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We hear about data breaches all the time, and we see the reactions by offending companies as they try to provide what may appear to be “politically-drafted” apologies to the thousands of victims they have potentially harmed.
But what about on the long run? How does a company repair the broken trust, confidence and loyalty of their consumers?
For a hotel, the recovery can be even more painful: as we’ll see in the example of the Hyatt Hotel breaches.
Editor for HotelManagement.Net, Esther Hertzfield, explains that the hotel–guest relationship is a delicate one. Hotel guests are intimately connected to the hotel brand that demands a proper response when something like a breach occurs. CEO of North 6th Agency, Matt Rizzetta, notes that, “while other industries can get away with a pre-packaged statement, the hotel industry cannot.”
Hyatt Hotel Corporation recently revealed their second data breach in two years. It’s first one in the fourth quarter of 2015 reportedly hit 250 of its hotels in 50 countries, including five here in the U.K. A second breach, even though smaller, can be much more devastating as consumers may be able to forgive one mistake but letting a second mistake happen can tell some people that the organisation hasn’t learnt their lesson and didn’t take the first breach seriously.
Data breaches are not just a wake-up call; it’s often a slap in the face that prompts real change. Consumers expect companies who suffer data breaches to take action. A hotel who has just experienced a hotel data breach should surely be setting their damage-control plans into immediate motion. Things like: disclose the breach to authorities to start investigations; disclose the breach to affected consumers so they know what’s going on and allow them to take steps to start protecting themselves; and sort the breach and plug the vulnerabilities.
In suffering a second data breach, Hyatt might as well be theoretically telling consumers that they don’t care about their rights to data security.
Rizzetta explains that Hyatt are in dangerous waters and need to give specifics on what they’re doing differently this time to regain their customers’ trust. That includes changes to the “data systems and security providers” they’re reportedly working with, and to share “very specific steps they are undertaking to make sure this never happens again.”
As seen with the InterContinental Hotel Group, hotels have had their fair share of data breaches. Criminal hackers are known to target hotel’s payment systems for credit card details belonging to hotel guests from all over the globe, and travelling businesspersons who may not keep a close eye on their charges are an easy target. Hotels need to recognise this target and constantly upgrade their systems to make sure they’re in top form to repel data breaches.
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