Hotel owners and managers are becoming increasingly concerned about enhancing their security and protecting their guests; according to a 2006 survey of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, based in Washington, DC, 93 percent of hotels are using electronic locking systems, compared to 62 percent reported in the organization’s 1998 survey. The survey also found that 91 percent of luxury hotels have room safes available.

“Virtually everyone in the industry has transitioned to electronic locks,” said Jim Stover, vice president of hospitality loss control for A. J. Gallagher, headquartered in Itasca, Ill. “These systems give managers an electronic trail. They can tell who’s been in a room and when.”

Closed-circuit television cameras, which record activities inside and outside the properties, also are being used more than ever by the hotel industry.

“This digital technology allows property owners and managers to do virtual tours and, hopefully, deters armed robbers,” Stover said.

Guard tour systems are becoming an essential security tool for hotels. These systems help managers monitor and assess the performance of security officers, prevent accidents and fires and apprehend potential trespassers or troublemakers.

“This Windows-based technology involves a pipe, which is about ¾-inch long, with electronics inside,” Stover said. “It’s plastic and virtually shatterproof. You can see whether security guards are performing their hourly tours of duty. You can also make sure that your security personnel are not asleep in the lobby somewhere at 3 a.m.”

While hoteliers have the technology and tools to make their properties secure, they also need to maintain an inviting, welcoming look and ambiance to attract guests.

“We can turn these properties into armed fortresses, but the American public wouldn’t stand for all of the security measures hotels need to be 100 percent secure,” Stover said.