This case involves a series of thefts that took place at a hotel restaurant and bar. The hotel rented out its restaurant and bar to an individual hosting a large country music event. It was later discovered the host who rented out the restaurant and bar had a long criminal record, including a history of theft and witness tampering. The hotel chose to delegate security responsibility to the host, which turned out to be haphazard and unprofessional. Over the course of the evening, the host and the host’s hired security orchestrated multiple thefts of the event attendees personal belongings. It is further alleged that several security personnel fled the scene with the stolen belongings. An expert in hotel event management was sought to review the actions and security policies of the venue.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your background in hotel operations and event management.
- 2. What responsibility does a venue have to background check an event host?
- 3. When an establishment delegates security responsibilities to a customer, what oversight should it provide?
Expert Witness Response E-086990
It’s very rare for most hoteliers to perform background checks on an individual looking to host an event at their property, in their meeting spaces. Unless there was some verbiage in the contract being given to the host, that stipulated, “This event is confirmed, pending a background check,” I’ve never, personally, worked in a hotel where we would make a contract guaranteed, pending a background check. This is just, unfortunately, one of the risks many hotels taking when negotiating business.
In regards to the oversight of security, in my professional opinion, it would have behooved the hotel to have their own on-site security, which most major hotels have on their daily payroll anyways these days. The on-site security should have had a “pre-con” meeting with the host, and the individuals whom would be on the security team. This would have allowed the hotel security staff the opportunity to debrief the 3rd party security staff about the hotel’s security policy and procedures, emergency plans, etc. so that they could all be on the same page on the night of the event. The hotel staff should also have required the 3rd party security staff to be easily recognizable, by having them wear certain clothing and/or visible ID badges. I would have also had the 3rd party security team issued radio walkie-talkies to be in communication with our on-site security team, should an altercation occur.