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#GLF19 | "When there's a crisis, information must travel quickly and efficiently"

René-Georges Querry, security expert explains. "I did not come here to frighten but to reassure. Two concepts must be identified: safety and security. Security has to do with accidental events, safety has to do with human error."

The security context in France and Europe

I will cover questions related to safety with you. There are a number of well-identified threats across the country, including immigration, cybercrime, terrorism and radicalisation, and then "classic" risks: petty crime and everyday violence.

For the hotel industry there are several types of problems that need to be considered

  • Classic malicious acts, robberies in rooms, etc. But this type of crime is now handled well with video surveillance.
  • Cybercrime can target headquarters and financial services for embezzlement, therefore employees must be aware of this threat.
  • Finally, radicalization and terrorism.

With regard to terrorism, I make a distinction between France, Europe and the rest of the world, with a risk in Africa and in the countries of the Middle East, risks that always exist. In France and Europe, there have been no attacks on hotels, we must not be too anxious with this endogenous terrorism, which is the expression of a poorly assimilated radicalisation, by individuals who are caught between madness and religion. There's nothing to worry about. Obviously, it is not an exact science, but frankly not a concern in France and Europe. However, the rise of radicalisation is a risk for companies, as it poses problems for the functioning of the company.

What are the concrete actions?

The best is to recruit someone who is exclusively in charge of security at HQ as well. Eventually create a committee to prevent risks. Above all, it has a political advantage in terms of information flow, bringing together skills: communication, security, legal... We need to monitor social networks. Obviously, if prevention does not work, it can lead to crisis, crisis within the institution, or by an exogenous factor. For example, within the Accor group in 2005, one of our hotels was severely damaged in 2005 during the Tsunami. In a crisis, you must manage.

Crisis management: an oxymoron, a contradiction, you cannot manage a crisis, etymologically the word management is to manage and decide well, it is to administer, but crisis offers no warning, it is all about the unexpected. More than management, we need to talk about crisis response. Someone must be in charge of communication. Information must flow quickly, efficiently, etc. The person in charge must step back and circulate information, it is necessary to act collectively, to bring together the right people (communication, legal, operational). Often there is an influx of information, a kind of  "infobesity" during crises, it is necessary to get the right information out to make the right decisions. The more people involved, the more complicated it is to manage, it has to be the real decision-makers who are there. It is important not to hesitate to travel in the event of a major incident. The senior manager must be visible and show empathy. It is always necessary to travel, press releases must be transparent, crisis management is a state of mind.

In the news: the Yellow Vests crisis

In the context of the Yellow Vests crisis, at present no hotel has been deliberately attacked by the Yellow Vests... yet. This movement, which was initially a movement of citizens dissatisfied with their fate, was infiltrated by black-blocks and thugs during the demonstrations. The thugs are targeting businesses where there are things to steal. Black-blocks seek above all to attack symbols of the state, such as the Elysée or the Arc de Triomphe. Also symbols of wealth such as banks or Fouquet's. Hotels have been spared because they are not of interest to thugs or extreme left-wing movements.

It is important to be vigilant because your criminal liability may be incurred in the event of serious problems. Nonetheless, when I stay at a hotel today I feel safe. Let's continue in this direction.

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