Friday, September 30, 2011

Don’t Be a Victim of Identity Theft: How Meeting Planners Should Protect Themselves and their Company

Last year approximately 8.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Unfortunately, this number continues to increase. So how can you make sure that you do not fall victim to thieves? There are simple precautions, especially for meeting planners, that can be taken to ensure that identity theft does not happen to you.
Meeting planners should make sure that their laptops or computers have passwords, proper firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware technology. If you must e-mail private information, including addresses or credit card numbers, learn to encrypt files you send. One obvious way to avoid data theft is to collect less data by requesting the minimum amount of data.

Before the meeting commences, planners should remind attendees to always watch their personal belongings. John Sileo, keynote speaker of identity thief, claims that “educating attendees is the most powerful thing that planners can do. If you have 1,000 attendees now every one of them is looking out…you’ve got 1,000 deputized police officers watching what’s going on in the room. That’s a huge difference”.

During the meeting, planners should ask the host hotel to set up a secure Wi-Fi connection where all meting attendees can log onto the Web with a user name and password. Make frequent reminders to attendees not to leave laptops, smart phones and purses or wallets unattended.

After the program ends, planners should protect themselves and their company by gathering all of the physical documentation used for the meeting. Planners should look into digitally destroying all records kept on computers, and make sure that the files have been taken off hard drives, or at least encrypted.

Protecting yourself from identity theft is not something that is only limited to meeting planners. Remembering these 5 quick tips will go a long way to prevent identity theft for anyone, especially when traveling;
1) Never leave your belongings unattended.
2) Only carry necessary items with you. Leave all other personal and valuable items at home or in your hotel such as your passport, credit card, laptop etc.
3) Only use secure Wi-Fi with a user name and password.
4) Be safe while using the Internet: Think before you click!
 5) Select complicated passwords for your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid passwords such as your birthdate, address or mother’s maiden name.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Technology Driven Hotels

With the social media revolution and the expectation for high-technology, hotels are competing to get the best twitter blasts about their “cool factors”.  WIFI is no longer enough of a bonus to a guest room; tech-savvy travelers are expecting a bit more.

The Upper House, Hong Kong, has replaced reservation desk check-in with computer kiosks.  Additionally, the JW Marriott Hong Kong has digitalized their hotel room control system.  A touchscreen controller, located
right on the bedside phone, offers everything from local attractions to events during your stay.

At the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, you can control the room lights and room temperature through the LCD touch panel or the TV. A timer can even be set on the curtains to open automatically in the morning so guests can wake up with the sunlight shining into their room.

The Le Parker Meridien in New York City has taken their gym to the next level. They created a Wii gym room where you can play tennis with computer partners or run on digital tracks.

There are countless ways in which technology can improve and modernize the hotel industry; however, hotel guests can accept or reject as much as they prefer. If the new technology intimidates them, they can stick to the traditional simplicity of travel. No matter what the traveler decides, hotels will continue to move towards a technological dream world. 

For more information see

Friday, September 16, 2011

Disney's New Luxurious Hotel

The happiest place on earth just got happier. Disney World, located in Orlando, Florida, is opening its doors to their first ultra-luxury, Four Seasons. 

The lavish hotel will not only be the first non-Disney branded hotel, but also, the first five-star hotel located inside the theme park. This $360 million dollar project, expected to open in late 2014, will begin its construction this December. The 444-room resort will have impeccable views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It’ll be steps away from numerous restaurants, an extravagance spa, basketball and tennis courts, a golf course as well as three pools.

With rates expected to be anywhere from $440.00 to $2,185 a night-this might not be an option for the regular families visiting the theme park. The Four Seasons expects to fill only half their rooms with park visitors and the rest will be conventioneers and business-meeting attendees. The Four Seasons will include approximately 37,750 square feet of meeting and event space, which will be a great new location to use in the future.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

“Trusted Traveler”

With the busiest time of the year for the airports soon approaching, travelers are demanding stress-free travel and the airline industry is loosening up on security procedures. A survey conducted by Consensus Research reports that American travelers would fly two to three more times per year on average, if the hardship of airport security were eliminated. These flights would add nearly $85 billion in consumer spending and nearly 900,000 jobs to the industry.

So what might this new program consist of? Well, The U.S. Travel Association has proposed a voluntary, government-operated program called “Trusted Traveler”. Program participants will be identified by entering a kiosk that scans their finger or iris (eye) to confirm their identity, and then pass through an explosive – detection device with their luggage.

Seems easy enough, but what’s the catch? Well, first, to apply for admission into the “Trusted Traveler” program, passengers must provide biometric information for screening, such as fingerprint, and iris recognition. Then, participants must submit to a criminal background check. Afterwards, a required interview with government officials is scheduled, and qualification into the program is then determined. Once enrolled, participants will receive an identity card, which they present at airport security checkpoints. This might seem like a lengthy procedure, but according to Consensus Research, surveys suggest that many passengers would rather have more government intrusion in exchange of traditional strict checkpoints.

Regardless of the “Trusted Traveler” program, one thing is made clear. Americans are pushing for changes in security measures, and airlines are open to the idea of relaxing on their current abrasive procedures. Voices are definitely being heard, and it will be exciting to see how loosened security procedures will significantly strengthen the airline industry.

For more information and the full U.S. Travel report, visit