As a city, Mumbai will bounce back quickly, but the image of India as a safe destination has taken a big hit. In the current economic scenario, this is the last thing we needed. There has been extensive damage and the psychological effect on employees at the two targeted hotels will be tremendous. Luckily, the attack happened late in the night when most of the staff is stationed at the lower- or ground-level areas that are easier to evacuate. But a lot of travellers will be scared away. If you were planning a holiday, you would opt for a safer destination.
After the blast at the Marriott in Pakistan, there were advisories from the local police and most hotels in Delhi and Mumbai had taken steps to increase security. But you can’t turn hotels into forts. The Trident in Mumbai has at least 1,600-1,700 employees. At full occupancy, there are usually 1,200-1,300 guests. Then there are the restaurants, the guests who are attending the day’s big wedding party—there’s huge movement at all times.
Anil Madhok | The Hospitality Expert
After the police advisory, the Taj had closed all entries except the one through its main porch. It stopped allowing cars into its porch—you had to get off at the gate and walk through two metal detectors before you entered the lobby. Concrete barriers prevented cars from entering and drums prevented cars from being parked near the hotel. You can only do so much. If three terrorists walk up to your main porch with AK-47s and they are ready to die, what can you do?
Anil Madhok is managing director of Sarovar Hotels and Resorts. He worked with EIH Ltd, which runs the Trident, for at least two decades before setting up Sarovar Hotels in 1994.