When two iconic Mumbai hotels — the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower and the Oberoi Trident — became the centre of an audacious terror attack a year ago, the country’s hospitality industry changed forever.
Hotels in Delhi, especially those at the upper end of the market, made frantic purchases of security gadgets, beefed up security and started frisking guests.
“We have always been taking necessary precautions,” said a spokesperson for the Taj group in New Delhi. “Our security arrangements and deployment of equipment are based on constant liaison with the concerned authorities.”
Hotels and resorts in the city have bought X-ray baggage scanners, doorframe and hand-held metal detectors and hi-tech closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
“We increased the number of security personnel at our properties (after the 26/11 attack),” said Anil Tandon, executive director of the Tivoli group of hotels. The group, which has a chain of hotels and resorts in the city, also purchased X-ray baggage scanners and metal detectors, he said.
“Earlier, we had a few CCTV cameras covering a few pockets, but now every inch of our property is under constant CCTV coverage,” Tandon said. “We organise frequent mock drills so that we are ready to tackle various kinds of situations.”
Even smaller hotels are trying to put basic security measures in place. Hoteliers in central Delhi’s Paharganj, the hub of foreign backpackers, are more conscious of security now.
The Delhi Police were able to get valuable leads in American terror suspect David Headley’s case thanks to the proactive attitude of hotel owners there.
“We try to provide the best security we can afford. We gave the police whatever details we had on Headley,” said Arun Gupta, general secretary, Paharganj Hotel Mahasangh. “We check the antecedents of every person. But we require the help of the police to provide us more security.”