Case Study

Secom’s Interactive CCTV Enhances Premier Inn Security

Safety and security are important considerations for any business in the hospitality sector. It’s therefore not surprising that Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, places a high priority on the security of its personnel and its guests. A key aspect of this is that the company has been enlisting the aid of security expert SECOM in developing and installing an interactive CCTV system in its hotel Reception areas.

Premier Inn is a multi-award winning chain, with over 850 hotels providing some 77,000 rooms. The hotels are in a wide variety of locations, including city centres, suburbs and airports. And in each individual Premier Inn, the Reception area is regarded as a key hub, where all visitors are made to feel welcome. It’s therefore vital that any potential disturbances here can be dealt with quickly and effectively.

Developing a new security system

This is why the hotel chain asked SECOM to develop an interactive CCTV system for its Reception areas. SECOM has been providing security measures for the chain since 1990. Initially, each site had a traditional CCTV system, with cameras and recorders in various parts of the hotel. However, to enhance the safety and security of its team members still further, the company decided that an interactive system was needed. It worked closely with SECOM on its development, which was based on a similar solution that SECOM had installed for a major retail chain.

Installation of the interactive CCTV system began in Premier Inn new builds from 2014. In 2016 and 2017, SECOM also started deploying the solution during the refurbishment of some existing Reception areas. John Brind, Director of Safety and Security for Whitbread Group plc, reports: “A couple of years ago, we decided it was taking too long to deploy the system throughout our whole estate in this way, so we started introducing it into all our other hotels. As a result, over the last two years, SECOM has installed the interactive CCTV system in some 500 Premier Inn sites.”

A remotely monitored solution

Kevin Llewellyn, SECOM’s Head of National Accounts, explains: “The interactive system is a suite of solutions that can be used in different ways in different situations. For instance, it can be used for other applications – such as theft prevention – in retail chains.”

For Premier Inn, SECOM developed a system that includes high-definition cameras, microphones and speakers. There’s an alarm button behind the desk in each Reception area, and team members working there are issued with a personal tag that they can carry with them at all times.

All of the installations are remotely managed and monitored, 24 hours a day, by SECOM’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Any activity taking place in the Reception can therefore be viewed by the ARC operators and both the visuals and audio are recorded. This enables team members to feel safer and more confident when having to handle challenging or difficult situations.

Dealing with difficulties

For example, very occasionally a guest might become abusive or threatening. The Premier Inn receptionist can press the alarm or their personal tag and immediately the closest security camera will focus in and send images directly to the ARC. The operator can view what’s happening through the cameras and listen using the sensitive microphones. This will enable them to immediately assess the situation. To help defuse it, they can open a two-way audio channel and make an agreed announcement over the discreet speaker system. This will warn the abusive person that their actions are being monitored and recorded.

Anyone in the area will be advised that the site is being remotely monitored. If they don’t stop their aggressive behaviour, the operator will escalate the situation. If necessary, they will contact the emergency services and ask the police to attend the scene. This solution therefore provides a quick and easy way of gaining an immediate security response in the event of a difficult or uncomfortable situation.

Estate-wide safety and security

All Premier Inn hotels now have the interactive CCTV system. The most recent installation was in the new Cardiff City Centre Stadium Premier Inn. “SECOM’s system has proved highly effective by providing our team members with live security support from the ARC,” says John Brind. “It’s been used on numerous occasions to defuse potentially troublesome situations. The system was installed along with 40 inch monitors in the Reception areas. These screens show the front entrances and act as an initial visual deterrent for anyone thinking of causing a disturbance.”

Because the system has proved such an effective deterrent, it also helps the police. It has significantly reduced the number of times they need to be contacted to attend a hotel to deal with a difficult situation. The solution is also useful in providing evidence to the police on the rare occasions when someone might need to be prosecuted for anti-social behaviour. This is because it not only provides video images but also audio recordings – which aren’t available with traditional CCTV systems.

SECOM continues to manage and maintain Premier Inn’s estate-wide network of CCTV systems across England, Wales and Ireland. Premier Inn is always looking for new ways to enhance the safety and security of its team members and guests. The chain therefore occasionally trials new security technologies in conjunction with SECOM. For example, it has recently been trialling a new door entry system in four or five hotels. This can be used in locations where the main hotel is sited above the entrance lobby. The system provides audio and video recording to restrict unwanted visitors – only bona fide guests will be admitted into the lobby.

A proactive service

John Brind concludes: “Whitbread has been working in partnership with SECOM for well over 20 years. They install and maintain our hotel security and CCTV systems across our estate of over 850 hotels and 420 restaurants.  It’s a vital relationship for us, as it concerns the security and safety of both our team members and our guests.”

He adds: “SECOM has always provided us with excellent service and supplies reliable, cost-effective equipment. They are proactive in bringing new products and system enhancements for our consideration and are always flexible in ensuring that our specific needs are considered. Strong relationships have been built between our relevant internal teams and Secom’s National Accounts Team. This means they fully understand our business and ways of working, leading to them providing us with a first-class and proactive service.”



Premier Inn – Whitbread PLC






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