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A groundbreaking new report by the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. explores sustainability in the hospitality industry and examines ways in which hotels are incorporating eco-friendly best practices into both operations and construction. The study includes insights from leading hotel owners, developers and investors.

Every hotel owner wants to know how he can increase the traffic to the website, and at the same time, boost direct bookings. The key to accomplish both the objectives is to design a site that is accessible even to disabled people. It will not only improve the usability for all types of visitors, but it will also improve your market penetration. Designing ADA website is also very imperative to prevent legitimate complications. In addition to this, an ADA feature will aid in improving the website performance in search engines.

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. 



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The Equifax Breach: Takeaways for Hospitality Companies

10/17/2017


No single company buys enough insurance limits to have such a major impact that the prices go up or capacity falls away immediately following an event. A systemic loss, like one that impacts the power grid or halts the financial sector from trading for a few days, would be an entirely different (and scary) story. But this breach is still stacking up to be different from other recent mega breaches, and should serve as a wakeup call to those organizations that still think this isn’t going to happen to them, or that this is an IT risk and therefore not an issue for us non-IT folks to worry about. McGriff recently published a white paper about the specifics of the insurance response and the importance of preparation, business continuity planning.
 
This could lead to a new path for plaintiffs to the directors and officers (D&O) insurance. More than 90 law suits were filed in the first two weeks (some of them for the stock drop, but most of them for privacy-related damages and expenses which would include negligence, breach of contract, etc.). Until now, there have been cases against companies and their directors and officers brought by shareholders following a breach (tag-along suits) but none of them has prevailed (as far as I’m aware) given that the business judgement rule has generally provided a solid defense. In this case, it may appear that the directors and officers did not do what prudent people in their position would do, given the kind of information they hold, and the fact that senior management was allowed to sell shares of company stock after the breach was discovered internally but before it was made public. Time will tell, but we could be looking at a limits loss on the E&O/information security insurance tower and on the D&O tower. D&O underwriters have already started to ask more and tougher questions of their buyers around their risk management and readiness to handle the backlash of a major breach. 
 
This loss, coupled with recent natural catastrophes affecting the overall reinsurance market (insurance behind the insurers) may force a move back toward more rigorous underwriting. In the past two years, the insurance markets that write the E&O/cyber for companies like Equifax have become increasingly lax regarding the security/underwriting requirements they place on these companies due to competitive market pressure brought on by increased capacity (more capacity/supply = lower cost and better coverage). For hoteliers this means underwriting beyond a questionnaire about IT security and business continuity plans (more than just –do you have one?) and looking past “compliance” around the acceptance of credit cards. Another thing that most certainly will change is how much scrutiny there is on third-party service providers that hold, process or aggregate data and/or provide critical services, such as cloud providers or other third parties that handle reservations on your behalf. What kind of coverage is in your policy now for a breach caused by such third parties (on the liability side and on the first party side), and what do your contracts with those vendors say? Absent the insurance, vendors should be accountable for your costs that result from a breach, but generally they do not fully accept that risk, which is a major issue (and one that could be the subject of an article on its own).
 
Something else to consider: does your company want to manage the customer message and control the response if there is a major issue, or do you want to lay that off to the at-fault third party? Hint: you may want to handle the response internally, hire the forensics, legal and PR help you need, and then worry about subrogation/expense recovery later because your vendors are never going to care as much about your brand as you do. Whatever you decide is right for your company, make sure both your vendor contracts and your insurance track with that decision. Do you have your breach response providers vetted, under contract (retainer maybe?) and approved by the insurance carriers already? The whole issue surrounding who handles what following a breach becomes more complicated when you own, but do not manage your properties (or the other way around). Even more complex, if you have a franchise model where the franchisees are intended to be kept at arms’ length, yet the franchisor chooses to direct or control franchisee information security in order to better protect their brand. Even though each franchisee may have its own MSA with the card brands, there may be a very blurred line around who takes on what risk and responsibility unless it is explicitly agreed upon up front.
 
The insurance markets have become more willing to give control of the breach response to the insured in recent months, and they have more heavily relied on compliance with various information security standards such as PCI DSS as a means of underwriting. However, my suspicion is that markets will start to swing back the other way. Having a broker and outside privacy counsel that are specialists in this market is paramount to getting the best results for your company in what is sure to be a volatile several months.
About The Author
Mary Guzman
Director, E&O and InfoSec Strategy and Sales
McGriff, Seibels & Williams
Financial Services Division


Mary Guzman is the director, E&O and InfoSec Strategy and Sales with McGriff, Seibels & Williams – Financial Services Division. She was also a speaker at the 2017 CIO Summit where she discussed cybersecurity considerations. Mary can be reached at MGuzman@McGriff.com.

 
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