Security budgets for hotels have spiralled in 3 yrs

After terror attack, security at hotels has become integral part of hospitality industry's spending, with some even going the extra mile to ensure safety of guests

Three years after the 26/11 terror attack and a year after the Department Of Tourism (DOT) implemented mandatory security prerequisites before assigning star category to hotels, security at star hotels has become integral part of the hospitality industry's expenditure.

MiD DAY spoke to the management of a few star hotels in the city to learn more about the new arrangements and also found out how the attack served as an eye-opener to the industry.

After 26/11, the budget for security arrangements has gone up by almost 30 per cent for hotels like Ramee Guestline, as compared to before the attack.

"Guest security has always been a priority, but in the last three years hotels across the country have changed their style of functioning, recruited trained manpower and gone hi-tech.

I can now access CCTV footage via the web and monitor what is going on at the hotel, no matter where in the world I am. Also, we have hired an ex-NSG commando to deal with any untoward situation. Also, extra generators and other emergency services are in place," Singh said.

Last year, the DOT implemented strict security measures, which hotels were required to fulfill if they expected to get star category from the ministry.

The rule was made mandatory for hotels with three-star status and above, and failure to comply, could mean loss of star status. The rules also became a crucial aspect of the rating process for hotels.

Implementing these mandatory requirements however, comes at a price.

"The budget allotted for security has been an integral part of our expenditure and earlier the hotel used to spend about a lakh on security, but that has risen by almost 50 percent.

we have invested on technology, including baggage scanners, metal detectors, CCTV cameras and skilled manpower," said Ajoy Balkrishna, general manager, Grand Sarovar Premiere, Goregaon.

Hotels have now begun screening new recruits thoroughly and even impart training in handling any situation, be it a fire or a terror attack.

Oppenheimer Pinto Fernandez, general manager, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport, mirrored the sentiment and also highlighted other security related measures that have been taken. "More focus has been given to entry and exit points."

Fernandez further said the hotel recently hired experts to man the CCTV cameras, which was not the case earlier, and also an emergency response team and a crisis management team are available.

Required for 3- to 5-star hotels
Metal door detectors
Hand metal detectors
Fire safety equipment

Mandated for 5-star deluxe hotels

CCTV cameras
Door and hand-held metal    detectors
Baggage scanner
Fire and burglar alarms
Video door phones
Frisk visitors
Photo ID for staff
Deploy security guards

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