Hotel security has changed drastically over the past 35 years. After the terrifying events that happened on September 11, here in the United States, hotel security has taken on as a higher priority in hotels and for travelers. As our world continues to be threatened with terrorist attacks, along with the criminal activity happening today, security changes will continue to evolve.
The areas within the hotel, where the physical safety of the guest may be an issue, is in the parking lot and/or garage, loading docks, corridors, and outside public places. These areas all pose a possible issue, as they have a tendency to be dark, secluded, and not very visible. These areas also offer numerous places for potential predators to hide.
Identity theft is also a major security concern at hotels. Upon checking in most hotels require driver??™s license information, including home address and a telephone number, a credit card, and license plate information. With this said, a potential identity theft would be fairly easy. This is a lot of information obtained on any one guest. To prevent the threat of identity theft with this information, hotels should encrypt as much of it as possible, store the information in a secure data base, and only allow access to the hotel personnel. Furthermore, hotel staff should never divulge personal information of one guest to any other.
Additional security issues which are important to protecting guests include luggage and baggage storage, natural disaster contingency plans, fire and chemical threat evacuation and prevention, and theft of personal effects. Luggage always presents a security issue with the possibility of hidden bombs and/or chemical devices. Some hotels in the Middle East have even instituted the use of metal detectors. Guest??™s personal effects that are left in the room should always be secure too. Hotels should provide safes in the guest rooms for them to use to store these things. Routine background checks of the hotel staff is also a way that the hotel can provide additional security to their guests.
Hotels have changed security in response to elevated terror alerts by increasing the visibility of uniformed and possibly armed guards, increased surveillance cameras and updated locks and guest room keys. According to R. Shaw, a contributing editor to Hotel & Motel Management Magazine (March 20, 2006), new technology called a magstrip or smart card system is also being utilized. These kinds of systems replace the traditional metal key for each guest room with an electronic or card key that contains a magnetic strip that allows it to be electronically encoded to unlock the guest room. The guest room codes for entry are changed with every new guest for the room, providing anonymity to further increase security.
According to American Society for Industrial Security??™s website (2010), a new trend in hotel security is having hotel floor plans on file with the local fire department. This should be a top priority for hotels. In the event of a fire, natural disaster or terrorist threat, this information becomes vital to local authorities in order to save lives.

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