Identification Systems: The Importance of Guest Identification Technology

Phil Benson discovers how improvements in guest identification technology are helping to fight terrorism and cyber-crime.

The hotel industry is a prime target for criminals because of the large number of people in one place. With the threat of terrorist attacks and cyber crime increasing, the need to enhance and improve guest identification has never been greater.

Hoteliers have to consider investing in the latest advancements in identification technology to ensure the safety of their guests, business and reputation.

RFID Identification Systems

One of the latest innovations to be launched in the customer security market within the hospitality industry is non-contact Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. This allows guests to access the hotel and their rooms simply by waving their room card, rather than having to insert it into a lock.

Radio Frequency Identification is currently at the forefront of hotel security throughout the world and in the UK and has helped to increase customer satisfaction, whilst improving the delivery of many hotel services.

The RFID cards can also be extended to lift-systems with cards encoded to allow guest’s access to only the floors that they are entitled. This means that visitors can be rest assured that from the front door to their rooms, their safety is of the utmost concern, which will only enhance the customer experience.

This non-contact hotel security technology has room for continual improvement and advancements, also allowing guests to check into rooms via their mobile devices rather than through the front desk.

Evolving Risks

Although this is a great innovation, identifying hotel guests in the first place is no longer a simple procedure. Now the hospitality industry is faced with cyber crime and credit card fraud as hackers target hotels and resorts in increasing numbers with more organised and sophisticated means of doing so. There could be relatively unprotected sources of thousands or even millions of credit card accounts and personal details that cyber criminals can try to access.

One security expert warned that rather than searching through many industries for vulnerable targets, hackers are increasingly targeting specific sectors whose systems they believe are susceptible and lucrative. There have been cases where cyber criminals have been able to siphon credit card information from hotel databases without being detected for months.

So how can hotels adapt to evolving security threats other than investing heavily in security and identification measures?

  • Hoteliers need to ensure that they have a robust threat assessment procedure in position and ensure that a crisis plan is prepared and rehearsed. Security operations need to be agile to respond or expand to meet the required needs if new threats emerge.
  • When enforcing security checks or CCTV, be sensitive, as the guests still need to feel as sense of relaxation as well as safety.
  • Ensure all current staff is trained to identify, inform and respond to any suspicious activity or any crisis that a hotel could face.
  • Hotel staff should remain visible. This gives guests peace of mind and is a key way to deter any criminal activity.
  • Where possible, incorporate security features into the guest experience but do not let a security operation intrude on the customers stay.
  • Outsource specialist tasks like outdoor patrols and vehicle checks to trained third-party security providers. However, ensure they are trained in guest interaction by the hotel so they adhere to your standards.

By Phil Benson

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