12 Ways to Increase Hotel Security

Theft and Fraud: Monitoring Employee Activities
It’s a disappointing reality that hoteliers have to contend with employee theft and fraud. But theft and fraud can have a major impact on a property’s bottom line and guest satisfaction. This past year, a number of employee theft stories have made the headlines. In October, an employee at the Renaissance hotel in Baton Rouge, La., allegedly stole more than $34,000 from hotel safe deposits and altered financial records to cover his tracks. In July, a former employee of a Tallahassee hotel faced charges she stole more than $42,000 from the business by diverting money onto personal credit cards. To prevent such losses, follow these tips:

6. Provide a sense of ownership. When employees have a sense of ownership in a property, security throughout the property will be much tighter. One method to promote such ownership is instituting some form of profit sharing. So, when employees see waste or theft, they’re more likely to stop or report it. “The employees are the eyes and ears of the hotel,” Callaghan says. “At hotels where they’ve had profit sharing, I’ve heard employees say things such as, ‘Hey, don’t do that, that’s my profit sharing.’ ”

7. Boost employee empowerment. Related to ownership, when employees have a sense of empowerment, they’ll be able to solve safety and security problems quickly and often more efficiently. Have an anonymous tip line, where employees can report theft or threats to guest or staff safety. And when an employee sees anything unsafe or unsecure on the property, have a work order system in place that treats these reports with priority.


8. Staff smart. During the hiring process, conduct drug screening and criminal background checks. Then, once the person is hired, explain that there are controls in place. Employees who know there are monitoring systems will be less likely to commit crimes of opportunity. And while it may be tempting to consolidate duties, reduce head count, and save payroll, it may cost property managers in the long run. For important processes, such as handling a cash bag, have at least two people sign off. Also, to avoid adding staff, property managers can also turn to external, off-site auditors.

9. Add active monitoring to video surveillance. Most properties have some sort of video surveillance of employee activities around sensitive areas, such as the front desk and cash drawer. But new technology enables another level of monitoring. Software enables hotel owners to match transactions with video surveillance, eliminating the need to watch hours and hours of video to find potential criminal activity. For example, the software can detect when a cash draw is left open and will show that whatever is being passed over a scanner is actually read. “It’s pretty inexpensive and won’t cost an owner much to have those analytics,” Clifton says, adding that such systems could be installed for less than $10,000, depending on the type and number of cameras installed. “Often, when you buy a new video system, the software will be added. Be sure to ask for it, though.”

Cyber Security: Protecting Electronic Borders
As technology has advanced, so has criminals’ ability to exploit those new technologies. The hotel industry has seen several such examples lately. Russian hackers breached Wyndham Worldwide’s data center in Phoenix three times between 2008 and 2010, accessing more than 600,000 payment card accounts and leading to more than $10.6 million in fraud loss. As a result, in June 2012, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit alleging that Wyndham failed to implement reasonable data security measures to protect the payment card information of their customers. (Wyndham has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.)
Property owners and managers should reassess cyber security about as often as physical security. Here are a few things to look for and consider as you evaluate your cyber security:

10. Connect IT and security departments. Don’t keep a wall between the information technology and security departments of your property. “The two departments should work together, because security is [vital to] both their jobs,” Clifton says. “Clearly establish how the two departments work together, and they should know where each other’s responsibilities stop and the other begins.” To foster this relationship, some properties place the two departments under the same manager and same budget. And the two departments should conduct regular security meetings, perhaps as often as once a week.

11. Upgrade to VLAN. A LAN, or local area network, is a network that connects computers. For many businesses that includes a WiFi access point for customers. However, WiFi that’s directly connected to your property’s servers can pose a risk and provide easy access for savvy hackers. One way to add more cyber security is to install what’s called a VLAN, or virtual network. Relatively inexpensive, VLANs often don’t require additional hardware. Installing this software can add another layer of security between your servers and potential hackers. Also, a common feature of VLANs is the ability to set up multiple wireless network names, which can have varying levels of security. Computers used for business and staff can have a high level of security, and guest WiFi networks can have a lower, easy-to-access level of security and be separated from the property’s network.

