Cyber security data breach Data Security

How Hoteliers Can Ensure Safe and Secure Payments for Guests

Manu Sharma
Manu Sharma

We have integrations with Secure Payment Gateway | Hotelogix

If you’re a hotelier, you know the benefits online booking has provided to the hospitality industry. Hotels can more easily market available rooms, and gain more bookings in less time, with online booking engines. It’s no doubt that hotel management technology has positively impacted the business.

However, there’s a flip side to every coin. Though online booking engines have several benefits, there are risks associated with online payments. For hotels, the risk of a security breach is high. Hotels store large volumes of customer data, including their payment information.

Without the right protections, hackers will target businesses like hotels that have tons of financial information stored in their software. Hackers can monitor your databases and IT structures to search for weak spots, and attack when you are least expecting it.

Data breaches put customers’ personal and financial information at risk. Not only can this negatively impact the reputation of your hotel, in the worst scenario, but it can also have a drastically negative impact on your customers’ personal lives.

However, hoteliers can take appropriate steps to protect their systems against cyber-attacks and secure their customers valued information.

The Importance of a Secure Online Payment System

In today’s world, guests expect to be able to make all transactions for their hotel reservations online. If hoteliers choose not to implement online payment options, they will lose customers quickly. Since most hotels offer online payment, those who do not will struggle to compete.

This puts hoteliers in a unique situation. You want to offer quick and easy online payments to meet the expectations of customers; however, you don’t want to experience data breaches. In addition, consumers expect when booking a room online that their payment information is secure. Failing to deliver on this assumption can have massive negative impacts on a hotel’s reputation.

Common Causes of Data Breaches at Hotels

To understand how at risk your hotel is for a data breach, you can assess multiple items. In theory. Any hotel could experience a cyber-attack.

However, certain factors make hotels much more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, such as:

  • Outdated systems. An outdated PMS, POS, or reservation software can put your hotel at risk. Even if only one system is outdated, if customer information passes through it, you are at risk. Hackers can identify the weak areas in your software systems. Hackers can work backwards, gaining entry to your least protected system, and trace customers’ information to other integrated systems.
  • Malware and phishing. Malware is malicious software that is downloaded by the user unintentionally. Often referred to as phishing schemes, sometimes a link will be included in a seemingly safe email, but when it’s clicked, it automatically gains access to all information on the computer. The best way to protect your property from malware is through continuous and rigorous cybersecurity training.
  • Unmonitored access management. When who is accessing the property software is not carefully monitored, it puts your hotel at risk for cybersecurity attacks. When left unguarded, employees at your organization may unintentionally take actions that put customer data at risk.

To decrease vulnerability to data breaches, hotels must take certain actions. These actions include upgrading software and security measures for better protection. Also, hotels must train their staff on how to properly use software, and what to look out for.

Payment Gateway Integrations with Hotelogix

Hoteliers need to ensure their payment gateway on the web booking engine is secure. Without proper security, payment information can be quickly rerouted from the payment page to a hacker’s computer screen!

A PMS that includes a secure payment gateway, such as what we offer at Hotelogix, is necessary to ensure your guest’s safety. A secure payment gateway will encrypt all payment information entered on the web-based booking engine, making it near impossible for hackers to extract.

Good encryption ensures payment is shared privately and securely between the web booking engine and the hotel. It also secures information being shared between the hotel and the payment processor. Using PCI DSS certified encryption, we can secure all payment information that is entered on our web-based booking integrations.

Types of Payment Gateways

There are several kinds of payment gateways, which can be confusing to navigate. Whichever payment gateway you choose, the bottom line is always ensuring encrypted security when handling a customer’s payment information.

Essentially, there are three major types of payment gateways, which we will briefly describe below.

Hosted Payment Gateways

Hosted payment gateways work by auto redirecting the customer away from your central website while the payment is being made. The customer will start by clicking on a ‘buy now’ button, or something similar, on the website.

This redirects them to the “host”, or payment service provider (PSP) page. This window is where the customer will enter their payment information and click submit. At this point, they will be auto-directed back to the website to confirm the purchase.

Hosted payment gateways are user-friendly and simple, they guide the customer through the process with ease. Plus, hosted gateways have top-quality PCI compliance and fraud protection.

Self-Hosted Payment Gateways

The difference between hosted and self-hosted payment gateways is the way customer details are collected. With self-hosted payment gateways, customers fill in their personal information directly on the website, whereas hosted gateways open a separate window.

Once a customer enters their details on the website, they are encrypted on the backend and submitted to a third-party payment gateway for authorization.

Self-hosted gateways still use encryption and are still a secure option. However, they don’t offer the same level of security that hosted gateways can.

API-Hosted Payment Gateways

API-hosted gateways allow the business owner full control over the online transaction process for the customer. Customer payment details and processing are handled directly on the merchant website, using an application programming interface (API).

This allows the business owner to customize the customer check-out experience much more than other options. However, it also means the business owner is responsible for security. Those who choose API-hosted gateways will need to pay extra fees for SSL encryption certifications. Plus, they are solely responsible for creating a PCI DSS-compliant payment gateway.

This makes the API-hosted gateway much less attractive to business owners who process large quantities of sensitive online payments, such as hotels.

Wrapping Up

When you choose Hotelogix PMS for your property, you choose top-notch security. Our web booking engine comes with high-quality security features, including PCI DSS certification. We take the headache away from hoteliers trying to navigate the confusing world of cybersecurity.

If you want to secure your guest’s information and mitigate financial risk, protecting your online payment processors is a must. When hoteliers choose Hotelogix, they get all the security features they need, with none of the hassle.