In Wake Of Mumbai, Luxury Hotels May Start Screening Guests

Upside: More security.

Downside: The days of anonymity are gone. No more bring-your-hooker-on-your-Washington-business-trip. (…Eh, who are we kididng, terrorist threats to hotels could end up being eradicated from hotels but prostitutes will still find a way.)

International Herald Tribune: Michael Coldrick, a London security professional and a former explosives specialist with Scotland Yard, said hotels may need to start screening guests and monitoring their behaviour during hotel visits, and to brief national and local security forces regularly on their layout.

“Security in the hotel business is a fine balance between effective security measures and the convenience of hotel customers, becoming more intrusive as the threat increases,” Coldrick said.

Some places more so than others, of course.

….Particularly in India, hotels are likely to become much more cautious about security policies, said S.S. Mukherji, vice chairman of EIH, an Oberoi Group subsidiary. “The concept of hospitality in this country is going to change,” he said.

And even in the best hotels the concept of the most desirable room may change.

…Terrorism concerns could have one small benefit for hotel companies. Many hotels have the best views from the front rooms, and travellers often demand these.

But experienced travellers concerned about terrorism now ask for rooms on the back of buildings, where they could be farther from any explosion in the lobby. Car bombs and truck bombs are also likely to do more damage to the front of the building because that is where the driveways are typically located, as was the case in the Jakarta Marriott bombing on Aug. 5, 2003.

Customers who ask for rooms in the back of a building can help a hotel balance demand for different rooms and keep more travellers happy.

Hotels may also ask staff members to keep a closer eye on customers. At some point, Coldrick said, “we might see cleaning ladies with explosives detectors.”

Sounds a little James Bond, doesn’t it?