Hotel chain Accor is launching a multimillion-pound encryption system in a bid to safeguard customers' personal information from the risk of identity theft.
The company is one of the first hotel operators to use such technology to protect customer data including credit card details held on hotel systems and the internet. It plans to implement the scheme at more than 1,300 hotels across North America this year and is also considering a roll-out across Europe.
The move comes among increasing concern from organisations that identity theft and leaks of personal data can irreversibly damage a company's reputation.
The technology used by Accor will initially ensure that all credit card data is encrypted from the time it is entered into a hotel point-of-sale system, through the internet or a call centre, but will ultimately allow all customer data to be encrypted.
Harvey Ewing, senior director of information technology security for Accor North America, said credit card protection was first on the list.
"We are looking at credit card information in the first instance, but with ID fraud becoming more common we wanted architecture that is able to encrypt any data. If we decide names and address are confidential we can start to seamlessly encrypt them," he said.
By Kerstin Kühn