How GDPR affects the hospitality industry and how to be compliant?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations that went into effect on May 25, 2018, and that applies to any company that processes the personal data of EU citizens.
The GDPR replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, and it is designed to harmonize data protection laws across the EU and give individuals more control over their personal data. In this blog, we will explore what GDPR is, how businesses can become compliant with the regulations, and how it affects the hospitality industry.
What is GDPR?
GDPR applies to any company that processes the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of where the company is located. Personal data is defined as any information that relates to an identified or identifiable natural person. This includes things like name, address, email address, and even IP address.
Under GDPR, companies must obtain explicit consent from individuals to collect, use, and store their personal data.
They must also provide clear and transparent information about how they will use the data and must protect it with appropriate security measures.
GDPR gives individuals the right to access their personal data, the right to have their personal data erased (also known as the “right to be forgotten”), the right to restrict the processing of their data, and the right to object to the processing of their data. It also requires companies to notify individuals and regulators of data breaches within 72 hours of becoming aware of them.
Violations of GDPR can result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s global annual revenue, whichever is greater.
How to be GDPR compliant:
To ensure compliance with GDPR, businesses should take the following steps:
- Assess your data protection needs: Identify the types of personal data you collect, use, and store, and assess the risks to that data. This will help you determine what security measures you need to put in place.
- Obtain consent: Obtain explicit consent from individuals to collect, use, and store their personal data. This means providing clear and transparent information about how you will use their data and requiring individuals to opt-in to having their data collected.
- Encrypt personal data: Encrypting personal data makes it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key. This is an important measure to protect data in the event that it is stolen or accessed by unauthorized parties.
- Conduct regular security audits: Regularly assess and evaluate the effectiveness of your security measures to identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
- Train employees on data protection: Ensure that your employees understand their role in protecting personal data and are trained on relevant data protection laws and best practices.
- Implement access controls: Limit access to personal data to only those employees who need it for their job duties. Use strong, unique passwords and regularly update them.
- Use secure servers and networks: Store personal data on secure servers and use secure networks to transmit it.
How GDPR affects the hospitality industry:
The hospitality industry relies on the collection, use, and storage of personal data to provide services to guests. This includes things like booking reservations, processing payments, and providing amenities. GDPR has significant implications for the hospitality industry, as it requires businesses to obtain explicit consent from guests to collect and use their personal data and to protect that data with appropriate security measures.
To ensure compliance with GDPR, hospitality businesses should take the steps outlined above to assess their data protection needs, obtain consent, encrypt personal data, conduct regular security audits, train employees, implement access controls, and use secure servers and networks.
In addition to the steps outlined above, hospitality businesses should also be prepared to respond to requests from guests related to their GDPR rights. This includes responding to requests to access their personal data, erase their personal data, restrict the processing of their data, or object to the processing of their data.
Hospitality businesses should have processes in place to handle these requests in a timely and efficient manner. This may require updating systems and training employees on how to handle such requests.
It is also important for hospitality businesses to be prepared for the possibility of a data breach. Under GDPR, companies are required to notify individuals and regulators of a data breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of it. Hospitality businesses should have an incident response plan in place to ensure that they are able to meet this requirement in the event of a breach.
By taking these steps, hospitality businesses can ensure compliance with GDPR and protect the personal data of their guests.