Keeping Your Corporate Payments Secure

The Greatest Threat May Also be the Greatest Protection

By Heather Stone Global Executive Vice President, CSI Enterprises | June 25, 2017

Understanding and addressing the reasons behind and risks associated with payments processing is a critical issue in the hospitality industry. This introduction to payments fraud provides critical knowledge for anyone dealing with accounting, payments, or vendor relationships.

As the internet continues to usher in a new era of productivity new technologies consistently and dramatically improve the way we work. But along with that evolution has come a new era of cyber security threats. I have been traveling coast-to-coast speaking to business-to-business (B2B) financial executives on this very subject, and from my conversations with CFOs and treasury managers alike the single most pressing issue across all industries is the security of payments. If you think about it, transactions are happening continuously and around the globe so even though you may not be present when these transactions physically occur, your financial likeness is.

The 2017 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey examined the trends in payments fraud on business-to-business (B2B) activities. The survey found that 74 percent of participants reported their organizations were exposed to either attempted or actual payment-related fraud in 2016. Business email compromise scams, with reports of wire fraud, increased from just five percent in 2009 to a staggering 48 percent in 2015.

For hotel executives this payments-related fraud is especially troubling with security breaches at global hotel chains making headlines in recent years. Whether the fraudulent activity happens as an insider threat or through the use of a hotel room, it is happening on a daily basis. Executives in the hospitality industry are unified in their beliefs that these concerns could have been alleviated with a better understanding of technology options available today which were designed to mitigate these fraudulent activities and protect the hotel, its employees, and guests.

These innovations actually turn the tide on those security threats by streamlining and transforming the payment process into a touchless workflow - from invoicing all the way through payment processing - without manual error or intervention from hackers. This affords everyone a significantly larger level of protection while enabling businesses to "carry on" as should be done.

This may seem counter-intuitive to those who think of the internet as the root of all security threats, but the process of electronically escorting an invoice through its journey from approval to payment is a bit like protecting that invoice within a virtual steel vault every step of the way.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.