Beijing Olympics 2022 – VIP and Customer Program Security Considerations

ETS Risk Management (ETS) has been a proud security provider to several Olympic Sponsors, attending VIPs, members of the IOC, and to media companies since 2014. Over the years we have learned some lessons that may help our clients moving forward if planning to attend the Olympics in any function. Please see the Top Five Security Tips for Olympic Security at Beijing 2022.

  1. Olympic experience matters. The IOC, whether POCOG, TOCOG, or soon to be BOCOG for Beijing 2022 can be complicated. It is important to have experience in navigating the intricacies of customer and sponsor programs, access control, and asking the right questions. The IOC, like any large organization does not necessarily communicate efficiently between components, both internal and external.  From our experience it is important to never assume or work off informal advice or direction. Also, information often comes in late, and they have historically been reticent to provide useful and actionable direction, and not forthcoming with information.
  2. A network is valuable. It is extremely useful to work as a team with other sponsors and partners within the Olympics world. Each has different experiences, viewpoints, insights, and resources and a team spirit is fostered among those in-country. Because of the inherent issues with communication as touched on above, it is extremely important to leverage a network to find useful information, work around problems, and fill in the gaps.
  3. Accreditation and Credentials are confusing. Every Olympics, we see people and organizations fall foul of the accreditation. Whether it is not understanding the parameters or limitations, getting confused with the different parking and drop-off zones, or being unable to escort, or accompany your VIP/Group to all locations. The ramifications of which can be quite serious, as well as frustrating. Olympic accreditations and credentialing is extremely complex and can be as equally frustrating. The IOC often mandates early deadlines which can make it hard to plan, and the inevitable last minute changes need to be accounted for and then facilitated.
  4. Embedded Security Teams are not just there for security. By embedding a security person or team within a VIP group you provide an extra layer of logistical control from established and experienced team members. This facilitates a smooth and enjoyable experience for the customers and VIPs. No plan stays intact and every day at the Olympics requires some adaptation, and problem-solving. It was quickly realized that the hospitality and events team get swamped very quickly with customer attention and hospitality, and the other components such as transportation, logistics, and problem-solving need a lot of care and attention which nearly always falls into the laps of security.
  5. Something always goes wrong.  Embedded security teams provide an incident response back-cover incase a situation develops. Whether a minor medical issue, lost person, alcohol-related issue, or a major incident. The embedded security are there to act as a force multiplier and take control when it is no longer Business-As-Usual (BAU). The ability to respond effectively in a dynamic, challenging environment where infrastructure and assets are often overstretched is often an underrated asset.

Whether participating in the Beijing 2022 Olympics, or another large sporting event such as FIFA World Cup, or the Super Bowl, the principals often overlap. ETS recognizes that inherent risks to event staff and partners are present in an increasingly uncertain world, and a comprehensive security risk management system is needed to prepare, train, and mitigate risk across all stakeholders to deliver a successful event. The team prides itself on attention to detail, finding solutions, clear communication, and efficient coordination of assets.

ETS has worked extensively to coordinate security projects at large events with large numbers of VIPs and protected persons and their associated support teams, including Heads of State, Celebrities, Elected Officials, and Fortune 10 CEOs. We have extensive past performance of close cooperation with law enforcement, government agencies, and security organizations. ETS establishes early and meaningful contact with all agencies that may have a role in the event