“There’s no reason anyone should book outside the block, and if you do, we cannot be responsible. When we see 30 rooms held with no name, immediately there’s a red flag. Yes, sometimes organizations do that, as they need the rooms, but a red flag goes up nonetheless,” Dominguez added.
Meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition business is under attack by pirates.
To be more specific, event room blocks are increasingly feeling the effects of room block piracy, in which third parties—sometimes thieves out to steal credit card information and sometimes more legitimate sources—effectively funnel attendees away from official host hotels.
The practice results in host hotels having no record of these attendees’ reservations; attendees themselves thinking they made the booking through a legitimate source, and meeting and event planners often having to pay attrition fees for not fulfilling room-block agreements with host hotels.
Suffering are the attendee, who loses money to the pirate; the hotel, which might have replaced “non-bookings” with less-valuable business, and the event planner and event itself, which run the risk of ruined reputations.
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While hoteliers can take strong steps to reduce employee theft, eliminating it entirely is likely an impossibility. The best loss prevention involves good procedures for hiring, training and supervision of employees. And by following a few best practices, employers can limit the potential liability for claims related to employee theft situations and diminish the potential for the insult of an expensive lawsuit on top of the injury of employee theft.
The problem of employee theft in hotels is an age-old problem. Businesses lose billion of dollars each year in employee theft. And hotels, by nature, present numerous opportunities for employee theft from guests and the house. Theft in a hotel can take many forms – from identity theft to credit card fraud to theft of merchandise and guest property. No employer hires an employee thinking that the employee is someday going to steal. Hotels need to take steps to prevent theft and be cautious in taking action against an employee after a suspected theft. Both have practice and legal implications.
Prevention in All Forms
Take a thorough look at your hotel’s security measures and processes. Ensure that your guest room locking systems and room safes meet general industry standards. Review, implement or update employee policies related to 1) package passes to control removal of property from the hotel, 2) lost and found procedures, which should be strictly enforced and 3) guest room access by employees. Consider an audit by a security expert to review your security procedures and protocols – in action.
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One of those is the fact that the measure as approved by the panel Monday has no enforcement mechanism and no penalties for those hotels that ignore the law. Hobbs said she is counting on key changes when the measure goes to the full Senate. And Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said he wants something in the legislation to ensure there are regular checks made of employees, not just at the time they are hired.
Told of the rapes of two guests in separate incidents in Mesa, members of a Senate panel voted Monday to require hotels to see if those who have access to room keys are sex offenders.
SB 1432 spells out that owners or managers have to use one of two available Internet websites before hiring anyone who can get into a guest’s room. If the employee shows up on either one, the hotel is barred from providing keys, keycards or any other method of getting into a room.
The vote followed testimony of attorneys who represent two women who were attacked in two separate incidents at two separate hotels — both reportedly by the same man.
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Also of concern to hotels is the Dark Horse Virus, Shortz said. This virus is meant to capture sensitive data business travelers might have on their devices. She said it presents itself as a system update when a user logs onto a hotel’s Wi-Fi network and is prompted to type in their name and room number…Data hacks will continue to happen in the hotel industry, the presenters said. During an interview with Hotel News Now following the session, Garfinkel said it’s not a matter of if a hotel company is hacked, but when.
Lara Shortz surveyed the crowd Tuesday at the Hospitality Law Conference and asked attendees to raise their hands if they’ve been involved in a data breach.
“If you haven’t raised your hand, you should,” Shortz, an attorney at Michelman & Robinson, said during a session titled “Anatomy of a hospitality data breach.”
The session was especially timely given reports that White Lodging was again targeted by data haxkers. In 2014, malware was found in the food-and-beverage outlets of 14 of its hotels a year ago.
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Developers with sustainability goals can use the LEED credit list and become certified, but Beckman says those things aren’t always sensible. He sees a bigger payoff in selecting sites that are polluted and need fixing. “Now, you’re taking care of a site that has had some industry on it and has left some residue behind that needs to be cleaned up,” he says. “So you’re doing something positive for the urban environment, for the city, and for yourself.”
As the U.S. economy continues to strengthen, the architecture and design industry is gaining momentum. Gordon Beckman, principal and design director at John Portman & Associates, an architectural and engineering firm with more than 60 years of expertise in designing hotels and other buildings, discusses opportunities and trends in hotel design.
All About Authenticity
Hotels across the country are focused on providing locally relevant and authentic experiences. As a result, lobbies have evolved into active social hubs with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafés, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. “The more interactive things you have, the better—whatever you can do to connect people and make it less of a hotel and more of a place,” Beckman says. By incorporating flexible design elements, hotels can more quickly adapt to consumers’ changing tastes and preferences. “There’s a certain flexibility that gets built in to allow for change, because more and more people see hotels as an evolution of place rather than a static brand.”
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Marriott International’s Renaissance Hotels has adopted a hybrid approach that combines technology and personal service: a global hospitality program called “Navigator” that provides guests with resources allowing them to be “in the know” and to discover a destination’s hidden gems
The role of the hotel concierge might never disappear entirely, but advancements in technology (and changing attitudes from the guests who use it) are supplanting the need for human contact in many hotels around the world.
“The current role of the concierge is to provide information and services to guests,” said Kevin Murphy, chairman of the Hospitality Services Department at Rosen College of Hospitality Management in Orlando, Florida. “Their role will never diminish, but it’s going to be a much more specialized type of service that they’re providing.”
According to Les Clefs d’Or, an organization for professional hotel lobby concierges, there are 595 concierges wearing the group’s crossed gold keys insignia in the United States, a 14% increase since 2009.
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