Identity Theft – Common Myths and Questions

Identity theft is a crime that has gained a lot of attention in recent years, and it has established a growing trend and with the convenience of online shopping, online banking and online business, more opportunities have arrived for identity thieves to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. So serious is this crime that the government has taken initiatives to coordinate a joint effort among government agencies and commercial entities to curve the growth of credit fraud cases and identity fraud cases around the country.Because it is a serious crime and it can target different aspects of one’s identity, it has become necessary to centralize the tasks of monitoring and providing identity protection to citizens with more sophisticated methods. Hence the now popular identity theft protection services available today from companies like Life Lock and Trusted ID.Although most anyone would be able to describe what identity theft is, most people are not fully aware of how serious the consequences are when identity theft strikes and perhaps there are a lot of assumptions about the crime and how it happens. Also we’ll shed some light on what identity protection is how it can help you make sure that if an identity thief gets a hold of your personal information, they can’t actually use it.What is identity theft? A good number of people would say that this happens when someone takes your credit card and commits credit fraud by making purchases they never intend to pay for. Well that’s partly right, credit fraud does constitute identity theft and if the criminal were identified and caught they would be charged under the laws that govern identity theft. However, there are a few other aspects of your identity, your credit is one of them, others are your medical records, your public records, accounts with utilities and phone companies that may be opened under your name, your mail, your social security number being used for purposes like getting fake ID’s or getting employment etc. So the range of possibilities for identity fraud is pretty wide.Identity theft can only happen to careless people – Sure, it’s no argument that if you’re careless or too trusting with your personal information then you’re a high risk. But even the most careful person can become a victim of identity theft. Think about this, you have probably heard of the term phishing or phishing scams before, this method of identity fraud was very popular and effective a few years ago. Even today, these random attempts to get a victim to volunteer personal information still works, however, its effectiveness has died down some, and so thieves have gotten a little more resourceful and sophisticated in their scams and are now “spear phishing”. What this means is that thieves are getting to know their victims before they strike, no use going after someone who only has a few dimes in their bank account, there are much bigger fish to fry.Credit monitoring is the key to identity theft prevention – Not really, it is a very important part of an identity theft protection program, but credit monitoring alone will not protect every aspect of your identity. As mentioned earlier there are many different fronts to your personal identity and any of them can be a target. Even though credit monitoring companies may advertise this service as identity theft protection, you need to measure their services against those who specialize in total identity protection and not just credit monitoring.Identity thieves are most likely to steal identities online – online identity theft is definitely thriving, but not all identity thieves are technically savvy, they’re mostly opportunistic and opportunities abound off line perhaps more than online. Online identity thieves are known as hackers who exploit weaknesses in operating systems and unprotected computer systems to gain access to personal data or often to plant trojans and other viruses for different purposes. Everyone else who’s interested in taking your identity would resort to the old fashioned forms of identity fraud, such as dumpster diving, mail fraud (redirecting mail), stealing your wallet, digging through public records etc.There’s no way to stop junk mail and pre-approved offers – There are no laws that make it illegal for credit bureaus and merchants to distribute your personal information for money, which they do a lot and that’s how you get so many credit offers and junk mail for products and services you hardly ever use. But you do have the right to opt out of these junk lists and pre-approval lists at any time. Doing so would dramatically reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.Everything an Identity Theft protection service does I can do myself – Many of the things they do to protect your identity can be done by you, and although you may think you’re doing all you can to protect your good name, there are certain things that are out of your control. For example how business and financial organizations handle your information. When these organizations mishandle or fail to protect your information it can end up in the wrong hands, these are called security breaches and they happen more than a few times a year exposing millions of personal records. But one thing that these services do that no one can effectively do alone is to monitor online identity black markets, where social security numbers, credit card numbers, banking information and whole identities are sold daily. There are other services they perform that the individual can not, but you’ll have to read the reviews to find out.

