Accor meeting luxury millennial needs is a positive move
Guests provide a wealth of sensitive guest to hotels making them an enticing target for cybercriminals. Recent high-profile data breaches have showcased just how ever the biggest names in the industry are not immune to hacking, but what are hoteliers doing to ensure that guest information is as secure as possible? And what further action can be taken? Alex Love finds out.
tels are under attack from increasingly sophisticated hackers, intent on stealing sensitive data, such as guests’ credit card information and identification documents.
In the last decade, there have been around 30 data breaches for high-profile chains including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and even Trump Hotel Collection.Consequently, hundreds ofmillions of customers have had personal detailsstolen and billing information compromised.
There is a belief among cybersecurity professionals that hotels are either not doing enough to combat this growing threat or usinginadequate solutions.
“The challenge with hotel chains in general is that they tend to be looking at running things as low-cost as possible,” says Joseph Carson, cybersecurity expert and chief security scientist at Thycotic.
“At the same time, I don't think that they see the value of the data that they are actually collecting and processing. And that ultimately becomes the major issue.When you don't see the value yourself, but attackers do, then they'll take advantage of your failure to protect it.”
Cyber criminals are continuously seeking opportunities to exploit. Not only can a data breach harm a hotel brand’s reputation, but owners will also be hit with hefty penalties from authorities. The EU’s GDPR law has imposed tighter rules on how companies treat customer data and how long they can hold onto it, with considerable fines imposed on those found in breach of regulations
“Hotels hold millions of pieces of data, which can have a great value on the dark markets. Therefore, when hotels are not properly protected, criminal hackers will continually exploit wherever possible in order to extract whatever they can,” explains Jake Moore, cyber security specialist for ESET.
The sudden nature of the first lockdown left once-frequent travellers itching to go on holiday again
A recent partnership with Katara Hospitality to incorporate the Delano brand in Paris will allow Accor to modernise its luxury product offering, appealing to the new luxury traveller.
Hotels must expect to be the target of repeated breach attempts.
The move away from ‘classic’ brands will pay dividends
The millennial demographic accounts for the highest percentage of luxury travellers globally. According to a study by Bain & Company, the millennial population accounted for 35% of luxury consumption, and this statistic is likely to increase to 45% in 2025. Millennials have different traveller preferences, with a greater focus on sustainability, corporate social responsibility and experiential trips.
Evolving luxury offerings to meet specific cohorts is key in lodging. With Accor introducing this new brand to its portfolio, it allows the company to compete further in terms of attracting the important millennial market.
Other global hotel giants have entered into this ‘luxury lifestyle’ space, such as Hyatt Hotels with Thompson Hotels, a luxury lifestyle brand that aims to enhance local ambience and cultural experiences. Hilton Hotels is also a competitor in this space, offering luxury brand LXR Hotels, focusing on personalisation and local immersive experiences.
Targeting millennial travellers will help to improve quality
Adjusting luxury products to the millennial market is a positive move. It will help to redefine luxury and enhance personalisation, a factor that is highly important to this cohort. According to GlobalData’s Week 11 COVID-19 Recovery Survey (fieldwork undertaken 2-6 December 2020), 54% of millennials are ‘always’ or ‘often’ influenced by how well a product or service is tailored to their needs and personality.
Introducing the Delano brand to its portfolio will open up the Accor brand to more travellers by making luxury lodging accessible and less exclusive. Whilst a wider customer base is useful for enhanced revenue streams, it can diminish the reputation of luxury to some travellers. If this new brand is accessible to more travellers and loses its exclusive effect, some luxury customers will not be willing to pay a premium for the service and may take their loyalty elsewhere. It is important that Accor balances this aspect in order to please all parties.
Despite Covid-19, Accor is vastly expanding its lifestyle luxury product
Accor announced a raft of new hotel openings for 2021, with lifestyle hotel developments expected to triple by 2023. Lifestyle brands currently only account for 5% of its revenue. However, they account for 25% of its development pipeline, showing that lifestyle brands will be a large focus for 2021 and further.
This is not the first partnership Accor has entered in to in order to enhance its lifestyle offering. A previously announced joint venture with hotel development company Ennismore aims to create a separate lifestyle company with 12 brands, further showing the investment being made into this segment and the importance of it in the post-Covid-19 travel space.
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Main image: Accor