Tech Talk

Recent posts

The underappreciated city of Minneapolis served as host for the 2019 edition of HITEC (produced by HFTP) which wrapped up its most recent four-day run on June 20, 2019. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, meeting solicitations and party invites filled my inbox at a growth rate any VC or entrepreneur would envy. As a first-timer to this international hospitality technology behemoth, it became apparent that HITEC actually begins a few weeks prior to when that first request or invitation lands in your over-stuffed inbox.

Time is limited. Once it’s gone, you can’t gain it back. Similarly, once a room goes unsold for a night, it will go unsold forever. There’s no way to recover that loss, because there’s no way to go back in time.
 
Many hotels fight this limitation by trying to sell as many rooms as possible. If all the rooms are completely booked, time no longer becomes a factor. But most don’t have the luxury of being at-capacity every single night. That’s why last-minute booking apps are growing in popularity in the industry, where hotels can make the most of each day. These apps specifically target guests who don’t plan far in advance, seeking accommodations from one week to one minute later.
 
There are several different ways your hotel can benefit from using last-minute booking apps in your business strategy.

IoT is Coming, Jon Snow…
Posted: 05/21/2019

Hospitality is prime for the coming advent of the various devices that make up the Internet of Things. Estimates show the industry now represents 17.5 million rooms worldwide and savvy guests are demanding more personalization and an overall improved guest experience along their connected travel journey and belief is that IoT can bring this to reality. 

The forces driving local search rankings are constantly changing. But recent studies suggest that in 2019, four key factors make up the local search algorithm. 
 
The most significant factor is Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not on it, get on it now.

The robotic revolution in the hospitality industry might seem to have taken a step back. This January, the famously quirky Henn-Na Hotel in Japan fired half of its 243 robot staff. The robotic workforce reportedly irritated guests and frequently broke down.



want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.

x
 

LifeLock, Ashley Madison and Wyndham – Court Rejecting Wyndham’s Challenge is Bigger than One Case

08/26/2015

Those following the FTC Wyndham case just heard that the federal court rejected Wyndham’s challenge of the FTC’s authority to enforce data security as an unfair trade practice. In its original lawsuit, the FTC accused Wyndham of a long litany of privacy fails, from storing unencrypted credit card information to lacking firewalls to using easily-guessed passwords.

The far reaching implications of this recent decision are widespread. The basis for this suit is that consumers felt safe doing business with Wyndham based in part on a promise made that their data was safe. FTC also went after LifeLock for the same reason. The FTC charged that LifeLock’s data was not encrypted, and sensitive consumer information was viewable to more employees than only those on a “need to know basis.” In fact, the agency charged, LifeLock’s data system was vulnerable and could have been exploited by those seeking access to customer information” basis. LifeLock lost that case.

Since the mid-1990s, the FTC has been enforcing Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, in instances involving privacy and data security. Section 5 prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” During the past 15-20 years, the FTC has brought about 180 enforcement actions, the vast majority of which have settled.  The  key to the FTC’s argument is clear: Deception and unfairness are valid bases for FTC enforcement. Wyndham was one of the exceptions; instead of settling, it challenged the FTC’s authority to enforce to protect data security as an unfair trade practice.

To better grasp unfair trade practice think about the way the recent hackers of Ashley Madison justified their actions. Supposedly the motivation for the Ashley Madison Hack is to punish the company for promising subscribers that they were not vulnerable (as did LifeLock) and accepting money to wipe out their data even though the data was never wiped out. Whether you agree with the right to privacy of users of that site or the hacker’s activist datadump, the reality is a company made (lots of) money based on a promise that was knowingly not able to be kept and thus, it seen as deceiving their subscriber base into a false sense of security.

With Wyndam, they were breached three different times… The FTC viewed that the company had not taken the steps that are considered standard and reasonable to protect the data.

Why this and the 7th circuit’s recent decision about Neiman Marcus dovetail nicely is that actual injury should the data get in the wrong hands no longer has to happen for someone to have been victimized. I want to reiterate one great line the ruling: “And the FTC Act expressly contemplates the possibility that conduct can be unfair before actual injury occurs.” This line is key, as “actual injury” (or harm) is often a basis for many courts to dismiss privacy and data security cases.  The court makes clear here that “substantial injury” for FTC Act unfairness does not require actual injury. The FTC Act protects consumers against reasonably foreseeable harms when a company’s conduct facilitates these harms — even when a company’s conduct might not be “the most proximate cause of an injury.”

The takeaway? The assurances given to consumers about how you protect their information are subject to scrutinization by the law and compared to the ways you actually protect the data and whether you are going above and beyond the minimums ‘required’ by industry standards such as PCI DSS. If the government feels consumers have been ‘misled’ and as we can see in cases like LifeLock and Ashley Madison, they have, the FTC will be all over you like white on rice.

About The Author
Marion Roger
VP Business Development
Hospitality E Resources


Marion Roger, vice president of Hospitality E Resources (HER Consulting), is a specialist in the hospitality supply chain landscape who is currently leading an industry initiative to support guest data security and has developed a hotel-focused training curriculum on PII protection. With a speciality focus on electronic reservation systems, payment technology protection and data security, Marion is a regular on the speaker circuit and contributor to Hospitality Upgrade on these key topics.

 
Comments
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment



 Security code