Hotel Security and the Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas and the world are reeling from the scale of the mass shooting which at latest count killed 58 people and injured over 500 people attending an outdoor country and western concert. The killer conducted the shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, which overlooked the concert venue.
As early reports have indicated, the shooter smuggled a large number of automatic weapons into his hotel room and fired indiscriminately into the crowd of 22,000 concert-goers before shooting himself ahead of a SWAT team which stormed the room.
While the primary focus of concern is rightly centered on the victims of this atrocity, questions are inevitably going to be asked about how this could happen. The investigations as to the motives of the alleged gunman, Stephen paddock have already begun and it is far too early speculate on his motives and any associations (if any) he had.
However there is no doubt that Las Vegas tourism officials are deeply concerned about the possible implications of this atrocity on tourism to America’s convention and events capital. At least one third of Las Vegas’ economy is dependent on tourism. From a global tourism perspective the shooting highlights the very real security challenges faced by hotels. This shooting is not the first time a registered guest at a hotel has armed himself and committed a mass shooting in or near the hotel. In 2009 a guest at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta fitted himself with a suicide vest and blew himself up in the hotel’s breakfast restaurant.
This incident spurred many hotels in SE Asia and other parts of the world to adopt the practice of screening guest luggage on arrival. Hoteliers are faced with very real dilemmas when it comes to security. On one hand a hotel or a resort is a place of hospitality but hotels are also a haven of safety for its guests. Many hotels have traditionally been reluctant to screen guests’ luggage because it is perceived as an invasion of privacy. However, travellers on airlines, and cruises have long become accustomed to this security measure.
Unlike the cruise and airline sectors, there are no common global standards of security which apply to the accommodation sector. However, the Las Vegas atrocity should give hotels cause to adopt luggage screening as common global practice. Enhanced security measures for hotels is not an absolute guarantee that criminal attacks will cease but if there is any good that comes out of this dreadful incident it is that screening will make a repeat of this atrocity far less likely.