Rohit Salunke, director of engineering, Sofitel The Palm. Rohit Salunke, director of engineering, Sofitel The Palm.

At the inaugural Hotelier Middle East Safety & Security Summit, delegates expounded the importance of security departments to the smooth operation of a hotel, and to the prevention of revenue loss, and discussed how best to promote this to management.

During the final panel debate, a comment from Mohamed Suliman, security director Hilton Worldwide MEA – “To me security is everything so selling ourselves is very important; we need to get up front”–  sparked the lively discussion among delegates during the event lunch break.

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, Abdul Nasir, security manager at Vida Hotels explained that the security department at his property is very much integrated into the hotel operations so staff from corporate level to housekeeping understand the importance of the department in the smooth operation of the hotel.

Nasir said: “We have a very structured department so our policies and procedures are always being communicated clearly to all management and staff. In our case our management sees that we are a part of the operation and without the support and hard work of the security department we couldn’t generate the revenue that we’re getting from other departments such as F&B.”

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Sofitel Dubai The Palm director of engineering Rohit Salunke agreed that the security department at his hotel is very much integrated with other parts of the operation, including engineering.

He said: “I think safety and security goes hand in hand with the other departments. Although it doesn’t generate revenue, it doesn’t allow you to go into loss either. If you have a fire or a drowning incident because there’s no lifeguard at the pool then a hotel can suffer a lot more than other venues so it’s one of the most important departments.”

Similarly, at Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, Jomon Ninan, chief of security agreed that preventing loss is one of the most crucial roles of the security department.

He said: “Just making sure the hotel is 100% safe we are making the hotel money, not directly but indirectly. So people think security is a waste of money.

"No, they are saving millions by stopping fires, if you think there is a fire in a hotel guest room how much revenue you lose, how much reputation of the hotel you lose in the market."

The Safety & Security Summit took place at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC in Dubai, attracting around 100 delegates from the region.

Event sponsors included Arecont Vision, VingCard Elsafe, World Security and Meat & Livestock Australia.