Guest information is exposed in security breach at Albany, N.Y., hotel | Lighting changes may affect quality of video surveillance | Tampa, Fla., will receive $50M for security at GOP convention
April 18, 2012
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Hospitality Risk Management
Guest information is exposed in security breach at Albany, N.Y., hotel
A data security breach at a hotel in Albany, N.Y., resulted in fraudulent charges on guest credit cards over a 10-month period. The names of guests at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, their credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates were exposed between May 21, 2011, and March 10 of this year. The Secret Service is investigating the breach. Hotel management believes it originated in a foreign country. Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) (tiered subscription model) (4/13)
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Lighting changes may affect quality of video surveillance
An abundance of windows can affect the quality of images recorded by surveillance cameras. Hotels, retail locations and banks often face challenges positioning cameras for effective recording. Although manufacturers have tried to solve the problem by adjusting camera speed and with auto-iris lenses, they cannot completely "compensate for lighting variations," this feature says. (4/12)
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Tampa, Fla., will receive $50M for security at GOP convention
Tampa, Fla., will receive $50 million in federal funds for security at the Republican National Convention in August. Purchases include a helicopter surveillance system, 1,765 portable radios, 163 mobile radios, and a $2 million closed-circuit camera system for the city's downtown. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (4/17)
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Retail Risk Management
Merchants move to reduce theft in self-checkout lanes
Retail theft is as much as five times higher in self-checkout lanes than in lanes operated by a cashier, according to one estimate. While some grocers are phasing out self-checkout, others are adding it and working toward more sophisticated anti-theft technology; workers also are getting better at detecting intentional and accidental theft, said Joseph LaRocca of the National Retail Federation. "There are ways to distinguish between someone who accidentally forgets to pay or intentionally moves the item so it isn't scanned," he said. USA Today (4/9)
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New surveillance systems are easier for retailers to integrate
New digital surveillance systems are more affordable, accurate and easier for retailers to integrate into existing systems, observers say. "The older systems lacked a lot of efficiencies," said Dale Williams, director of retail operations and information technology for Walters-Dimmick Petroleum Inc. "We started rolling out DVRs and connecting them to the Internet, so we were able to view [operations] over the Internet. We're using several different manufacturers to accomplish that." Convenience Store Decisions (4/16)
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Innovation & Developments
G-8 Summit relocation will not affect Chicago, hoteliers say
President Barack Obama's decision to relocate this year's Group of Eight Summit from Chicago to Maryland will not land a crippling blow to the city's hotel industry, local hoteliers said. They pointed out that NATO will still be holding its 25th summit in Chicago, providing enough room demand. "Moving the G-8 to Camp David only affected the city in a slight way because NATO is a lot bigger. This is a weekend event -- it's a pretty quick meeting; not as long a stay as everyone thinks," said Mark Tunney, a senior vice president with Choose Chicago. Hotel News Now (4/17)
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MGM is considering Toronto for resort-casino
MGM Resorts International has begun reaching out to Toronto officials to put forward a possible resort-casino project in the city. The potential $2 billion to $6 billion project could include hotels, convention space and restaurants. "It's an amazing market, it's an amazing city. We'd be prepared to invest an awful lot in the development of the concept," said Alan Feldman, a senior vice president at MGM. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (4/18)
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$500M casino complex could become a reality in Philadelphia
Developer Bart Blatstein wants to convert a downtown Philadelphia building that houses The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News into a 200-room hotel that would be part of a $500 million casino and entertainment complex. "This will be more than just a casino, it will be an entertainment destination that has the power to spark a new explosion of growth and investment in Philadelphia," Blatstein said. State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. questions the need for a second casino in Philadelphia and intends to introduce legislation that would allow 13 instead of 14 casino operation licenses to be approved in the state. Courier-Post (Camden-Cherry Hill, N.J.) (4/12), The Philadelphia Inquirer (4/15)
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Business Operations & Strategy
Column: A clear view of a problem helps in finding its solution
The difficulty in problem-solving often lies in the incorrect way in things are viewed -- nurturing a bias, incorrectly defining the problem or focusing on a symptom instead of the root cause, writes Enda Larkin, founder of HTC Consulting. "If it is a very complex problem, try to break it down into its constituent parts and prioritize those elements based on how big a contributor they are to the overall difficulty. In addition, always get help with the issue; seek other perspectives, collaborate," Larkin writes. Hospitality Net (4/16)
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Travel Watch
Vacation-rental bookings by families are on the rise
More families and group travelers are forgoing hotels for vacation rentals because of the latter's convenience and lower costs, this feature says. An industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group forecasts a further increase in the trend, to 14% of leisure travelers in 2013, compared with 12% in 2011. MSNBC/Today Travel blog (4/13)
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Legislative & Policy Monitor
Hoteliers discuss future of industry after election
While some hoteliers continue to debate whether the industry's future hinges on a change in government leadership, most agree that the economic policies of whoever wins the presidency in November will have a significant effect on hotels. "The president sets the tone, so anyone who supports the lodging industry is key. The philosophy the president has trickles down to the industry," said Marlene Colucci, executive vice president for public policy at AH&LA. The industry group says it will remain neutral regarding support for a specific candidate and will focus on representing hotels' interests in government affairs. Hotel News Now (4/17)
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TSA PreCheck will land at Seattle airport this month
Alaska Airlines frequent fliers who are pre-approved by the Transportation Security Administration will have access to expedited screening next week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Members of expedited border-crossing programs are also eligible to participate in the PreCheck program. Alaska Airlines said it was working with the TSA to expand PreCheck to other airports it serves. "I really see the benefit of this as being one fewer annoying routine to have to go through at Sea-Tac," said Frank Catalano of Seattle, an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold customer. The Seattle Times (tiered subscription model) (4/17)
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A daydreamer is prepared for most things."
-- Joyce Carol Oates,
American author
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