Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

October: Cyber Security Awareness Month

Get the Most From Your Data…
And Protect It From Breaches

With so much digital technology underlying meeting operations today, more data than ever is available for analysis. But as Exhibit Surveys white paper on Event Anaytics: Deriving Insights from Multiple Data Sources noted, “It’s not just about gathering the data…What’s important is what you do with the data.”

Keep these “data” best practices in mind:
• Don’t start with what you can measure…first decide what you need to measure.
• Identify the simplest data needed to address key objectives.
• Use consistent collection methods to ensure data quality.
• Find ways to link event data that may currently reside in silos, such as connecting the mobile app with the registration database.
• Analyze multiple data streams in new combinations to add dimension to your decision-making.

Make it easy. A white paper from HSMAI on Taking Ownership of Your Customer Relationships reinforces the above mantra of simplicity. It references a research finding from CEB that “exceeding a customer’s expectations makes them only marginally more loyal than simply meeting their needs.” So hotels should focus on a simple path to garner loyalty: reduce customer effort. This same “attention to effortlessness” can benefit meeting planner customers as well.

Best “meeting planner” practices for hotels to follow:
• Use journey mapping to improve the planner experience.
• Make every step in that journey as easy as it can be for the planner.

Protecting it. With the promise of more and better data, however, comes the responsibility and headache of protecting it. This is timely since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. If data security is not on your radar screen, add it to your meeting checklist — especially for hotels. And when you do, think about who is responsible if a hotel does not follow appropriate cybersecurity practices and exposes guests’ personal data to unauthorized access and theft.

Example: That’s the issue behind the Federal Trade Commission v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., which aims to hold the hotel chain accountable for multiple data breaches from not safeguarding sensitive customer information. While the case is still pending, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently ruled that the FTC has the authority “to challenge the alleged data security lapses,” according to the FTC Blog.

Do consumers — especially digital natives — care much about data breaches? It doesn’t seem so, according to Aimia’s Global Loyalty Lens report, which surveyed 20,000 consumers in 11 countries. “High-profile retail data breaches have not dissuaded consumers from sharing valuable insights with the brands they trust,” affirmed the report. They are more than willing to share personal information with brands to receive better offers — 80% of consumers around the world will give their names, addresses and nationalities, while 70% will share dates of birth, hobbies and occupations. More Millennial and Generation Z consumers will share their mobile phone number than other generations; in the U.S. 51% of 18 to 24-year-olds are willing to do so, compared with 30% of Baby Boomers. Even more, 62% of these younger consumers are happy to share personal information with companies, compared with 41% of Baby Boomers.

Globally, consumers appear less concerned about their data privacy than a year ago — dropping from 48% who were worried in 2014 to 42% in 2015.— Maxine Golding

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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