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Hotels and Cybersecurity

New Era of Guest Data Analytics Ushers In Need for Improved Security

The rise of big data in the hospitality industry is ushering in a new era where striving to achieve a balance between leveraging and protecting data is paramount.

As many hotels use non-anonymized personally identifiable information (PII), data vulnerabilities increase exponentially and many hoteliers have yet to embrace key strategies for protecting this type of data.

A recent Hospitality Upgrade Magazine article pointed out that, “The real threat to information security is what is known as a PICNIC (problem in chair not in computer.)”

Although hotels use firewalls, antivirus systems and other security technologies, severe information security breaches keep happening and the problems are getting worse, not better, because of the PICNIC problem.

Essentially, hotel staff and outside contractors have access to non-anonymized data and without proper training, which can jeopardize both the guest and the hotel. Educating hotel staff about privacy issues is the first step in ensuring a culture of security.

In addition, guests are rightly concerned about data security.  According to the article, Forrester Research found that one in three consumers were concerned about companies having access to their behavioral data. More than 40 percent said they had stopped short of completing a transaction on a website because of something they read in a privacy policy.

To address the issue, the Hospitality Upgrade magazine will be doing a series that will cover the crime of identity theft and how it impacts both victims and the hospitality industry. We urge all hoteliers to follow the series in order to stay on top of the latest techniques and legislation to keep their guests’ data private and safe.  Not only will guests appreciate it, but hoteliers can also avoid many PR and social media headaches that come with a data breach.

 

 

Bisnow Lodging Investment Summit Brings Out Brightest Stars in Hospitality

Without a doubt, the Washington DC area has become the cornerstone for the hospitality industry — with Marriott, Hilton and Choice Hotels, as well as many lodging investment players, calling our region home.

So, it was no surprise that the folks at Bisnow Media were able to pull off a spectacular national event that drew together the “who’s who” of the hospitality sector at its Bisnow Lodging Investment Summit (BLIS) on May 9-10 at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner.

We had the unique pleasure of attending BLIS, which brought together 500 industry players to hear 32 speakers discuss the future of the hospitality industry. Some of the highlights included Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s new CEO, providing his vision for doubling the hospitality provider’s overseas portfolio, as well as political pundit Tucker Carlson’s enlightening and entertaining speech on the state of politics and what to expect from the upcoming Presidential election.

The event also showcased some of the challenges that the industry faces, such as what will happen to RevPAR as consumer confidence continues to decline, as well as managing growth in a global economy that is still in a state of turmoil.

At NetLink, we have always believed that the best way to enhance growth, in even the most challenging of economic climates, is to ensure that all IT investments support business growth. For example, be sure to check out this case study about how Marriott International developed its online gift card effort, which resulted in $35 million in additional revenue.

As the lodging sector continues to move forward, it is exciting to see that the industry is coming up with unique strategies for business growth. And, plenty of opportunities still abound for those selling solutions to hospitality providers.

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group