Security Issues With Online Hotel And Ticket Booking Websites

The Internet has quietly revolutionized the world. It has made completion of tasks easy and fast, making us dependent on it heavily for almost every aspect of our life. One of the earliest revolutions took place in the banking industry, followed by the ticket booking services, after the US military made their ARPANET project public and allowed universities and businesses to take advantage of this wonderful technology.

Interestingly, computer and programming nerds create primitive web based ticket booking systems with the Java language, which is considered by many as the language of the internet. They do so for their academic projects in their schools and colleges and these applications are insignificant with respect to the commercial versions. However, the case was discussed to make the reader realize the popularity of theses internet based ticket booking applications.

Now, coming to the main point, online ticket booking and hotel reservation systems often provide the option of paying the required amount online, which is referred to as wire transfer in common man’s language. These websites use third party plug-ins through APIs, that integrates their website’s database with the bank’s computer systems and servers through a software-defined network device called the Payment Gateway.

Generally, these payment gateways are extremely secure environments that employ Secured Socket Layer or SSL algorithms, which can be 64 bit or 128 bit encryption algorithms, based on the requirement. 128 bit SSL algorithms are the most secure algorithms deployed in public domain for the purpose of securing fund transfer environments and encrypt the sensitive information with a highly secure process that is extremely difficult to crack by present standards.

The problem, or rather the loopholes lie with the internal data storage mechanisms deployed by the third party ticket booking websites. Sometimes, to reduce the cost associated with maintaining the security standards high, these websites do not take adequate measure to ensure that the payment related information are safe in their servers. It might also be the fact that their server or database administrators are not skilled enough to ensure stringent security measures are deployed.

It may happen that while no security breach takes place on part of your bank’s transfer system, security loopholes might exist in the hotel’s or the airline’s own website. If their servers are hacked and the data is appropriately mined by any expert hacker, your entire details regarding the financial transaction, including your credit card details, will be in front of the hacker.

The hacker can simply download or copy the information to some other system of his own and use the same to perform unauthorized transactions and fund transfers. Although banks deploy double-layered verification methods to mitigate such frauds, the process is far from being full-proof.

Thus, think twice before you trust third party hotel and ticket booking service. Even the best hotel booking service providers are vulnerable to such server attacks by cyber experts and they do very little to plug the loopholes in their systems and servers.

Holiday and Travel Insurance Trends in the Recession

Like many industries, luxury holiday operators are showing signs of the downturn. There are airlines, holiday insurance companies and travel companies reporting significant losses. Everywhere you look there are offers to tempt you into making a booking. Even the stalwart British Airways have posted losses in the region of £400m.

It is a risky and exciting time, depending on your point of view. Some travellers have taken advantage of holiday destinations that have been hit the hardest. Holidays to Iceland are yielding good value because of a favourable exchange rate following the collapse of Icelandic banks. On the other side of the coin, British travellers in Europe are noticing how the weak pound compared to the Euro can make things seem expensive.

Since holidays can amount to a significant financial outlay, what is crucial is that every traveller gets adequate protection for their holiday and the money they spend. The financial protection and assurance that comes with cheap holiday insurance is a vital precaution, perhaps more than it ever has been.

Although holiday makers going abroad may be reluctant to trust their money with travel insurance from struggling companies like AIG, the risk of your holidays – in which you’ve invested your heard-earned wages – being disrupted are as evident as ever. As well as delays caused by strikes, collapses such as that of the XL travel company late in 2008 will serve as a warning. It resulted in twenty one planes staying put, and about 85,000 travellers being stranded across the globe. This incident shows how important it is to look at whether your holiday insurance company will cover the cancellation of a holiday once it has begun – some don’t, including many of the Irish travel insurance companies.

Such problems have shown the value of choosing holidays carrying the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) scheme, which refunds the traveller when holiday providers fall through on their promises. Worryingly, the proportion of holiday makers protected by ATOL has diminished by about a third in the last ten years owing to increased numbers of people arranging their own flights. For these intrepid souls, getting cheap holiday insurance takes on paramount importance. It can reimburse you when you are forced by delays or cancellations to make alternate plans.

You would expect that ‘tightening the purse strings’ would mean many families postponing their holiday all together this year; what the economic downturn has done is cause a resurgence in people taking holidays closer to home. UK based resorts like Butlins are reporting increased bookings.

A survey conducted by The Post Office has shown that 25% of people taking their holidays in the UK will do it without the protection of some cheap holiday insurance. This is partly because the traditional two weeks abroad is frequently being exchanged for a series of long weekends, where people may wrongly think of travel insurance is unnecessary. It will provide cover for incidents where hotels close, domestic flights lose luggage, and even pay for hospital transfers after an accident.

Application Areas For Keysafes And Keyboxes – Hotels And Holiday Homes

Holiday, here we come!

Personal receipt of keys from the host is still the best way to start to a relaxing, wonderful and unforgettable hotel or holiday home vacation. For more than one reason, this is one of the most important parts of the greeting procedure upon arrival at the holiday destination.

A personal and warm welcome by the hotelier or landlord makes the check-in at the hotel or vacation home twice as nice. Not only does it provide the newly arrived guests with quick and easy access to their accommodation.

On-site presence of friendly, qualified and service-oriented staff and direct contact to the host creates a familiar, intimate and stress-free atmosphere already upon arrival and makes it much easier to get into holiday mood right away from the start.

This way, the guests immediately feel home and well looked after. They realize that they are in good hands and that they don´t have to care for themselves and don´t have to worry about anything – best conditions to enjoy the best time of the year.

Surely the hotelier wouldn’t want to keep his guests waiting for several hours at closed doors without being taken care of and without direct access to their accommodation. They would be exhausted from the journey and wasting their precious time sitting on their luggage.

This would leave them without orientation, causing them stress and displeasure and making them feel they have to organise their holiday by themselves. This is definitely not what they are looking for. They expect a bit more service and truly deserve an all-round carefree vacation package.

The ritualised welcoming procedure is everyday, common practice in main tourist hotspots all over the world and in all major international hotel chains. Here, quick, easy and secure handover of keys during check-in proceeds quite smoothly as these hotels are open 24 hours a day and have receptions occupied all around the clock.

But reality is mostly quite different in remotely located holiday destinations and in smaller hotels off the beaten tourist track – much to the vacationers´ discomfort. For economic reasons, many smaller hotels and holiday home agencies simply cannot afford permanently occupied receptions.

Moreover, in isolated, less well accessible villages, the hotel-keeper or the landlord often do not live nearby, leaving the reception unoccupied or the hotel closed most time of the day, especially in the off-season – so here quick, easy and secure handover of keys is the exception rather than the rule most time of the year.

In these cases, key safes are an ideal solution. More than any other safety product, they allow easy, secure and comfortable deposit and handover of keys and key cards to holiday guests, providing them with quick and direct access to their accommodation 24 hours a day.

Use of key boxes has many advantages for both the landlord and the vacationers especially in the case of a delayed arrival of the guests due to flights suspended or cancelled at short notice or late bus and train connections.

If the travelers´ time schedule is disrupted by unforeseen flight cancellations or suspensions and if they can´t inform their host in time about their delayed arrival, they don´t have to keep him waiting all day because easy, secure and comfortable handover of keys can also be accomplished even in the absence of the hotelier by use of key safes.