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The Privacy Dilemma

Hotel guests explicitly expect that innkeepers will respect and protect their privacy as part of the guest-innkeeper relationship…

There is nothing new about this expectation: it is a longstanding and central obligation to the guest, and has been for centuries, codified in statutory and case law.What is new about privacy that creates a dilemma for the hotelier?

  • The spotlight on privacy issues in society at large, due in part to the proliferation of computer networks and databases storing personal information

  • The equally-strong expectation on the part of guests, particularly in upscale and luxury segments, that hoteliers will capture and retain key profile data in order to improve service delivery in future visits

Let us evaluate each of these two “horns of the dilemma” in more detail. For many years now, a global privacy movement has been generating momentum. Consumer fears of abusive or inappropriate use of personally identifiable information have driven the privacy movement worldwide. The concern is that marketers, for good or ill, will attempt to profit from using consumer data for any purpose other than which it was provided in the first place.

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