Risk and Security Dissertation

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Risk & Security

Hotel security: Personal and financial data theft


The hospitality enterprises spend time and allocate resources to enhance their:


Boost sales

Customer service

Competitive operations

With the help of technological advancement, bundles of information relating to the clientele, vendors and employees can be managed. Hence, all forms of enterprises employing computers are liable to internet thefts when their accounts are breached without authorization. Restaurants and hotels are liable to fall under this attack since they have huge reserves of confidential customer information regarding their financial information, daily operations consisting of credit card payments, reservations done through internet and reward programs. Confidential data can consist of:

Personal information:

Customer names


Email addresses

Social security numbers

Financial information


Credit card

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Technology has synchronized and smoothened business, but it poses a threat itself since all the private information is at risk to unauthorized security breaches. Furthermore, most hotels and restaurants haven't upgraded their security measures either keeping in plain view the potential threat to their systems as some instances will be revealed later. With a security breach, a company may be susceptible to financial stability as well as an end to its existence, hence it's imperative to realize the gravity of the situation and act accordingly.

Problem statement

The stance of the tourism, travel and hotel industry is quite positive. But, there are certain hurdles to be solved first. One hurdle is to observe how hotel managers view the issue of safety and security via risk management procedures ensuring proper protection and safe environment.

Dissertation on Risk and Security in Assignment

Additional issue is that a hotel manager experience is that of outlining the issue of safety and security to its clientele whilst ensuring a healthy environment and maintaining hospitality all the while. This factor raises doubts and hence requires some analysis and in-depth comprehension.

Project aims

The goals of risk management process in hotels are to observe the system deployed with respect to security to ensure the safety of the clientele. It will scrutinize the distinctions and dissimilarities between them. That is attained by looking at how managers think, plan and implement and perceive about security and safety with respect to risk management keeping in perspective.

Research Question

The two prime questions to be asked here are given below:

How does risk management factor with guaranteeing safe and protected hotel operations?

How does one eliminate the hospitality vs. security / safety factor?

Literature Review

To anticipate the future is a relatively tough undertaking. Tourism and travel industry is sort of segregated and unrelated; hence it has its own challenges and uncertainties. In the domain of travel and tourism, the hotel sector has been targeted focal point of attacks since the last ten years (Israeli et. al, 2011). Terrorist attacks have taken places all over the globe for instance:

Sinai bomb blasts Hilton hotels in (2004)

Amman bomb blasts at SAD Radisson and Grand Hyatt in (2005)

Marriott hotel in Islamabad (2008)

Taj Mahal Palace hotel in (2008)

Ritz Carlton hotel in Jakarta 2009

Hence, in light of these Terrorist attacks, the hotel sector needs to take security precautions all the more (Goh & Law, 2007). The aforementioned hotels are categorized into middle class and high class hotels. Pizam (2010) contemplates the relevant question of hotels being targets of hacker attacks. He bases his hypothesis on the basis of the fact that hotels offer least resistance to cybercrimes since they least anticipate them as well as are unaware of them entirely and can't disclose to their clientele due to fear of loss of clientele. The question has been abandoned due to its sensitivity, but scholars have argued about hospitality vs. safety of the customer base. Enz and Taylor (2002) have felt that hotel owners have a huge challenge ahead of them to tackle their security lapses and to keep their clientele intact without harming the service offered. On the other hand, Gill et al. (2002) thinks that hotel industry is more interested in keeping a warm and friendly face to its clientele promising comfort, luxury and privacy.

The hotels unlike airports have to take care of the guests, it's their job to enable a homely feeling, secure, privileged and feel safe without locking the doors and take notice of people entering and exiting the vicinity. Apart from that, broad range of criminal activities is liable to take place by staff, guests and outside personnel. This creates a problem for hotel managers since their duty and obligation is to make hotel a safe and homely environment (Feickert et. al, 2006).

According to Charles Selpian, (2012) when an innkeeper or hotel manager sees a foreseeable risk he should recognize that no security plan is fool proof and he says that a prudent professional will consider these suggestions


Insurance of all the documents, location, injuries, etc.


Report all losses or injuries to risk management personnel promptly.


Prepare adequate reports of security incidents.


Keep a record of names and addresses of witnesses and emergency personnel responding to the scene.


Have an accurate record of all personnel on-duty at the time of the incident.


Note the condition of all security equipment at the time of the incident.


Anticipate and be prepared to testify to the integrity of the security program at the time of the incident.


Limit access to the scene to authorize personnel only.


Ensure that medical care, if needed, is quickly provided (Slepian, 2012).

Apart from terrorists attacks hotels have also been registered as single most breached factor for credit card theft in 2009.

During June 2010, computer hackers made their way into payment reserves of Destination Hotels & Resorts; it has high class resort hotels in places like Maui, Lake Tahoe and Vail.

A cheesecake factory in 2010 located in Washington DC had three servers which were detected having skimming devices for stealing $117,000 in electronic money charging it to customer's accounts.

During May 2010, in Arizona at a Vine Tavern and Eatery located in Tempe, complete credit card details, names, social security numbers and personal information was found in trash. Cred card receipts and bank statements were also found.

Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites own four restaurants:

Lake View Bistro

Lobby Court Bar

Bonavista Lounge

LA Prime

The restaurants along with valet parking data was hacked sometime in months of April to December in 2009 to siphon off the credit card details of customers.

During January 2010, Payless Travel and Cruises arrived on the fact that their own workforce was stealing credit cards of their customers.

Due to these real life instances, data security insurance coverage must encompass electronic data as well as physical data (Thinkrisk, 2010).

Conceptualizing Risk

The lines of risks are different as it differs according to the condition and a detailed examination of the risks and their identification in detail is certainly needed. An all-purpose categorization is needed for usage in managerial practice can be charted out with the seven sources of risk (Tschankova, 2002):

Physical surrounding

Social surrounding

Political surrounding

Operational surrounding

Economic surrounding

Legal surrounding

Cognitive surrounding

Theorizing risk is a difficult matter altogether. The spectrum of risk is broad and multifaceted. Certain risks are manmade while certain are unseen. Tschankova (2002) has observed that risk comprises of three types:



Monetary resource exposure

Risk management is tasked with investigating the risks that can cripple an organization and cause significant damage (Ibid.).

Risk identification is the first stage of risk management, according to Tchankova (2002).

Why is Risk Assessment Important for hotel Industry?

The Effective management of risk is critical to any major corporation. Hotel industry is handicapped without risk assessment as it is based on service and service is correlated to customer satisfaction and that is correlated to safety of customers and that includes assessing risk at its initial stage.

A Risk spectrum highlighting key issues related to risk in hotel operation are depicted in figure 1.

Source: Cholamandalam, (2011).

Principles and guidelines - ISO 13000:2009

A standard was published by The International Organization for Standardization which provides risk management framework (ISO, 31000:2009). The publication is basically applicable to 'all public, private and community enterprises as well as association, groups and individuals'. It has a broad outlined approach which renders its handy for many perspectives and applications. In short, the process has been drawn out in six steps.

Figure 2 depicts the principle and guidelines as a step-by-step procedure adapted from (www.iso.org )

The matter of fact is the all-encompassing concept of ISO framework is that risk management is completely embedded and engaged in application process (Fraser & Betty, 2010).Since its approach is general and all-encompassing, the managers have to work with it according to their own requirements and guidelines.

The PIER-C Approach

The process of risk management professes to assist companies in taking control of unexpected factors. Yeomans (2011) indicates that it's imperative to point as all the possible risk factors beforehand. There are two forms of risks:

Known risk

Unknown risk

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