What Hotels Need to Know to Protect Against Inevitable Data Breaches

By Philip J Harvey President, Venture Insurance Programs | February 14, 2016

Data breaches are happening at hotels with increasing frequency, from small boutique properties to some of the largest international brands. Hilton, Starwood, Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt and the Trump Collection were all prominent victims in 2015.

Hyatt discovered malware designed to steal credit card data on computers that operate payment processing systems. At Evans Hotels, back-up card readers used to encrypt payment card data were breached. The front desk system at Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino was breached, compromising guest payment card information.

In a growing trend of criminals exploiting weaknesses in point-of-sale (POS) security, hackers used a malware intrusion of Starwood's POS system to expose credit/debit card information used at retail shops, gift shops and restaurants at its W., Sheraton and Westin brands. Hackers compromised POS registers in gift shops and restaurants at a large number of Hilton hotel and franchise properties across the country. Hackers also accessed POS systems at most Mandarin Oriental properties in the U.S.

Not only are hotels susceptible to data breaches, but they also present complex risk management and insurance challenges, with systems stretching across multiple properties, brands and franchises.

Yet, despite the frequency and severity of these attacks, many hotels are not prepared for the inevitable breach. They do not have data breach response plans, solid risk management strategies or insurance to cover the costs involved when there is a breach. These costs run into the millions and include myriad expenses like computer forensic investigations, guest notifications, legal defense of potentially costly lawsuits and public relations costs to protect and restore a tarnished image.

Vulnerable, But Unprepared

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

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.