Top Do’s and Don’ts for Hotel Revenue & Distribution Managers

Hotel revenue management may seem like yet another type of management from a lot of myriads of management types in the business landscape, but Revenue Management is the heart of the entire hospitality industry where a revenue manager must orchestrate the bookings and room price in such a manner that it maximizes revenue.The primary job of a revenue manager (traditionally) all day was to monitor the fluctuating rates and update their own inventory rate according to the market equation to sell the inventory at highest possible rates in the least possible time and at the same time maintaining high occupancy, RevPAR, and ADR. However, as the times have changed and technology has stepped its foot in almost every industry, there are countless Hotel Revenue Management Tools, like Rate Shopper, Channel Manager, Rate Optimizer, Online Reputation Manager, which have reduced the work of revenue managers in half and doubled the efficiency.Additionally, with progress in technology, there have been some proven Do’s and Don’ts that have emerged for the revenue managers, which can guide them to shape their revenue generation strategy. Let us discuss a few of them here:• Look at the bigger picture – A smart approach for a successful Revenue Managers should be to stop focussing on just the revenue generated from the room sale, but start focussing on revenue generated by a particular guest, i.e. pay more attention to the Guest Life Cycle or Customer Life Cycle, as some may like to call it. As part of guest experience management, a hotel/revenue manager should keep a record of its existing guests including their choices and preferences and present them various services that they might purchase during their next stay. To explain further, depending on the persona or demographic profile of your guest, you could suggest them various other services of your hotel like, spa, club, gym, disco, etc. This practice creates new sources of revenue and increases overall revenue even when low price inventory has been bought.• Healthy Mix and Distribution of Inventory – Amid seeking for maximum bookings, a revenue manager should be aware of the art of creating a fine balance for exposing your rooms for sale on online and offline channels. Neither exhausting the entire inventory through OTAs nor selling all of them directly would be a good approach. Tools come to rescue in this a requirement. A competent Online Channel Distribution Manager can provide you a lot of support here. The revenue manager should keep a tap on the spending patterns of the direct and OTA customers so that you can optimize sales with the right mix of OTA bookings and direct bookings to achieve revenue targets. Modern Channel Managers allow revenue managers the flexibility to turn on and off any OTA channel they feel is not giving desired results or is proving to be very expensive.• Monitoring Competition – For a better revenue generation, it is always suggested to keep an eye on the competitors in the market. A good revenue manager should observe the prices, promotions, strategies, and processes of its competitors that he/she can adopt for their hotel as well if the need be. In a hotel business where prices fluctuate daily, it becomes even compulsory to keep a constant vigilance on daily competitor rate. The good news is you have tools for that; Hotel Rate Shopper. This tool helps you monitor daily room rates of your pre-decided comp-set. It does not end here, such tools help you with a plethora of other jobs like; an intelligence on overall market supply and average market rate for your city, even Airbnb market supply and average market rate, rate and availability reports for your property on different OTAs and Metasearch sites, a comparison of your ranking on OTA vs your decided comp-set and eyeball competition. Advanced tools even support event tracking for your city to enable a prior change in hotel room rates if required. Competitors can safeguard you against the failure of any new business practice in the industry and if it becomes a success, one can follow the suite.• Focus on Hotel Brand Image and Online Reputation – Developing strong costumers loyalties can help a hotel stand out from the competition. Reviews about your hotels matter a lot to build a strong brand image. Customer reviews and rating have a direct correlation with customer booking preference and thus revenue. Even the most competitive pricing can fail to lure the customers if the reviews are not positive. As per a research, only the price is more valued over the positive reviews in online travel booking. However, many consumers expressed that they will not book a room in a hotel in the absence of positive reviews, even if the price is very low.The industry is realizing that managing Online Reputation Management is not a one-day job and not an easy one to do. Especially with so many social media sites, review sites to track your guest reviews as guests are present everywhere. Brands images are created over years and broken in a moment. A very strong reason so many hotels whether independent or hotel groups are adopting Online Reputation Management Tools. Major hotels are increasingly using it for restaurant reputation management also.Some of the DONT’S a revenue manager should follow while creating strategies for better revenue generation are as follows.• Impractical Offers – Exclusive offers and packages are new fads and they are no doubt a powerful technique of luring the customers for bookings. However, a revenue manager should be well aware of the potential of the hotel to grab bookings without offers. Often it has been observed that revenue managers keep running useless offers just to follow their competition, shedding a chunk of hotel revenue.• Overbooking – Booking more than available inventory under the fear of cancellations may sometimes prove an intelligent move. However, this process should be highly optimized since any wrong assumption can lead to trouble for customer inflicting serious damage to the Hotel’s brand image.• Reliability on Single/Limited Channel for Selling – A smart revenue manager never relies on one a few booking channel for selling their room inventory and always keeps a profitable mix of OTA channels for grabbing more bookings. Hesitation in accepting the new approaches by Revenue Managers can be a reason for a hotel lagging in revenue generation. RMs should also monitor the performance of each of their channel partners. Set booking targets for all channels, check the volume of booking and Length of Stay (LOS) of bookings, analyze their profitability, etc. However, at the same time keeping the focus on direct bookings as well and walk-ins. This not only decreases hotel dependency on OTAs but also helps save heavy OTA commissions, thereby increasing profits.• Neglecting Social Media- Social media has emerged as the most raw and honest platform for customers to express their reviews, share their experiences and voicing their complaints and even booking. Being ignorant of the power of social media can be a suicidal and hence, a revenue manager should ensure proper engagement of hotel staff and management with the customers on social media.• Playing too safe – Business is about being bold and taking calculated risks. Playing too safe and practicing mundane business practices can keep your bread coming, but for a business to flourish it is very crucial to take risks. By employing latest strategies, taking less walked roads, the results can be extraordinary. A revenue manager should know the art of taking calibrated risks.With time passing by, many new approaches would be tested, some of them would work and some of them might fail. In this competition-ridden industry, change is the only constant and revenue managers should brace themselves for any kind of turbulence that industry may witness.

