The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to lurch into life on May 25th, and the chances are, you’ll already have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for its arrival.
Despite this, and with such a big change to regulation, it’s always sensible to run through some final checks to make sure that you’re not missing anything obvious before the new rules come into effect.
Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your hotel for the GDPR and to help you avoid the fines that might hit hard if you ignore it.
1. Refresh staff on the GDPR’s requirements
The people who need to be most on top of GDPR-related issues are your staff.
It’s a good idea to gather up your team, go over the implications of the new data regulations and make sure they’re up to speed with the changes.
2. Check with third-party partners
Stricter privacy rules don’t just apply to the way you handle guest data in-house; it’s also important that any third-party platforms used to take bookings and manage your hotel are compliant.
Get in touch with whichever OTAs and PMS providers you use to ensure that they’re all set for the GDPR (if you haven’t heard from them already – no news isn’t good news when it comes to the GDPR).
3. Engage guests to build trust
Once the GDPR is enforced, it’s a good idea to keep your guests abreast of the changes and demonstrate that your hotel is aware of its new obligations.
The easiest way to do this is at check-in, when you can let guests know that their personal details will be protected once they’re in your care.
Because this regulation has been so highly publicised, with most people encountering the effects of it in their own workplaces and email inboxes, a hotel which doesn’t showcase GDPR-savvy policies might raise concerns.
4. Update your website
All of the information about how you manage guest data should be available to review online, but don’t just rely on third party platforms to take care of this responsibility.
5. Contact customers
Most independent hotels will have a mailing list or loyalty scheme aimed at keeping customers informed of news and offers.
You should get in touch with everyone on your books to let them know of any changes to your policies and practices that have been motivated by the GDPR.
This is also a great opportunity to ask your customers to confirm that they still want to be subscribed to your mailing list, while simultaneously reminding them that your hotel exists and that it’s now fully compliant with the new regulations.
6. Plan for problems
Data breaches are unavoidable, and if one of the third-party platforms you use is hit by cyber crime, your hotel will be required to let its customers know.
It’s a case of planning for the worst-case scenarios before they happen so that you’re prepared, rather than being struck by a data security disaster without having contingencies in place.
Feeling panicky about the GDPR? It might seem daunting, but by this point you should only need to do a few final checks to stay on the right side of the regulations.