integration of disparate technologies - such as cameras, alarms, locking systems, etc. - greater mobility capabilities -- particularly in surveillance detection and monitoring. For example, in mobile guarding - a night manager working alone, or a security guard on tour can wear a mobile camera on them when they go to respond to an incident - and also have their response activity remotely monitored - giving them a back up. That improves their personal safety and enables an immediate police response if needed. Applications of smart technologies can also reduce guarding costs for a property as well as improve performance and operational efficiencies."

Sanna also noted that the use smart card technology is rapidly growing in the hospitality industry, as hotels look for ways to enhance the experience of guests.

Clifton also believes that biometrics may play a big role in hotel security at some point in the future.

"I'm not using biometrics so much yet, but I think it's just a matter of time once that technology gets a little better, we will probably be using something like that in the next five years or so," he said. "I think at some point, we will be able to look at a crowd coming in or people coming in and be able to identify them, either within our own database or with some external database so that we know who they are and know who we are dealing with."

Hotel security staffs themselves are even going through a transformational period, according to Sanna, as security is becoming a greater shared responsibility for all employees.

"I think from my perspective, the most positive transformation that I see underway is a growing recognition that security isn't just the security staffs responsibility, it's really becoming a part of every employees responsibilities in some meaningful way," he said. "There is a growing recognition that (security) is becoming an increasingly important element of hospitality operations and you really need to know something about it."

Clifton also believes that while hotel security staffs may not grow in size, they will probably be better trained moving forward.

"I know that your hotel security officer now is better trained because he is starting to learn about things like behavior recognition, anti-terrorism, bomb recognition, active shooter reaction, and things like that," Clifton said. "I don't think you are necessarily going to see bigger numbers (of security guards), but I think you are going to see them better trained and a little smarter."