a&s International: Security Adds to the Luxe in Luxury Hotels
The hospitality industry is a clear beneficiary of the growing number of tourists floating around the world. As the amount of disposable income from travelers increases, the number of those opting to stay in luxury hotels is also on the rise. As a result, luxury hotel operators are looking at ways to maximize on-site as well as operational efficiency.
By Eifeh StromThe tourism and hospitality sectors are inextricably linked — you can’t have one without the other. This link becomes even clearer when looking at the numbers. And as the global economy continues to recover, so does the hospitality sector. International tourist arrivals grew by 5 percent in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) January 2014 World Tourism Barometer. The APAC region leads this growth with the number of tourists reaching 14 million, a rough growth estimate of about 6 percent. Southeast Asia was the best performing sub-region with the number of tourists growing by around 10 percent. Africa was next after APAC with approximately three million new arrivals, followed by Europe and the Americas. For 2014, the UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4 to 4.5 percent.
Not only is the number of travelers on the rise, the number of travellers with disposable income is also on the rise, fueling the demand for upscale and luxury leisure travel, according to EY’s Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts for 2014. The latest numbers from STR Global indicate that there are 2,312 hotel projects currently in construction, in development, or in planning in the APAC region as of March 2014. In the Middle East and Africa, 573 hotel projects are currently underway, with 25 hotels in the luxury segment expected to open in 2015 alone.
Luxury hotels have a lot to offer; however, opting to stay at a luxury hotel is more than just wanting first-class service and accommodations. It is also about feeling secure and knowing you can relax and feel at ease. For the hotel operator, security is of utmost importance. By utilizing newer security technologies such as physical security information management (PSIM) software and video content analysis (VCA) software, luxury hoteliers are able to not only secure their establishment and their guests, but also increase management and operational efficiency.
UPGRADES AND PROCUREMENT
How luxury hotel chains upgrade and procure their security equipment is different from standard economy hotel chains. Industry players estimate that luxury hotel chains, on average, look at large system upgrades every seven years, give or take a few. Upgrades are driven by anything from changing local regulations to system failures to incidents that point out security weaknesses. Regardless of the reason, during this time security directors of luxury hotel chains use this opportunity to take a hard look at how security technology has changed and how they can benefit from it, according to Brian Lane, Director of Product Management at 3VR. "This is when the ‘migration’ from one technology to another begins."
In terms of procurement, Ilya Umanskiy, Associate MD of Security Risk Management at Kroll in Hong Kong highlighted the competitive nature of luxury hotel tenders. Certain genuine process indicators/measures are used to select the right supplier. From there, a fixed pricing period is often determined, which is reset every two to five years. Lane further pointed out, "Hotels generally do not network their security systems together as an enterprise, therefore, a single hotel in a chain may elect to choose their own security system, independent of other hotels in the same chain, even luxury hotels." Because a hotel operator or security director may have an established relationship with a local integrator, they are not always likely to purchase a single solution from one supplier, added Lane. "The hotel may have different components from several suppliers, but often will use only a single integrator."