The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) has sounded the alarm on the need for robust cybersecurity measures in the hotel industry. This call to action follows recent cyberattacks on major players like MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment.
In a bid to safeguard against malicious activities, AAHOA emphasizes the importance of proactively addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in hotels. The repercussions of lax security have already hit home for many, as seen in last year’s ransomware attack on IHG Hotels & Resorts. This breach cost individual hotel owners substantial sums, ranging from $30,000 to $75,000 each. The losses were primarily attributed to disruptions caused by missed bookings.
Notably, AAHOA is advocating for clear lines of communication, particularly to shield franchisees who often bear the brunt of revenue losses resulting from these disruptions. The association is acutely aware that many of these franchisees are small business owners who cannot easily absorb unforeseen financial setbacks, particularly as they grapple with persistent challenges like staffing shortages.
Adding to the concern, Choice Hotels International disclosed in July that guest data from its Radisson Hotels Americas chain had been compromised due to a file-transfer system hack.
AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake commented on the situation, saying, “A ramp-up of three major cyberattacks over the past year shows the hotel industry is an ongoing target for hackers. Recent reports have indicated that hackers frequently impersonate a victim company’s employee, and convince the IT help-desk or internal staff to provide them duplicate access. With the increasing sophistication shown by hackers, all franchisors and hoteliers must match and exceed their vigilance to protect sensitive information. Increased attentiveness and surveillance will protect the hotel guest experience, as well as the prestige and reputation of the hotels that the owners have worked so hard to build and maintain.”
The call for enhanced cybersecurity measures is a crucial step toward securing the hotel industry and preserving the guest experience that is so vital to the industry’s success.