The Advantages of a Spa and Its Services

A spa can offer a variety of services for their customers. These are usually aimed at helping their customers with their well-being and relaxation. There are several types of facilities that care for the well-being and relaxation of their customers but the aim of most of these facilities are to satisfy their customers.AdvantagesThere are many advantages in visiting a spa and using their services. One of the foremost benefits of doing so is the calm and relaxation that one feels in the place. It is not just in the place that a person may feel calm and relaxed but also when the person leaves it. More often than not, the peace and calm that one finds here is brought out with the individual up to the house. Many people feel tranquil and very relaxed after a treatment. This feeling of well-being and relaxation is something that a lot of people want to have which is why a lot of people go to spas to receive services and treatments. Apart from the ease and relaxation that basically comes when in the place as well as afterwards, the individual might also be able to get a good rest or sleep during the massage as well as when he or she has reached their home. Some people are so worked up that they cannot sleep well without getting a massage.A spa hires experts who know the different techniques and methods as well as the applications to massage a customer. Some of these places also request that their workers undergo a seminar or a workshop that will teach them the right way to massage and treat a customer. Keeping up to date with the techniques and methods that are used to treat clients is a good way to keep these clients satisfied. Being able to sleep and get a good rest is a priority for many people. Another advantage that comes from visiting this place is the beautification and improvement of the physical appearance that an individual may get from the treatments. Many of these treatments and services are aimed at improving the appearance of an individual as well as maintaining it. Facials are often described as being able to prevent the occurrence of acne and other blemishes.Body wraps can also improve the person’s skin while some of the services are aimed at helping the individual lose weight or firm parts of the body. Laser, light and waves are also used to make improvements on the individual’s body. A spa needs to keep up with the latest innovations and technology that are usually focused on improving the instruments and gadgets that are used on the clients. More and more equipment is developed to meet the high standards of the clients in order to help them achieve the improvement that they crave. Another advantage to using the treatment or services in a spa is being able to leave behind the worries and anxieties of work and daily life.