Planning Security for Hotel Suspension of Operations


Guests are the focus of security and threat assessment during normal operations, but with no guests, your threat assessment and planning should focus on the property itself.

  • Unauthorised/forced access to the property
  • Unauthorised occupation
  • Vandalism/Defacement – internal & external
  • Theft of assets, including:
    • Alcohol and stored food (especially critical if commodities become scarce)
    • Fixtures and fittings
    • IT equipment
    • Televisions
    • Stores
    • High-value machinery
    • Valuable materials – copper, lead, etc.
  • Arson
  • Civil Unrest – hotel properties are viewed as icons of the establishment and fair game.
  • Commandeering by civil authorities (use as a triage centre, hospital overflow, accommodation for military)

You won’t be able to reduce every threat, but a proactive stance can give you a better chance to come out of the COVID-19 crisis with an intact property ready for resumption. 

Key Action: Hotel properties should not look abandoned. 

  • Consider instituting 24/7 visible security officers.
  • The officer must be visible and seen to be active by anyone observing the hotel.
  • The officer can also monitor fire panels and provide an immediate response to incidents/situations. 

Threats Related to Staffing

Under normal operations, most security teams run lean. As part of the operational adjustments under suspended operations, they may have been even further trimmed. Because of this, properties are potentially more vulnerable and susceptible to either of these situations.

External Contracted Staffing: A potential insider threat

If the property is reliant on contracted guarding, seek to ensure that engaged personnel are “known” to you. That is, very likely guarding companies are going to be put upon to provide resources and in turn will be scrambling to staff up to meet the surge demand of their clients. Because of this, there is the likelihood that background screening and other selection measures will be waived or minimized. The net result is the person being assigned to your property may not have been adequately vetted. The possibility of internal security issues arising from such an engagement should not be overlooked. A good preventive measure is to ensure the contract guard company only posts persons to the property who have a prior history of work there and are “known” to the hotel security team.

Proprietary Staffing: Vulnerable to staff ghosting

If the property is reliant on a proprietary guard force, they should consider a contingency staffing arrangement in the event your staff “ghosts” on you. That is: if staff simply don’t show up as planned or on schedule, how can you quickly/immediately fill the gap. There is a possibility under these pandemic conditions that people quickly become symptomatic, and this raises two issues – how to manage other staff with whom they may have come into contact with, and how to cover potential prolonged staffing gaps while a staff member is under direct medical treatment or quarantined because a family member or other person they had contact with has tested positive. 

Download: Hotel Suspension of Operations Security Checklist

To support you, we’ve developed a Hotel Suspension of Operations Security Checklist. The Security Check List is not exhaustive but whatever measures are taken, the plan should be reviewed periodically to consider potential threat evolution.  

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