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You have been asked to draft a letter to guests to address concerns about the impacts of possible cyber attacks. This particular letter should reassure guests that the company is taking positive steps to protect guest privacy. The guests’ concerns extend beyond privacy of information in databases. There have been news reports detailing situations where hackers have attacked internal building monitoring and control systems to spy on guests and invade their privacy.

In order to write an effective notification letter, it is first necessary to understand the legal requirements for such a letter. This

Data Security Breach Notice Letter guidance document

from Hutnik, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP provides guidance for companies facing the need to write notification letters. Second, you should consider the technical and people perspectives which guide the incident specific content required for such a letter.

From a


perspective, this type of attack is a

data security

problem because the attackers are stealing


by attacking at the point of creation (data at rest) and then along the transmission paths (data in transit).  The impact of this type of attack is a

loss of confidentiality.

From a


perspective, this type of attack is viewed as an attack on the privacy of guests and is categorized as a

loss of privacy.

Managers need to address this problem from all three perspectives. With internal technical staff, the conversation would revolve around

data security.

But, with guests and Guest Relations staff, the conversation needs to address concerns about the possible loss of privacy. For both audiences, the conversation needs to take place in a manner that will not expose the company to avoidable legal difficulties.

Next, we must consider the required “tone” for such a letter. The letter must be factual but, more importantly, it is necessary to show an appropriate amount of empathy and understanding for the recipient’s feelings. Empathy and emotional intelligence are important


skills for managers.



and/or acting in an

empathetic manne

r (aware of and sensitive to the emotions of guests and customers), allows a manager to respond appropriately when a cyberattack occurs.  As you write this letter, you will need to find a balance between addressing the emotional aspects of a cyberattack (need for a supportive and calming response — less information may be best) and the need to develop trust by providing information about a situation which can invoke fear and concern.

To learn more about emotional intelligence, read this definition of

Emotional Intelligence

and this discussion article about

What Emotional Intelligence Is and Is Not


Then, read about three types of




Finally, read one or more of these articles about cyber attacks that can affect hotel operations and create fear and concern among guests and employees.


Hackers use ransomware to target hotel guests’ door locks


Is Hotel Wifi Safe? No, and here’s why


20 hotels suffer hack costing tens of thousands their credit card information

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