Monthly Archives: September 2011

P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Food Poisoning Claims” Discussed By Todd Seiders, Director Of Risk Management For Petra Risk Solutions (Video)

Petra Risk Solutions’ Director of Risk Management, Todd Seiders, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘Food Poisoning Claims’.

P3 ( Petra Plus Process) is the Risk Management Division of Petra Risk Solutions – America ’s largest independent insurance brokerage devoted exclusively to the hospitality marketplace.

For more information on Petra and P3 visit or call 800.466.8951.

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Filed under Food Illnesses, Guest Issues, Health, Insurance, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hospitality Industry Information Security: Major Hotels Move Closer To “Secure Payments Framework” That Will Protect Guest Credit Card Data Through “Tokenization”

 “Every major hotel company is working to get as many of their systems as possible out of the scope of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS)…Most of these companies have focused on solutions based on tokenization, and many have implemented them or are in the process of doing so.”

Tokenization is a process whereby sensitive card data is stored in a single secure location, which may be operated by a hotel brand, a payment gateway or another third party, and replaced in hotel systems by substitute “tokens.”  The tokens can be used to complete the transaction, but are useless if intercepted electronically by a thief. 

Top hotel security executives met several times to discuss this problem as the HTNG Secure Payments Framework effort took shape during August and early September.  Early discussions indicated a broad agreement that a single industry framework is needed, and that the framework needs to work with existing security approaches in place at major hotel companies and in commonly used systems.  There was also agreement on the key elements needed for the industry framework.  The group intends to document this framework conceptually in a white paper that will form the basis for subsequent standards development.

  This new effort will leverage hotel companies’ prior investment in tokenization efforts, adding a layer of security that will enable those solutions to be extended to unrelated parties that may be involved in transactions, such as online travel agencies, global distribution systems, switches, channel management systems, central reservation systems, management companies, independent hotels, payment gateways, swipe devices, and other parties.  “The approach is intended to enable the tokenization of card data by the first system that touches the reservation,” said Rice.  “The sensitive data will remain stored in a secure vault, and all of the other systems will simply pass along the token in place of the credit card.  The hotel itself can then submit the token to its token provider or gateway to complete the card transaction.  The card data itself need never touch a hotel system.”

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Hospitality Industry Employee Risks: Rising Health Insurance Premiums Force Hotel Management To Consider Shifting Costs Or Raise Deductibles

“…Employers are often forced to shift some of the cost to their employees in an effort to offset the increasing outlay. Organizations increased the employee portion of the premium at a rate of 54.3 percent, whereas 42 percent have increased deductible levels….”

 The 2011 Compensation Data Hospitality survey results show companies reported an average premium increase of 9.3 percent. More than 45 percent of respondents indicated they pay more than $9,600 annually for an employee plus family plan.

“The rising cost of insurance premiums is something that continues to be an issue for employers,” says Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading pay and benefits survey data provider. “To counteract these rising costs, organizations have to look in different directions in order to continue providing quality coverage for their employees.”

Premium costs remain high for hospitality employers, as 47.9 percent pay more than $7,200 for an employee-plus-spouse plan. Of survey respondents, 42 percent report paying more than $7,200 in premium costs for an employee-plus-children plan. Employee-only plans cost employers between $2,400 and $7,200 per year.

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Hospitality Industry Guest Health Risks: Illinois Hotel Sued Six Months After Guests Discovered Bed Bugs In Room

A hotel employee again offered the couple a new room, the lawsuit said, but they declined. After they returned home, they said Gonzales noticed bite marks on Layman’s shoulder. She said a doctor confirmed she was bitten by bed bugs, and the couple’s suit said a Hollywood Casino manager acknowledged the pests were bed bugs.

“..they pulled down the covers and discovered red bugs running on the sheets. Layman said she videotaped the bugs with her cell phone…”


A Blue Island couple is suing the Hollywood Casino Joliet and its hotel, saying they found bed bugs in their room more than six months ago. Tamara Layman and Leo Gonzales filed the lawsuit in Will County this month. Layman said she first tried asking a manager there to simply reimburse her for doctor visits, lost property and a ruined weekend. But she said she’s had no success.

The lawsuit said Layman and Gonzales checked into the casino’s hotel March 5, left their luggage in their room and went to the casino. They returned a few hours later and went to sleep. But Layman said she woke up at 1:30 a.m. and noticed a bug on a pillow.

Gonzales killed the bug, and Layman carried it in a tissue to the hotel’s front desk, where an employee offered to give them another room.

Layman and Gonzales said they threw out most, if not all, of what they brought to the casino including luggage. They also said it took 17 days for the hotel to send an exterminator to their home for an inspection.

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Filed under Claims, Guest Issues, Health, Insurance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hospitality Industry Fire Risks: Older California Hotel Suffers “Severe Fire Damage” Due To Lack Of “Fire Stops” In Walls

“…Damage to the 15,000 square-foot hotel and 4,000 square-foot bar was so severe that no one was allowed in the buildings due to the possibility of a collapse. An engineer was called to come out and assess the building’s structural integrity….”

Fire ripped through the Traveler’s Hotel and The Knockout Bar at the 200 Block of C Street early Saturday morning.

According to CAL FIRE spokesperson Bob Eicholtz, one reason that aided in the fire spreading was that the buildings were old and there were no fire stops in the walls.

