How security technology can help keep properties safe

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Taj Mahal Palace Hotel )

After the recent November 2015 terror attacks in Paris hit near busy entertainment venues including restaurants, bars and the soccer stadium, there has been a rise in concern about the security at hospitality venues. The attacks garnered worldwide publicity and comment, part of the strategy behind the string of terrorist attacks happening across the globe.

So how does an industry that is required to offer a relaxed, discreet, unobtrusive and unencumbered experience for guests reconcile those goals with offering guests a secure environment? Understanding that there is potential for danger, hospitality properties need to counter it with preemptive response planning. It is imperative for organizations to implement appropriate security measures, including installing supportive technology to help with monitoring (and potentially post-incident response).

Investing in technology can be a game changer. There are many monitoring products available that vary in cost. These systems use fingerprints, facial recognition, radio frequency identification and web interfaces to track movement throughout the enterprise and also to limit access. The types of technology, enterprise investment, and (perceived) intrusiveness to your guests will vary depending on the type of hospitality enterprise, geographic location and many other factors.

Regardless of the size of your operation, accessible internet protocol cameras are inexpensive and easy to set up and monitor. Footage can be monitored from a smart phone and images can be pushed out to the Internet in real time, as well as store recorded images. If you are using cameras, make sure that the public is aware and you publish this fact.

Prakash Shukla is a managing partner with Solarex asset management and was CIO at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 2008 when the property was held hostage by four gunmen. He attributes the closed-circuit televisions throughout the large property as key to piecing together the events of the first hours when the hotel was under siege.

Shukla said, “In fact, we were able to put together an entire timeline of what happened, where the terrorists went in the hotel from the time the attacks started to the time at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. the next day when the CCTV cameras were blown up because we lost power due to grenades. Until then, we had a good idea of the first 12 or 15 hours of what they did in the hotel and where they went. We were able to trace just through the network of CCTV cameras.”

It is imperative for organizations to implement appropriate security measures, collaborate with local authorities and train staff in proper prevention and reaction methods. With the right planning, a bad situation can be ameliorated.

Excerpted from “Hospitality Attacks: Tips That Could Save Lives” published by HFTP and available on (