Pandemic Hotel Business Recovery - "Go Local"

marketing Oct 14, 2020

An interesting article appeared online recently (you can read it here) about how a Marriott executive views what is needed if hotels are to recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic.

In the article the chap from Marriott talks about a few things which should really matter to you if you're serious about rebuilding your hotel business.  Let's face it, who isn't?

Go Local - Be a "Drive-To" Destination

The importance of domestic tourism is highlighted.  With "drive-to" destinations being a critical marketing consideration.  "Identify local trends and adapt" seems to matter to Marriott in this sense.

We can forgive his use of the term, "hyperlocal strategies" (no, I don't know what this means either...) because he goes on to talk about the same things we like to talk about at hotelDPO.

He says his hotels are going to be, "Mitigating uncertaintainties by relying on data."

Knowing The Value Of Data

Now don't forget, this is the same Marriott which allowed an ongoing...

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What Do Military Tanks Have To Do With Protecting Personal Data?

personal data Aug 31, 2020

The way that the military goes about protecting our society came under sharp focus last week when the British Army announced a review.  This involves the future of main battle tanks and may involve them being either mothballed or scrapped.

Not something you would immediately associate with personal data protection and privacy I grant you.

Until you read what the head of the Army, General Sir Mark Carlton Smith, had to say on the matter.

In a recent speech he suggested the usefulness of the tank was diminishing in modern warfare.  This is what he said,

"The main threat is less missiles and tanks.  It's the weaponisation of those elements of globalisation that hitherto made us prosperous and secure, such as mobility of goods, people, data and ideas."

Look at that!  He said DATA!

More than that!  He said THE MOBILITY OF DATA!

Part of the reason for scrapping the older warfare capabilities is the need to invest in new capabilities.  One of which is...

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The Gathering Storm of a Data Breach Group Action

data breach Aug 29, 2020

There's a storm on the horizon.

It is headed in the direction of Marriott International (a hotel chain).

For those of you who know me, you may already be familiar with my stories about hotel owners and managers who look anywhere but directly at me and say,

"GDPR?  We'll do it when they make us."

...and then shrug their shoulders.  Which was usually my cue to leave the room.

If you are waiting on the ICO to take action and string up... sorry I mean, "censure" a hotel business for a breach of the Data Protection Act you might be waiting a while.  They have a lot on their plate at the moment and the wheels of regulation can sometimes move slower than we might expect.

Private individuals who have had their privacy breached on the other hand, move an awful lot faster.  Combine a group of them with one motivated individual to provide leadership, some decent legal advice and a bit of funding and hey presto!

You have a group action filed in court.

One such action was...

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It’s clever, but is it consent?

marketing Aug 16, 2020


Do you intend to contact prospective customers by email, by text message or by telephone?

Then you will usually need their consent before you do it.  The management of consent, together with understanding when you need it and when you don’t, is of critical importance for direct marketers.  For hoteliers, direct marketing is your alternative to abdicating your marketing to an online travel agent and paying them more in commission for selling your rooms than you’ll earn from operating them.  Direct marketing means attracting customers you can call your own.

Who Owns What?

If you’re going to attract them using electronic methods, it is likely you will need their consent to use their email address or phone number.  These things are considered personal data and it is your prospective customer who decides how they will be used.  Not you.  All you can do is ask for permission to borrow their personal data for a while.

Look around a...

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Another Marriot Data Breach – Know This!

data breach Aug 16, 2020

Another breach of personal data held by Marriott Hotels is in the news this week.  There is one lesson we can all learn.

The Lesson

As soon as you collect personal data, you expose both the data and your business to the risk of a breach.

It is that simple.

When a world leading hotel chain such as Marriott has a personal data breach it can affect thousands of data subjects.  In this case it was millions.  Still, this one is less widespread than their last reported data breach which exposed personal data belonging to  hundreds of millions of customers.

This latest breach doesn’t represent an improvement.  Just because it’s smaller doesn’t make it better.  It is a different type of breach for a start and this time Marriott have been a lot more proactive in identifying and tackling the problem.  Yet what it does is illustrate to the rest of us, one of the fundamental problems with processing personal data:

It is always at risk –...

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Privacy for Personal Data – What Did The Regulations Ever Do For Us?

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2020

Protection and privacy for personal data.  What did the regulations ever do for us?  These words are in the heads, if not actually on the lips, of many business owners and managers.  It’s time for the Monty Python approach…

Today I’m taking my inspiration from Monty Python’s classic film, “Life of Brian”.  Set in Galilee two thousand years ago during the Roman occupation, one scene features local political activists bemoaning their lives and the state of their beloved country under their oppressors.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?”

Their discussion carries on to reveal that the Romans had actually brought roads, law and order, the aquaduct and many other benefits.  However the locals are still nonplussed.  Apart from roads, law and order, the aquaduct, etc, etc, it turned out the Romans had done nothing for them.  Still, I suppose when you’re living with an army of occupation it’s...

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Are You Ignoring Data Privacy For The Wrong Reasons?

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2020

It is NOT about the fines.  If you are ignoring personal data privacy because nobody else seems to be getting fined, you’re looking in the wrong direction.  The real threats are right in front of you.

"The Regulators Couldn’t Hit A Barn Door With A Banjo!"

Every time a lazy journalist talks about GDPR (or the Data Protection Act in the UK), they talk about “those fines”.

There are articles going around online this week bemoaning the fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK doesn’t appear to be able to make the fines stick.  Those high profile cases involving British Airways and Marriott Hotels appear to involve little more than a slap on the wrist from the regulator.

Both organisations are using the full extent of the appeals procedure to minimise the true cost of the fines.  You would be forgiven for thinking that if the ICO can’t hit barn doors as large as those involved in the BA and Marriott data...

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The Outsourcer's Dilemma

outsource privacy Aug 16, 2020

Why would you want to outsource part of your organisation?

You know what you're good at.  If you're a hotelier, you're good at running hotels.  You might be less good at other things, which is why you make use of the services offered to you by accountants, lawyers, specialist cleaners, plumbers, electricians, Information Technologists, website builders, copywriters, photographers and so on.

Photography, for example, is an interesting one.  I am a keen amateur photographer.  Keen, but ultimately disappointing.

My wife is a trained professional photographer.  We can be standing in the same place and take photographs of the same scene in front of us at the same time but the images she shoots are always better than mine.  Her framing is better and she captures the essence of every scene more effectively than I do.  It happens every time.

She has forgotten more than I will ever know about photography.  It comes naturally to her (through no shortage...

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