CAL FIRE dispatched five engines, three ladder trucks and approximately 35 firefighters to battle the fire.

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Hospitality Industry Marketing Risks: Hotels Are Increasingly Reacting To “Negative” Postings On Social Media Sites As Guests Go “Online” Rather Than To Management

Social media has empowered consumers, forcing companies to be more transparent and responsive. That’s a good thing. But hotels have always been responsive, if not transparent. Lodging a complaint is as simple as marching up to the front desk.

So why is it that some guests, upon encountering an issue, log on to Twitter or Facebook and bring it to the attention of their entire social graph instead of to the one person who can fix it the problem: the manager?

  • Monitor review sites and social networks closely. Even if you aren’t active on them many of your guests likely are.
  • Respond quickly to all feedback, positive or negative.
  • If comments are negative, attempt to take it offline.
  • When responding to negative reviews and commentary, always thank, apologize, explain, invite back and follow-up. No excuses, and no bribes.
  • If guests are still on property, don’t let them leave until you’ve won them over. Convert twerrorists into twadvocates, so to speak.
  • If comments are offensive, abusive or repetitive, you have the option of ignoring them. Tweets have the shelf life of tuna sushi in the desert sun; Facebook wall posts can be deleted. Sanitize, but don’t censor.
  • A social media policy and guidelines will help minimize risks and prepare you to act swiftly to minimize fallout.
  • The more helpful and engaged employees are with guests the more likely guests will be to bring issues to their attention before logging on to Facebook.

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Hotel Pool Guests Face Outbreaks Of “Acute Gastrointestinal Illness” As “Cryptosporidium” Parasite Proves Chlorine Resistant

Outbreaks of illness related to recreational water exposure have increased substantially in recent years, largely because of the emergence of Cryptosporidium, according to a CDC report.

In the years 2007/2008, 74% of cases of acute gastrointestinal illness associated with recreational water exposure were caused by this parasite, and in all but two of the outbreaks the venue was a treated-water facility such as a chlorinated swimming pool.

The dominance of Cryptosporidium in treated recreational water facilities “is related to its chlorine tolerance, which allows it to survive in properly chlorinated recreational water for longer than ten days,” the agency stated in the Sept. 23 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Hospitality Industry Employee Risks: Government Regulators To Enforce “Wage-And-Hour Laws” Regarding Minimum Wage And Overtime Pay; Multiple Fines To Hotel Owners Found Guilty Of “Wage Theft”

 “…Labor officials will target businesses that improperly label workers as independent contractors or as non-employees to deprive workers of minimum wage and overtime pay. Misclassifying workers also lets companies avoid paying workers compensation, unemployment insurance and federal taxes..”

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has made increased enforcement of federal wage-and-hour laws a top priority since she took office in 2009. The department has focused on industries where so-called “wage theft” is considered a problem, including the hotel, restaurant, janitorial, health care and day care industries.

Patricia Smith, the Labor Department’s top lawyer, said sharing information between state and federal agencies could subject businesses to multiple fines.

“There’s more of an incentive to be in compliance because the cost of what we consider to be illegal activity has increased,” Smith said in an interview.

In the past, Smith said, a company might pay a single fine to a state agency for not making proper unemployment insurance payments. Under the new agreements, a state can share the information with the Labor Department, which also can seek fines and penalties for federal wage violations.

The violation also would be reported to the IRS, which can go after the company for unpaid taxes, Smith said.

States that have agreed to work with the Labor Department so far include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Utah and Washington. Labor officials from New York and Illinois plan to sign up in the near future.

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Hospitality Industry Theft Risks: Washington Hotel Housekeeper Arrested For “Stealing iPad” From Guest Room; Global Positioning System (GPS) On Device Tracks Down Suspect

“…The guest noticed his iPad missing from his room Sept. 9, and there was no forced entry… the man used a GPS that had been installed on the device as an anti-theft measure to trace the iPad to Zavala’s apartment complex…”

Olympia detectives arrested a housekeeper at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia on Friday after a hotel guest tracked a global positioning system on his missing iPad to the housekeeper’s apartment, police said

The man contacted police, and detectives went to Zavila’s apartment. She admitted to taking the iPad.

Detectives executed a search warrant at the apartment and found the iPad. They also found a laptop, jewelry and other items that might have been stolen.

Hotel General Manager Jay Johnson said Zavala has been suspended pending the outcome of her case. He added that hotel officials believe the theft is an isolated incident.

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Filed under Crime, Guest Issues, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Theft

Hospitality Industry Guest Security Risks: Hotels Must “Reset Factory Codes” On Hotel Safes To Prevent Unauthorized Opening Using “000000”

“…Being able to unlock a hotel safe by entering in all zeros, he said, is pure ‘negligence on the hotel’s part’…. every safe has a factory code, whether it is all zeros or all ones, and it is each hotel’s responsibility to reset this factory code when they take the safe out of the box…”

The hotel safe you use to stash your passport, laptop and other valuables might have a major security flaw, according to a traveler’s video highlighted by Web tracker

In his video headlined, “Don’t Trust Your Hotel Room Safe,” traveler “skyrangerpro” shows himself unlocking his hotel room’s safe by entering all zeros.

He was given the “000000” security code by the front desk when he told them he’d forgotten the password he’d previously chosen.

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