Are hotels and clubs, with an anti-terrorist security certificate, the new winners?

Since there are already Blue Flags on beaches, TÜV Certificates in elevators, ISO 9001 Certifications for companies and Technical Vehicle Inspections (MOTs)... Why can’t there be a security seal for hotels and tourist destinations facing a terrorist risk? This idea may seem far-fetched to some, because 100% security never exists, but at the ITB fair in Berlin last week the open debate about it has already started.

A terrorist threat has become the number one concern for international tourists, according to the results from several surveys and reports which were presented at the ITB tourism fair.

In fact, it’s "a concern which has gone on since 2014" said Richard Singer, Director of TRAVELZOO, a travel company portal which presented a report on this issue.

"The world is perceived as more dangerous and the reason for this is the emergence of a new type of terrorism, which acts where people spend their holidays or their leisure time, which has had a massive impact" said Richard Singer.

Fear Marked by Issuing Markets and Destinations

In Japan, for example, 16% of consumers have stopped travelling abroad for fear of an attack. This is 6% in Germany as well as in France; 4% in the United Kingdom and United States; and 5% in Russia.

Regardless, tourists who have decided to continue travelling have their purchase decisions dominated by those destinations they perceive to be safer, to the detriment of others.

British, French and German tourists, for example, perceive Spain among the five safest destinations, according to Travelzoo survey.

Importance of security for travellers when choosing a destination, according to the issuing market. 

Lowering Prices to Counteract Fear Does Not Always Work

Faced with these security related perceptions, some destinations choose to lower prices to encourage sales. But according to the report presented by Travelzoo, this resource doesn’t always work.

"It's a lot more complicated. It will depend on the issuing market and the intensity of perceived fear in each destination" said Richard Singer

For example, faced with a "small terrorist risk", Chinese and American tourists will be the most likely to be convinced by a good bargain, with 60% of consumers willing to book their trip well below the usual price.

The same can’t be said for Germans, French, Russians or Japanese. Fewer than 40% of tourists from these issuing markets respond favourably to huge discounts.

Likelihood of booking a holiday at a destination which has suffered a terrorist attack in the last ten years, according to the issuing market

International Security Certificates

If price doesn’t work to attract tourists again, what can convince them?

It’s at this point when new initiatives are beginning to be considered, such as creating "safety certificates" for hotels and clubs at tourist destinations.

"It takes a proactive approach as well as a consistency in the tourism industry to communicate what is being done to ensure customer safety with a global approach and a standardized certification system" said Richard Singer.

Will a hotel with a security certificate be free from terrorist attacks?

No, but this seal will tell the customer the venue goes through specific controls to prevent the risk of terrorism, personnel are trained to detect threats, emergency protocols exist in case of an attack, etc.

According to the report presented by Travelzoo, 75% of European hoteliers believe the creation of this seal would help restore consumer confidence as well as implement an industrial safety standard.

"Hotels with these safety certificates will win in the current situation, where terrorism is perceived as the greatest risk" Richard Singer concluded.

Not forgetting after the attacks in Paris, 13 November 2015, the International Nightlife Association requested changes in the law so nightclubs and entertainment venues could trust "a new type of security staff, of a very high level, with specific training to detect possible terrorist threats and even inspect handbags and do body searches, which isn’t currently possible, and even carry weapons.