image of an open padlock symbolising the ugly truth behind poor hotel data security

Imagine waking up to a nightmare scenario where your hotel’s systems have been infiltrated, and sensitive guest data has been exposed to cybercriminals, including names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and credit card numbers.

NB: This is an article from Revinate

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This chilling tale is the grim reality of poor hotel data security, and it’s one that no property manager wants to experience.

Data breaches and malware attacks typically occur through vulnerabilities in your property software or networks. Savvy hackers exploit these weaknesses to steal guest data, wreaking havoc on your operations and guest trust.

Data mismanagement by hotel employees adds another layer of risk. The hospitality industry involves lots of seasonal workers. Whether it’s mishandling guest data or falling victim to social engineering tactics that trick team members into divulging sensitive information, the human element can often be one of the weakest links in your security chain, with 84% of IT leaders stating that human error is the top cause of serious cybersecurity incidents.

Then there’s the issue of siloed data. When individual departments or properties within a portfolio each use their own data systems, it hampers your ability to maintain a unified defense. It increases the likelihood that data security protocols are inconsistent across your business, leaving gaps in your defenses that cybercriminals are all too eager to exploit.

The ripple effect of poor hotel data security

Poor hotel data security isn’t just a short-term obstacle — it’s more like a ticking time bomb with far-reaching consequences that can cripple your business in the long term.

In addition to the high costs of the breaches themselves, you also need to consider the hefty fines for noncompliance with government regulations. Violations of CCPA can result in civil penalties of up to $7,500 per violation, and non-compliance with GDPR can lead to administrative fines of €20 million or 4% of total global annual turnover for the previous financial year, whichever is larger. The financial fallout from these violations may not only drain your resources, but could destroy your business.

Hotel data security breaches can also deal a severe blow to your customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty. While your guests may be open to sharing their personal information in exchange for perks, their trust hinges on stringent security measures. And negligence in this area jeopardizes guest trust and loyalty. Studies reveal that 65% of consumers lose faith in a brand following a data breach, and a staggering 80% refuse to patronize the brand any further.

Another long-term impact of poor hotel data security is a decrease in your hotel reputation. Dissatisfied customers may post negative online reviews mentioning your poor data security. And since 8 out of 10 travelers consult consumer reviews before booking a stay at a property, those negative reviews will erode your credibility. A property known for lax data security measures shows a lack of commitment toward safeguarding guest privacy. And it may find itself at a significant disadvantage compared to competitors who prioritize data security. As a result, the property may struggle to attract and retain guests, ultimately affecting its bottom line and market position.

Read the full article at Revinate