As of this month, Priceline’s Booking.com has implemented rather drastic changes in the way hotel guest data is handled. Booking.com has made guest email addresses anonymous and therewith unavailable to Hotels. This is, according to the Online Travel Agent, to provide an extra level of security for both hotels and guests. As stated in an email, sent to their customers, Booking.com sees the biggest current challenge in protecting the personal data of individuals and companies from the evolving threat through cyber attacks, and that it would be essential to take actions now to find appropriate solutions, both for hotels and their customers.
What are the implications for the hotels?
Hotels can continue communicating with their guest, through the booking.com Extranet. The difference is that their identity, as well as the identity of their guests, will be hidden. The bottom line is simple: Booking.com takes the ownership of guest data away from the hotels, strengthens their Extranet as “the most secure environment” for hotels “to communicate directly with guests”, and creates even further dependencies.
While nobody will deny that it is important to increase online security, there is also no doubt that owning guest data is of fundamental value for hotels, and that giving up ownership will require additional efforts from the hotels to make sure they capture their guests data.
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