Friday, October 13, 2017

‘Do not disturb’ signs get another look after Las Vegas shooting

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Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo talks about reevaluation of security measures for Las Vegas hotel/casino properties. 



Updated October 12, 2017 - 10:31 
 
When a “Do Not Disturb” sign hangs outside a hotel room for a while, staff will usually call or knock at some point to make sure everything’s OK.
But in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, hotel operators may be asking themselves: How long should we wait before contacting guests who want to be left alone?
A gunman broke two windows in a 32nd-floor room at Mandalay Bay and sprayed bullets at concertgoers across the street on Oct. 1. Armed with at least 23 firearms, he killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest festival and left nearly 500 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and then killed himself. He may have been able to prepare for the attack because housekeeping staff didn’t enter the room for some time.
People don’t want to be “inconvenienced” in the hospitality industry – they want to “get pampered” and don’t want to stand in lines, Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the Review-Journal this week.
The Transportation Security Administration sparked complaints among fliers nationwide, but now “it’s a way of life” and “it’s important for us to take that same stance moving forward,” including checking baggage, Lombardo said.
With Do Not Disturb signs, he said, “does that mean hands-off, no interaction completely or, ‘Yeah, we understand that, sorry we woke you up, but we gotta look … This is our facility, not yours.’”
“All those things have to be measured,” Lombardo said.
Casino owner Steve Wynn told Fox News in a segment that aired Sunday that if “a room goes on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for more than 12 hours, we investigate.”
“The scenario that we’re aware of … indicated that (the shooter) didn’t let anyone in the room for two or three days,” said Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. “That would have triggered a whole bunch of alarms here.”
A holed-up guest might be ill, he added, and staff would check to see if they’re safe.
The 12-hour policy was implemented “shortly after the recent tragedy,” Wynn Resorts chief marketing officer Michael Weaver said in a statement to the Review-Journal.
Details of the shooter’s stay at Mandalay Bay still are in flux. Lombardo said this week that the gunman checked in on Sept. 25, three days earlier than previously reported, and that he spent the first three days in a separate room before moving to the corner suite from which he launched the rampage.
It’s also unclear whether a check by hotel staff could have prevented the massacre. Guests with Do Not Disturb signs can tell hotel workers that everything is fine, prompting staff to leave them be, according to Kevin Murphy, an associate professor at University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
No industrywide standard
There is no industrywide standard for how long hotels wait before trying to make contact with guests, said Dick Hudak, founder of Florida-based Resort Security Consulting. He said 12 hours is “too soon” but agreed that policies can vary based on the owner, the hotel and the guest.
Typically, hotels require that rooms with a Do Not Disturb request should be entered for routine cleaning after three days, although with some companies, workers enter for a courtesy cleaning after 24 hours, American Hotel & Lodging Association spokeswoman Rosanna Maietta said.
Hotels’ first concern is guest safety, said Steven Carvell, a finance professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. They need to ensure, for instance, that a guest isn’t dead or unconscious.
Illegal activity can happen in any hotel. But it’s far more common to worry about a guest’s health than to worry he’s stockpiling weapons, according to Central Florida’s Murphy.
“When’s the last time you heard someone had 23 assault rifles in their hotel room,” he said.

Many facts ‘still unverified’

Asked if hotels would review or change their Do Not Disturb policies in light of the massacre, Carvell said that “everybody always reviews everything” after a tragedy like this.
“Why would they not?” Carvell said.
Efforts to gain comments from Mandalay Bay owner MGM Resorts International were unsuccessful.
In a statement sent to reporters late Tuesday by an outside public-relations firm, MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong said “many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review.”
She also said, in an apparent reference to a recent Metro briefing on the shooting, that MGM “cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated … and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.”
She did not elaborate.
“We understand the public’s desire for information” but “it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time on what remains an open matter for law enforcement,” DeShong said.
Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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