Home / Site visit: Security operations at the Palazzo Versace

Site visit: Security operations at the Palazzo Versace

by Nikhil Pereira on Jan 1, 2018

MJB Groups security officers at the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai.
MJB Groups security officers at the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai.

In 2016, Dubai surpassed the 100,000 hotel room mark. These rooms are spread across hundreds of different hotels, and several different hotel brands, making the hospitality industry one of the largest employers in the emirate. The scale obviously increases when Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates are included in the mix.

Hoteliers focus on offering a comfortable bed, luxury amenities and good quality food and beverage services to its guest. Whereas offering a safe and secure environment across the floors and through the corridors is considered a given.

The Palazzo Versace Dubai outsourced its security operations to MJB Group, and the Dubai-based FM company has been running operations since its inception. MJB Group’s reputation as a security services company for high-end assets has enhanced over the last 12 months as it added a few other hospitality clients to its portfolio.

While we were at the Palazzo Versace it was difficult to tell the difference between the security personnel working at the hotel and the front-of-house staff present there. “All our security personnel are dressed in suits — just like you would find at other luxury hotels. At the end of the day they need to maintain a low profile,” says Shakar Lal, security manager, MJB Group.

And that’s because unlike the residential or commercial sector, security operations in the hospitality industry needs to be discrete. The ideal guest experience is a simplistic one, and seeing large men in protective gear tarnishes guests’ impressions of a hotel, and the locality, Lal says.

“There are 18 staff working at the Palazzo Versace at all given points of time. We also provide security services at the hotel staff’s accommodation which takes the total to 28 security officers in total. Our staff is engaged 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s a critical operation for us,” Lal tells fmME.

The Palazzo Versace Dubai has 215 rooms and 169 residences, and officially opened its doors in November 2016. Until date, the Palazzo Versace Dubai remains only the second Versace-branded hotel to be in operation. The hotel also has eight F&B outlets and MJB’s security personnel can be found besides each of them greeting guests with a smile and addressing their concerns.

Their selection process, however, begins with prospects having to successfully clear the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA) examinations which includes training as well. “Following which the client — in this case the Palazzo Versace Dubai — has complete control over staff selection. They gave us a list of personality traits and qualities, and we arrange staff accordingly. The client then interviews the personnel, and makes a selection based on their expertise and personality. In hospitality it slants towards guest services than in-depth security — it’s almost 49% security and 51% hospitality. Security operations and guest services run hand-in-hand,” Lal informs.

Once staff is selected to work on site they undergo specific trainings pertaining to their post of duty. “Typically, there are around six disciplines within a hotel’s security operations — lobby, time office, parking and access control, restaurants, common patrolling area and the back office. Initially, staff receive training on a specific area and in time they are trained on other aspects as well,” he adds.

Lal says the day-to-day operations run on a tight system of checks and balances as we make our way to the expansive lobby of the Palazzo Versace.

“Along with keeping an eye on guests’ wellbeing and their belongings we also ensure the probationary staff is surveyed, especially for those who newly join the property newly, its part of our job. We have an hourly and daily reporting system that logs every minute incident. When it comes to guest security we also provide additional security to VIP and VVIP guests,” Lal says adding that the number of security officers is beefed up during large events and peak season days.