Know Your Guest: The Importance of Travel Risk Management & ISO 31030
May 6, 2021
The travel and tourism industry has long been one of the largest industries in the world. According to the UNWTO*, in 2019, Europe alone saw 744 million international tourists. Though it came to an almost standstill as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is expected to have a strong rebound as people start traveling again. However, as the industry comes back to life, those involved in travel and hospitality services will need to ensure they have safety and security measures in place in order to avoid being targets of fraud, acts of crime and even terrorism.
Stolen Identities & Counterfeit Documents Lead to Exploitation
Travel, tourism and hospitality face a variety of different threats, and the inability to detect fraudulent identities and counterfeit documents, particularly passports, can lead to the increased likelihood of being targets of crime and other nefarious activities. Ineffective resources that are unable detect falsified documents can result in exploitation or the unwitting abetting of human trafficking and terrorist activity. With hotels in the sights of terrorists in part because of their international high volume of (and sometimes high profile) clientele, it’s no wonder that tourists are open to enhanced security measures and identity proofing being in place. More so, having established security and identity proofing practices will make it harder for organized crime rings to take advantage of the privacy and anonymity hotels provide for trafficking purposes.
Another threat the industry faces amidst a post-COVID world is falsified vaccine reporting by travelers looking to circumvent the system. A lack of certainty over guests’ health can result not only in the transmission of the virus to employees and guests but also an imposed shutdown until the transmission situation is under control. Additionally, travelers want the assurance that their chosen accommodation is safe or they will go elsewhere, leading to loss of business, and possibly reputation, for the places that are unable to provide that assurance. Though the idea of “health passports” or “vaccine passports” is not a new one, the (at times controversial) resurgence of these identity documents being used has also seen an increase in fraudulent vaccine cards as another form of identity document exploitation. Furthermore, the people who are using the health passports but are careless with what they share online, such as images of their COVID vaccine card, may find that their personally identifiable information (PII) has been compromised and is now being used by fraudsters.
Having proper risk management strategies in place will be a key factor for hotels and others in the industry to protect their organization, employees and guests.
The New ISO 31030
As part of travel risk management efforts, the new ISO 31030 credential coming August 2021 from the International Standards Organization will provide standards for industry best practices when it comes to addressing risk and vulnerabilities in the industry. It requires the validation of an accommodation’s current security standards for effective fraud and crime prevention.
These new global benchmarks for travel risk management standards, will encourage and ensure that the industry is following through on best practices for security and identity validation and managing risk.
Know Your Guest: KYC for Hospitality
Having strong security, identity verification and Know Your Customer (KYC) practices in place to validate guests’ identities and documents is crucial for helping to prevent fraud and to Know Your Guest. This is especially the case for screening people that try to check-in as guests and for those that may apply for an employee position; knowing your employees and who is in your facility is vital. Fraudsters are likely to use high-quality counterfeit documents as they try to circumvent the system, highlighting the need for effective and reliable identity proofing and KYC technology. Using automated and robust identity verification, instead of manual review by staff, can help to avoid extensive employee training and friction during the check-in process and will reduce risk by validating the identities against sanctions and PEP lists, thus guaranteeing a higher level of accuracy and security and reducing risk. In hospitality it is all about the guest experience, from check-in to check-out. Verification technology can not only manage risk, but also allow for superior guest experiences.
Join the Webinar
Acuant is hosting a webinar with industry experts including Adria Scan, Global Secure Accreditation and Thales to discuss the importance of KYC in hospitality.
* World Tourism Organization (2021), International Tourism Highlights, 2020 Edition, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI: https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284422456