handing lady a credit card at a hotel

When a guest enters your hotel, they expect to be safe. This may mean hiring 24/7 security, utilizing mobile room keys, or having a disaster recovery plan in place in the case of a weather-related emergency. All of these things are great and will do wonders in keeping your guests physically out of harm’s way. However, in addition to physical safety, are you doing your part in keeping your customer’s information safe?

Like many other industries, the hospitality industry is prone to cybersecurity attacks. Hotels are targets for identity and financial theft for obvious reasons. Most business is conducted via credit or debit card and transactions can happen multiple times during a person’s stay. Credit card information may be stored in multiple locations – the front desk, emails, the central reservation system, and more.

There have been major hotel chains that have experienced devastating breaches that exposed some of their guest’s most personal information. Not only can a data breach be detrimental to your guests, but it can also severely damage your reputation, impact your bottom line and open you up to lawsuits and fees.

5 Tips to Protect Hotel Customer Data

As a hotelier, it’s your duty to keep customer’s information safe. Consider the following:

1. Be transparent

The more you communicate with hotel guests about your collection and use of their information, the more trust they will place in you. You could do this through a privacy policy page on your website or sign in your lobby.

2. Employee training

Staff should be trained on the importance of protecting guest information including the proper ways to collect and enter it into the system. All employees should be aware of your company’s privacy policy and should know what to do if a violation occurs.

3. Restrict access to sensitive information

Hotels typically have a lot of employees and the more who have access to guest’s personal information, the greater the risk. Access to computers or systems that hold confidential information should be password protected. It’s recommended that access is given only to those who absolutely need it. Oftentimes in the hotel industry, low-level employees have a high turnover rate and should not be privy to sensitive information.

4. Never sell information

Under no circumstances should you consider selling your guest’s information to a third party. Not only can this cause your customers to lose trust in you, but the information could also get in the hands of the wrong person and you could be liable.

5. Work with an MSP

From helping you choose the right system to training your employees, a managed service provider (MSP) will be directly responsible for maintaining IT security at your hotel. An MSP will constantly monitor your network in order to identify issues and will put the appropriate network, equipment, and procedures into place to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.

Take control of your hotel’s IT security with Warwick. We specialize in the hospitality industry. Contact us to get started.