With concern about event security running high, planners are making sure the hotels they book have taken steps to ratchet up security. Have they installed closed-circuit TV systems? Do they have a relationship with local law-enforcement agencies?

The Peninsula in New York City, for example, began a positive identification program this year, in which guests must fax a photo ID when they make their reservations. When they check in, the picture is checked as well.

Some experts say the most important question to ask is whether the hotel you're considering has invested in programs to enhance employee awareness.

“Many hotels have hired extra security guards and that's a good thing, but you have to remember that they only see the lobby and corridors,” notes Ray Ellis, professor of loss prevention management at the University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College. “[Hotels must also] make sure in-room staff and room-service personnel, are trained to report suspicious objects found in guest rooms.”

Marriott Hotels is also stepping up security. “We're training our employees to tell guests that any security procedure — asking for ID, for example — is being done in the interest of the guest. We've had to shift the balance between providing total guest satisfaction and total security toward the security side. It's a very delicate line,” says Chad Callaghan, vice president of loss prevention for Marriott. He also says that in the interest of tighter security, newer hotels are being designed with fewer entryways to more closely monitor access. Older hotels' more numerous entryways are now either staffed, monitored by closed-circuit television, or accessible only by a key card.

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