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Best Practices for Protecting Hotel Guest Information

People get into the hotel business partly because they love looking after people. In providing top-tier hospitality services, guests can leave the premises feeling reinvigorated for their stay.

However, looking after guests involves an ever-expanding list of duties. Many of these obligations are rooted in the digital world today. Unfortunately, hotels can be targeted by cybercriminals as much as any other business. Best practices are required to keep guests and their personal information safe.

How can you better protect hotel guest information? Are these processes easy to adapt to your hotel’s workflows? Keep reading for guidance on making things work here.

Be Forthcoming

While there are well-defined laws around data security, there’s plenty of room for opinion in this arena too. Though you may be doing something perfectly legal with a guest’s data, it doesn’t always mean they’d consent to these courses of action.

Therefore, it’s best to be forthcoming about using guest data. Even if their information is no immediate harm, they may not know better if they have found out. In those situations, the secret use of their data violates their trust and breaches their privacy, so discretion is critical. Always be forthcoming about data use.

You could present a survey to them as they check-in. A notice could be issued to their room to inform them about data use there. Measures around opting in or out should be detailed in full. If you could explain how using their data can help your hotel, then making your case as strongly as possible is also advised.

Excellent communication is the foundation of all positive consumer-business dynamics. Even if things haven’t been planned, your hotel’s ability to navigate these scenarios can prevent matters from worsening.

Test Your Security

It’s easy to become complacent around digital security. Many expect their technology to ‘just work,’ especially if the systems are state-of-the-art and expensive.

However, the truth is that even the best systems need routine maintenance. That’s why it’s essential to conduct static application security testing so you can constantly identify any vulnerabilities in your software. Many of these processes can be automated, too, which means any developers and technicians in your hotel business can devote their time to things other than system check-ups. Contact ForAllSecure for more information and a free demo of their award-winning AI.

These efforts must be rigorous. Cybercriminals are forever trying to innovate new ways of breaching firms’ systems, and the ability to be versatile in your safeguarding efforts is crucial. Keep testing your software; your guest’s information will be better protected. Explore all the different ways to strengthen your systems; pen testing, fuzz hacking, white box testing, and more.

Implement Tiered Access

Hotels are part of the hospitality industry, which means most staff members in the sector have a customer-facing role. Although friendly relations are necessary, it doesn’t mean that all staff should have the same ‘access’ to the guests that others do.

Guest information should only be accessed on a tiered basis. If your hotel has a secure cloud server (and it should), then you can ensure that only some files can be accessed by senior staff only. Password, voice, and face verification can be for additional layered security. Try to categorize your guests’ data. The front-of-house staff doesn’t need to know everything about the people they’re serving.

Moreover, it’s worth remembering that high job turnover rates are often concentrated in the hospitality industry today. Hotel staff in frontline positions are likely to leave in pursuit of other roles at some point in the future, so granting them in-depth insights into guests’ data is illogical in that sense as well.

Put simply, your hotel guests’ information should be accessed on a need-to-know basis. Many of your workers won’t qualify for those privileges, so quickly develop that tiered security structure. After all, the more people involved in handling guests’ data, the more likely something will go wrong. You can cut back on training costs this way, too.

Don’t Sell Out

Some companies sell their customer’s information. Your hotel should not endeavor to do the same.

Refuse all offers from entities requesting to buy your guests’ data. Some of these bodies operate as if their activities are harmless and for research purposes only, but there’s no telling what they might do with your guests’ data. They may wish to sell it themselves, contact your guests’ directly, or use it to direct marketing-based ads and emails.

Social media networks have made millions selling customers’ data, but it doesn’t mean everybody should. Your guests must feel like their best interests are always being looked out for. If you’re exploiting them to make a quick buck, they will understandably not wish to stay with you again.

Remember, people stay in hotels temporarily, passing through before returning to their lives. They don’t want to sign up for significant life changes and opportunities during their stay, knowingly or otherwise. Look after them with no strings attached.

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