Executive protection is considered to be a luxury service by many. This is because the very nature of the industry is specific to a very select niche of clientele. This client base includes such groups of people as Fortune 500 C-level executives, high-net-worth individuals, and celebrities.
As with any premium luxury product or service, attention is paid to the details of the service, and the quality of performance is inseparable to the protection and security requirements.
Besides the obvious high expectations for an extremely professional protection service and its work methods, the prestigious experience in an integral part of the process.
Armored luxury vehicles (which are washed on a daily basis), VIP airport fast track services, Pre-hotel check-in (not in the client’s name), VIP parking, Panic and tracker devices.
The Close protection officers in suits are doing more than just protecting the client, but also serve as travel coordinators and advisors in order to make the client’s schedule much more efficient, streamlined, and precise.
Some of these tasks include routes planning, setting up meeting locations, booking restaurants, hotels, and entertainment among other activities. And yes, this also means carrying the bags and doing anything else to make the client’s life easier, all backed by 24/7 control center support behind the scenes.
Bryan, one of our Close Protection officers, gave me an example.
“One client landed after a long flight and notified me that they were feeling sick. While he was in the car with the CPOs on the way to the hotel, another CPO was being dispatched simultaneously in order to purchase the client’s required medicine and managed to drop it in his hotel room before the client arrived at the hotel.”
Some clients will ask for specific beverages and newspapers to place in the vehicles upon their arrival. Some will split the team in order to take the wife for a shopping or entertainment tour while the client is busy in meetings. This level of protection is again essential and incredibly relevant for high crime rate cities, such as Johannesburg, where it is not recommended for a foreigner to walk or drive about without security.
“Securing high-tech senior executives has a special characteristic of the nature of the visit, which is normally short and demanding,” said Bryan.
“The accuracy of the schedule is extremely important for senior executives from the high-tech sector. While this is true for every businessman, senior high-tech executives who arrive for a limited time are expected to move around according to the timetable. What characterizes a visit by high-tech seniors is the chronological accuracy of the schedule. For us, it can seem exaggerated, but for them, it’s very important and should be given since we’re providing an impeccable service. For example, on visits of a 36-hour duration, they should think about business, but the hosts are also interested in showing them the area”.
Another part of the luxury experience is trusting we’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty when considering all aspects of our clients’ trips, whether that’s choosing optimal routes to defensive driving and for casting and remaining prepared for those “what if” scenarios.
The executive protection service extends into high-risk markets abroad, so the close protection officer has to become experts in layers of security for personal and corporate travel. The success at each task is to protect the client’s identity and safety while seamlessly upholding the signature luxury experience throughout the trip.
For each task, the protection team undertakes an intelligence risk assessment in advance of travel time which ranges from route planning, including exit strategies and alternative routes, to media exposure management and full sweeps of hotels and venues they will be visiting.
Also note that this includes developing relationships with state and local governments, as well as with local law enforcement in order to address potential risks.
In recent years, various security companies have become companies that manage and establish events from A to Z. They take care of every aspect, not only regarding security, but also the logistics and the administrative processes.
The companies coordinate the schedule of the visit and fill and take care of every possible need. The price ranges from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of service you want.
I asked Bryan; “Would they be willing to take a bullet for a client?” The answer was positive.
"If there is a situation in which we have to take a bullet, then we failed," he explains. "But if that happens, I'll be ready to take it."