12. Beware of social engineering. Not all cyber threats occur online. Social engineering and physical hacking of hotel computers pose a significant risk. “Employees should have an awareness about the physical security of computers, access control, and passwords,” Clifton says. “Many of the big hacking schemes we hear about start with someone conning a password out of an employee.” Change passwords every three months. Also, employees should monitor the physical access points to a property’s computers and servers. Make regular patrols to look for people who are in staff-only areas of a property.


  1. Sir,

    I am Security Officer of one of the Hotels in Ngwe Saung, Pathein Township. I would like to know about Hotel security.
    Please sent me any massages or article for Hotel security.


  2. Am a new staff in hotel industry . Am currently the head of security at the hotel.
    Its such a good moment to share your views with some of us how are new but i promise i will
    keep reading your posting to improve the security of the hotel.

    • Am still reading information regarding the the threats a hotel faces because most of hotels in my country are owned by individuals. please keep me posted with some new information in the industry.

  3. Sir am working hotel industry as long time security department,so i know some instruction for fighting fire and safety and now am in north Asian big luxury hotel “Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach hotel & spa”as a security supervisor i want to be any new and update plan for hotel security please late us know,
    Thanks with best regard
    Mostak kabir
    security supervisor
    Royal tulip sea pearl beach hotel resort & spa

  4. I have been in security industry for very long as Technician and now am installing security saftey and security treace bomb detectors ,I have a lot of knowledge in CCTV installation and operations and software usage,installation of X-ray luggage Scanner walk through metal detectors and Body Scanner .The least goes on and on.recently I have changed carrier to AVSEC aviation security as officer and instructor
    Am requesting to update me what this job entails and keep me on toes of how to handle terrorism… As I do work in Somalia ..and we face challenges from Alshabaabs and ISIS.cells groups.Thank you in advance

    • Emmanuel, Am impressed with your scope as regards hotel security which I am a new entrant now wish to share the wealth of experience you depict……….especially trace bomb detectors, cctv and luggage scanners.

      I trust you’ll get a specialist to answer your request.

  5. Very interesting and insightful blog post on increasing hotel security… I strongly believe that the gate/reception/lobby is the first line of defence and should be monitored properly. Connecting IT and security department is very important these days. There are many hectic jobs in security management that can be digitised and automated… Security and facility managers should often look for ways to control the inflow and outflow of the visitors/contractors/guests in the hotels in a smart manner.

  6. Scanning and authenticating passports and drivers licenses at check in, is another key to hotel security and guest assurances they are safe. TTI Technologies scanning systems protect guests against identity theft and hotels from false charge-back claims. Further, it eliminates the unsafe practice of photocopying IDs, along with associated time and labor costs.”

  7. Dear sir
    I work as protective agent of VVIP for about 7 years
    .I am so eager to have some important tips to start working in hotel as security manager I will be wander if you send me some …
    Thanks with best regards

  8. Hi my name is Azuh from Lagos Nigeria; am a security consultant. Nice post, hotel security can best be achieved with combination of employee frequent training on security/safety, smart intelligence gadgets and staff knowledge on behavior recognition.

  9. Hello my name is Alhassan Salman Daballi Head of Security at the Global Dream Hotel Tamale Ghana. I really appreciate and school from your masterpiece out there I hope most Hotel managers should visit this site for more clarification as how to manage hotels and I
    will also like your site to be apdatting me on the part of Security issues and how to stop petty stealing in the hotel as Head of the Security and what role to play with. Thanks for your support and will like to hear from you soon much recognition to your site.

  10. Thanks for teaching us more about hotel security! One thing that you said that I really liked was that you should look into updating the locks every so often so that the people who are staying there feel safe. We have been thinking about going on vacation this upcoming week, and I think that this would be one thing that we should ask before booking a certain hotel. Thanks again!

  11. I liked that you pointed out that a simple thing to do is to update your locks. I wouldn’t want to worry about someone being able to pick my locks. So maybe having an electronic lock would be a good option if you want your place to be more secure.

  12. I am retired defense person. presently I am serving in a Hotel as a security officer. I read your advice which will help me for my security aspect.

  13. Darrell Clifton, quoted in this article, literally wrote the book on hospitality security. His “Hospitality Security: Managing Security in Today’s Hotel, Lodging, Entertainment, and Tourism Environment” is an excellent source of information on the business.

Comments are closed.