Although all industries have felt the strain from COVID-19, the hotel sector has been particularly hard hit. As hotels move to bring occupancy rates up, they should use this time to examine another pressing problem: protecting customer data, which has been an issue in the industry for years.
Two years ago, in its “Hotels Outlook Report 2018-2022,” PWC found that hotels are a favorite target for hackers, with the hospitality industry having the second-highest breach numbers after the retail sector. The same report found that 74% of hotels lacked breach protection. Hotels are attractive to hackers because they capture personal and financial information and have a large number of data touchpoints, each of which can leave information vulnerable. The list of those affected reads like a “who’s who” of global brands. In 2018, hackers attempted to access Marriott International’s Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide guest reservation database. In the same year, the Radisson Hotel Group identified a breach affecting Radisson Rewards members. These breaches can also be costly, with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fining Marriott $23.8 million for the Starwood breach.