ISJ Exclusive: Safeguarding the guest experience

Safeguarding guest experience

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Philip Ingram MBE outlines why hotel and casino security is a collective responsibility.

Security is a major concern for hotels and casinos. They are a target for criminals and terrorists, as seen in the October 2017 attack in Las Vegas where a gunman opened fire from his hotel room, killing 60 people who were attending a concert.

Given the throughput of people, as well as the money associated with casinos and high net worth individuals, these environments are a natural focus for crime and terror at all levels.

In need of effective security

“Security is not an option. It’s a requirement. Every guest must feel secure,” explained Steve Wynn, Casino Owner. Hotel guests and casino patrons expect a safe and secure environment where they can relax and enjoy themselves without worrying about their safety. With millions of dollars in cash, chips and other valuables on the premises, casinos are particularly vulnerable to security threats, including theft, fraud and violent crime.

Security is a critical aspect of the hotel and casino industry. According to a report by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, safety and security are the most important factors for guests when choosing a hotel.

The report states that: “Security is now the single most important factor in a guest’s decision to stay at a hotel.” Similarly, in a survey of casino patrons, conducted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 85% of respondents said that security was an important factor in their decision to visit a casino.

Security measures are necessary to prevent criminal activity and ensure the safety of hotel guests and casino patrons. Casinos in particular attract a wide range of visitors – including high rollers, celebrities and tourists – which can increase the risk of security breaches. Therefore, it is essential that hotels and casinos take proactive measures to prevent security incidents and respond quickly in the event of an emergency.

Hotels and casinos use a variety of measures to ensure the safety of their guests and patrons, balancing technology with people. These measures include surveillance cameras, access control systems, metal detectors and trained security personnel.

“Casinos are attractive targets for criminals due to the amount of cash and valuables on the premises,” added Jeffrey Compton, Casino Security Expert. “It’s essential that casinos invest in robust security measures to prevent theft and protect their patrons.”

Protecting visitors

As you come into a hotel or casino, one of the first security measures you may see is a metal detector. Metal detectors are commonly used in casinos to prevent patrons from bringing weapons onto the premises. In addition to metal detectors, some casinos also use x-ray machines and other screening devices to detect prohibited items.

Greeting guests and operating the machines are trained security personnel, who are a critical part of hotel and casino security. Security personnel are responsible for monitoring the premises, responding to incidents and enforcing protocols. These individuals are trained to identify potential threats, de-escalate confrontations and ensure safety.

In addition to security personnel, some hotels and casinos in the US also use off-duty law enforcement officers to provide additional security support. That human interaction is often so important.

These measures are designed to prevent violent incidents and ensure the safety of hotel and casino patrons. In 2017, after the Las Vegas attack, Janet Eve Josselyn told the Huffington Post: “Some people don’t want to go through an airport-type security screening of themselves and their bags every time they enter a hotel. It is inconvenient and intrusive, but it would have prevented the Las Vegas shooter from being able to bring semi-automatic firearms into his hotel room.”

New technologies utilise radar and lidar light emission techniques to create images that an AI algorithm examines. It is claimed that these systems can identify a concealed weapon on someone who walks through the scanner and prompt security to intervene. Mikaela Pisani, Chief Data Scientist of AI company, Rootstrap, told Lifewire: “It’s incredibly accurate and can screen up to 3,600 people per hour – ten times faster than traditional metal detectors.”

Access control systems are used to regulate entry to certain areas of the hotel or casino. These systems can include key card access, biometric scanners and security personnel stationed at entry points. Access control systems are an effective way to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive areas and ensure that only authorised personnel have access to valuable assets. It is increasingly common practice that the residential areas of hotels can only be accessed by room key card holders.

Surveillance cameras are a crucial part of hotel and casino security and are a key part of the wider security architecture. Cameras are strategically placed throughout the premises to monitor activity and identify potential security threats.

Video footage is stored for a specified period and can be used to investigate incidents and identify suspects. In addition to the security benefits, cameras can also be used to monitor staff performance and ensure compliance with company policies. This is particularly prevalent in casinos.

The number one priority

“Effective hotel security is not only about physical measures. It’s also about educating staff and guests on how to identify and respond to potential security threats,” remarked Jerry Ratcliffe, Criminology Professor. Casino employees receive extensive training on how to identify and respond to suspicious activities. This includes training on how to detect cheating and fraud as well as how to handle disruptive customers.

“Casino security is paramount to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for customers. We take our responsibility seriously and invest heavily in training and technology to ensure the highest levels of security,” commented John O’Reilly, CEO, Rank Group, a British gambling company that operates casinos.”

Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group also said: “The safety of guests and staff should be the number one priority of any hotel. Implementing strong security measures can provide peace of mind and enhance the overall guest experience.”

Ultimately, security is a collective responsibility and, in the words of Nelson Mandela: “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment.”

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