Five Reasons Every US Hotels Need PCI Compliance in 2021

Ever since the Marriott-Starwood Hotels hack, the hospitality industry has been on alert from cyber threats. Being the second most breached sector of the US economy since the previous two decades hotels, resorts, restaurants, and even hospitals have been under grave threat from hackers. 

PCI compliance remains one of the simplest and most effective frameworks for basic hotels and even larger franchises around the USA. This set of standards made up of 12 rules developed by the PCI Council back in 2006 brings together a complete security framework for businesses that request and store sensitive customer data. 

For hotels, the responsibility to secure guest data and privacy is even heightened given the nature of data that hospitality databases hold.  

Why US Hotels & Resorts Need PCI Compliance

Needless to emphasize, PCI compliance rules are undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to secure hotel data, guests, staff, and IT assets in 2021. Given the sheer use of technology in hotels including payment machines, there should be defined cybersecurity and data security infrastructures in place. 

So why exactly do hotels and resorts need PCI compliance enactment? Here are five reasons why it is critical in a post-COVID19 world powered by digital technology. 

The Security & Compliance of POS Machines  

One of the most common and oldest technologies now present in even the smallest hotels and resorts, POS machine compliance is the actual basis of PCI compliance rules. 

Ensuring every payment touchpoint including digital services is secured and compliant with prevailing standards is essential for hotel owners. Not all POS machine models and designs are compliant. Hence it is not just essential to secure your payment gateways, but also to assure procurement from reliable vendors. 

PCI Compliance provides hoteliers the ideal standard for POS machines, digital payment services, and how to secure these technologies.  

Access Control & Staff Authorization for Guest Data  

Since every hotel stores credit card data, it is essential for the hospitality company to ensure the ironclad security of their databases. Controlling staff access and maintaining authorization rules for data is an important policy statement that must be documented and distributed to relevant staff members. 

Hoteliers must also keep in mind that human error remains the most common reason that causes data breaches. Hotel owners, management, and staff must be equipped with the necessary knowledge to counter common threats and prepare effective contingency plans in case of a data breach. 

The PCI rules, therefore, recommend the development of strict access and authorization rules for hotels that store guest data. 

Build Secure Guest and Back Office Networks 

Thanks to high-speed internet, hospitality providers are able to deliver some very unique services to their guests. Voice assistants, Smart TVs, in-room tablets, robots, business centers, etc. all require reinforced cybersecurity. 

Today a variety of security tools including firewalls, threat detection apps, threat protection software, etc. are used to secure hotel networks. It is also essential to ensure that the hotel guest network and back-office networks are separated by network administrators for enhanced security. 

The PCI compliance rules hence set the standards to quality assure the security and privacy of hotel networks.   

Mobile Room Keys and Guest Apps

The introduction of intuitive guest mobile apps and contactless room keys has heightened the responsibility of hoteliers in 2021. Although they are very useful smartphones are easy to breach compared to a hotel network. 

Not only can hackers gain access to the entire hotel by breaching a Bluetooth room lock, but they can also even stay connected for a while before being discovered. The mass deployment of Bluetooth low energy locks, mobile apps for guest service, and staff mobility tools require hotels to enact strict device security. 

One of the most effective ways that the PCI rules recommend is through deploying military-grade encryption within their apps & services. The PCI rules also recommend highly secured databases & servers, preferably secured by tools including two-factor authentication, cameras, special access & authorization, and encryption. 

PCI Staff Security Training  

Staff training and education remain one of the most important PCI rules that ensure the best enactment of the 12 rules. Keeping staff prepared for data breaches, while giving them the necessary measures to strengthen hotel cybersecurity can prove to be vital for even the smallest hotel. 

Educating staff about the 12 PCI rules, secure networks, secure POS services, access & authorization rules, cybersecurity policies, and data management can provide hotels the competitive edge they need to survive the post-COVID19 economy. 


We hope you found our 5 reasons to enact PCI compliance in US hotels useful. Our professional PCIP consultant is available over email, over the phone at 510-900-5990 (Mon-Fri 9 AM to 6 PM), and over Live Chat (Mon-Fri 9 AM to 6 PM) to answer all your very important questions about PCI compliance. 

Get in touch with us today to know more about PCI compliance, how to enact it, and what to do before you start.