Guarantee Secure Credit Transactions Before you Swipe that Card

By Bob Carr Chairman & CEO, Heartland Payment Systems | October 28, 2008

There's no denying that credit card fraud is on the rise. A 2007 report from the Association for Payments Professionals found 72 percent of 3,000 members surveyed had been victims of actual or attempted fraud in 2006. That's up from 68 percent in 2005.

Unfortunately, 80 percent of data compromises originate through small merchants-those generating less than 20,000 e-commerce transactions or a million total transactions annually-according to Visa USA.

These smaller merchants - such as independently owned hotels -- don't always have the technology to provide the secure systems needed in today's increasingly risky financial world. Worse, many hotel owners dismiss the problem because they think they are protected by their merchant acquirers. But they are not.

Indeed, as payment technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers' and thieves' methods for stealing sensitive information. And the results can be disastrous for any business, regardless of size.

For example, Massachusetts-based TJX Companies Inc., the world's leading off-price apparel and home fashions retailer, experienced a major customer credit and debit card data breach last January. It turned out to be the most expensive cybercrime ever recorded, with over 45.6 million customer credit and debit card numbers stolen.

Besides $150 million in breach costs, the company now faces FTC investigations, over a dozen lawsuits, with some litigation seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages. Analysts project the breach could ultimately cost TJX anywhere from $500 million to nearly $1 billion in expenses.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.