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National Cornell study finds most hotels making no changes in safety, security staffing or procedures in year after 9/11

ITHACA, N.Y. ó Most hotels made no changes to safety and security staffing or procedures in the year following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, possibly because they already were in good shape.

Exceptions: modest improvements to staffing and procedures were made at hotels in New York, New Jersey and the central southwest. The news is from a national survey of hotel managers conducted at Cornell Universityís School of Hotel Administration.

Professor Cathy Enz, executive director of the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornellís Hotel School, in conjunction with Smith Travel Research, surveyed 1,033 hotel managers throughout the United States shortly after the attacks in 2001 and then surveyed 492 general managers in October 2002. The surveysí final findings were released today (April 28, 2003).

Although the study did not ask managers to specify the security procedures their hotels took, Enz said some procedures might include plans for evacuation in case of emergency, the protocol for verifying identification of guests at check-in and the practices used to secure access to interior hallways, elevators to guest rooms and other areas.

Some, but not many, U.S. hotels added security staff or made changes in their existing safety and security procedures. While a substantial proportion of managers indicated they made no changes, some ñ primarily luxury and extended-stay hotels ñ said they were adding security staff or updating security policies. When the sample was broken into segments, the study found that hotels in two very different regions of the country, one mostly rural and one mostly urban, were more likely to be making changes to safety and security staffing and procedures (the more-rural region was the central Southwest: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana; the more-urban one was the mid-Atlantic: New York and New Jersey).

"It appears that most hotels are standing pat with their existing safety and security procedures," Enz commented. "However, the difficulty in making a conclusive determination from a study such as this one is that no baseline exists for hotel security standards. Thus, thereís a strong probability that many hotels already had effective safety and security staffing and procedures in place before the Sept. 11 attacks. On the other hand, one might have expected the responding general managers to report a move toward an even higher level of changes in staffing and procedures following the attacks."

A report on the study, titled ìChanges in U.S. Hotel Safety and Security Staffing and Procedures during 2001 and 2002,î is on the CHR's home page, "\


An earlier study by Enz on hotel safety and security features, released in September 2002, showed most U.S. hotels ranking high on safety and security indices that looked at such features as security cameras, interior corridors, electronic locks and sprinkler systems. That study, titled ìThe Safety and Security of U.S. Hotels: A Post-September 11 Report,î also is available on the CHR Web site.

Based at Cornellís School of Hotel Administration, the Center for Hospitality Research informs scholarship in hospitality with an industry perspective. The centerís mission is to bring together the best insights of scholarship in hospitality and industry expertise. Development of the CHRís research efforts is augmented by industry perspective from its advisory board and its 26 industry sponsors and friends. All CHR studies are posted on its Web site, listed above.