The modern tech-savvy traveler demands home like technology integration when they book accommodation. Hospitality Technology’s 5th annual customer engagement technology survey established that 91% of surveyed guests book hotels that have good WIFI while 56% also consider guest room technology as their primary preferences.
“Technology already is an inherent and invaluable element of the entire travel lifecycle, ranging from travelers using an array of devices to book hotels to connecting to WiFi upon arrival. Their reliance upon it is evident, and they want more: 64% of U.S. hotel guests said it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.”
From Oracle’s Creating a Coveted Guest Experience Survey
Guest technology changes very rapidly keeping hotels on their toes and in sync with hospitality technology trends. Since guest satisfaction is the ‘grand prize’ for any hotel, the absence of guest technologies can be a significant loss of business.
Some of the more popular technologies that guests demanded in the 2016 HT survey include mobile room keys and mobile room control. It was identified that in 2016 only 1% of hotels around the world offered those technologies in guest rooms.
The Rising Need for Guest Technology Security in Hotels
It’s never usually the ability to fund guest technology upgrades, but their accompanying vulnerabilities that worry hotel owners. With rising guest demands to seamlessly integrate technology, it is essential for hotels to have the ideal hotel security infrastructure in place to mitigate against possible vulnerabilities.
With an interconnected network of devices and systems, a hotel has much more to lose than just customers. Guest information, camera systems, guest data, room access, WIFI hotspots, business services, etc. all require hands-on security to counter modern cyber threats.
You can read about The Most Common Cyber Threats For Every Hotel in 2019.
Consider the Starwood Hotels data breach which continued for 4 years, even after Marriott International had acquired them in 2016. The hackers had almost 4 years since 2014 to feed on the network, chipping away layers of security to unearth valuable hotel data. Hotel News Now even provides a historical countdown of popular data breaches in hotels across the world.
The increasing number of hacks & data breaches in hospitality is also increasing awareness amongst guests and hotel management. It is the responsibility of hotels to keep their guest data secure since they trust the service provider to have sufficient technology safeguards in place. Hospitality companies like all other industries are also legally bound to meet data protection regulations and secure their technology infrastructures.
Since there are no defined data protection laws in the USA, it becomes the primary responsibility of hotels to secure their guest data and themselves from consequences of experiencing a breach. Customer trust and brand reputation remain the two most critical factors in case of a breach. While customer trust and reputation are hardest to rebuild, the financial repercussions can be even worse for a hotel brand.
Credit Card Fraud
The most common fraud type in the hospitality sector is credit card and debit card theft. POS (Point of Sale) transaction frauds, where the guest is present are rare. It is the CNP (Card Not Present) frauds that make up most of these crimes. Nilson’s 2018 report established the same:
PCI Compliance remains one of the most essential certifications for any hotel that accepts credit card payments. The Payment Card Industry Compliance standards are specific set of rules defined to protect card data collected through POS machines and card readers.
Our blog on PCI compliance & PII security highlights the various systems needed to put the infrastructure in place. This essential is the first step to achieving ironclad protection for guest payment data.
Hotel Network Security
Hotel network security carries great significance. This is where your guests, staff, and management meet. A single infiltration can cause massive issues including lost guest data, compromised information of staff and the owners.
The important aspect of hotel network security is how often it is monitored and has maintenance conducted on it. A compromise to the network includes everything from IP cameras, workstations, mobile devices, storage, servers, hotel signage security, business rooms, key locks and more.
Usually, employing the services of a hotel technology company can allow hotels to keep up with latest technology trends and have their network managed at all times. Imagine if your network is secure but your WIFI is poorly setup and anyone in the lobby can infiltrate it. A managed I.T. partner can analyze and recommend all underlying threats to your system.
Data Access & Authorizations
While most threats come from the outside, there is no doubt a breach can be an inside job. To counter this hotels need to establish proper permissions for selected staff to access data and authorized personnel to do so.
Data theft may not be popular, because it’s the most difficult to execute, but it is one of the most paying cyber crimes on the internet. In case of a hotel database theft, some notorious criminals can get awfully rich simply selling the data to wealthy suitors online.
A managed hotel technology provider will keep your network, devices, and permissions in check. These specialized companies have defined security standards and requirements for staff access and authorizing new personnel to data sensitive areas.
Room Key Access Theft
Although it hasn’t really become a viral hotel technology threat, it is a dangerous one that any hotel can experience.
The Seehotel, Jagerwirt in Austria was hacked four times between 2016 & 2017 leading to guest being locked out or inside their rooms. The dangerous part of this hack is that the malicious ransomware that infiltrated the hotel network came in a Telecom Austria bill.
Hiring a Hotel Technology Company for Tech Security
Carrying a secure technology infrastructure is excellent, but it is really the ongoing management of these essential security systems that makes the difference for any hotel. Like all other industries, specialist hotel technology companies are an ideal choice for hospitality businesses to manage their I.T. systems & data.
A managed hotel technology company can offer several benefits including:
- Experience working with hotel franchises
- Knowledge of brand requirements
- Threat Detection & Protection apps
- Exclusive partnerships with technology vendors & suppliers
- Dedicated technology support personnel – On-site & Remote
- 24 hour network & technology monitoring
- Routine PCI Compliance & Security Assessment
- Hardware compliance and vulnerability testing
- Guest technology experience management
- Firewall integration & management
At Advanced Hospitality Technologies we have over 20 years of experience designing, planning, and developing hotel technology security infrastructures. As one of the leading hotel technology companies in the USA we have several esteemed client franchises including Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, Wyndham, and Choice Hotel Groups.
Call us today to learn more about our managed I.T. services, and the security upgrades we can bring to your hotel.