Tackling MAC Address Randomization in Hotels in a Post-Pandemic World
In a new era of privacy protection, hotel loyalty programs and property network administrators need to prepare: Identifying guests online is about to get a lot harder with MAC address randomization. There is significant impact of MAC address randomization on hotel loyalty programs, multi-property hospitality networks, and the hospitality industry as a whole in the aftermath of COVID 19. There will be a very real fallout from the network friction caused by MAC randomization. Is there a solution to keep guests happy and loyal while protecting guest privacy, cybersecurity, and hotel bottom lines? Yes, there is.
How Will You Deliver a Personalized Wi-Fi Experience in the Age of MAC Randomization?
While Apple, Google, and Microsoft are upping their game in online privacy protections by implementing MAC address randomization—regularly changing the de facto identity of a device—guests’ have increasing expectations for hotel technology, especially coming off a year of pandemic living.
The result is a perfect storm of challenges for hotel network operators:
- MAC address randomization makes it difficult to determine exactly who is accessing your network.
- Guest identification on the hotel wi-fi is essential in providing personalized features and services.
- Pandemic-age travel means guests spend more time in room with increased expectations for a home-away-from-home wi-fi experience.
Major Impacts of MAC Address Randomization to Hospitality
Post Pandemic, Guest Expectations of the Network Are Increasing
Key to bringing guests back after COVID 19 is making them feel safe on your property while delivering a more “home-like” technology experience.
The network is a critical component of the emerging guest strategy. People have lived their life online for a year during the pandemic. They will expect features of this lifestyle to continue post pandemic. It’s the new normal.
Post-pandemic guests may want to throw a Zoom call up on the hotel-room TV. They may want to turtle in their rooms instead of going down to the bar, hooking into their Netflix or Xbox accounts, or perhaps ordering food delivery through their smartphone, consolidating it with the hotel bill to ease month-end expense wrangling. New initiatives within the hotel industry even allow guests to bypass the front desk all together, resulting in uncertainty on who is on-site and who is not. This is something critical for safety measures and could be resolved if the MAC address could still be used for device identification.
The bottom line is that your guests’ expectations are increasing while hotels are losing the primary means for device identification, the MAC address, to meet those expectations.
Hotel Network Support Requests Will Increase
MAC address randomization will mean the hotel wi-fi network will not remember your guests, making their online guest experience anything but streamlined.
This increased friction will cause increased network support and a need for increased resources to resolve them. All at a time where IT departments have been reduced. Multi-property establishments will have added layers of this complexity to keep their loyal guests loyal. This will increase hotel support services and ultimately impacting hospitality net revenues.
Reduced Loyalty Will Impact Revenue and Brand
The increased friction of MAC address randomization threatens the brand promise for a premium guest experience. Brands that are unprepared for upcoming MAC Randomization changes will be at a competitive disadvantage, especially when it comes to loyalty programs and VIP treatment that are reliant on personalization.
Make Your Brand Shine. Reduce Online Friction for Your Guests
As a network security professional, what can you do to protect privacy, network experience and your bottom line?
The LEVL-IQ Platform for MAC Address Randomization
The LEVL-IQ platform balances guest privacy with security and the ability to personalize a premium quality experience, using a LEVL-ID instead of the MAC address for device identification.
Guest Privacy Protection
The LEVL-IQ platform does not capture your guests’ personally identifiable information (PII) and does not store any information on the device as MAC addresses do, rife for harvesting by opportunistic data brokers and apps. LEVL-IQ does not transmit information over the air. Best of all the LEVL-IQ platform is not network specific for guest privacy protection, and for preventing undesired device tracking.
Network Performance Protection
The LEVL-IQ platform detects quality of service (QoS) issues, anomalies in device behavior, and device spoofing. LEVL-IQ looks at anonymized software and hardware characteristics to identify devices. It recognizes them over time and between networks for multi-property establishments.
Easy Deployment and Implementation
The LEVL-IQ platform is a cloud-based implementation, and it is easy to integrate, maintain and deploy with existing systems. It requires nothing of guests. There is no app to install on a device or any website that needs to be visited for login.
Low Total Cost of Ownership
The LEVL-IQ Platform has a low total cost of ownership, low friction and low overhead. It only uses limited hardware resources to deploy on a VM or a low-cost server.
Major Hotel Service Providers Are Already Working with the LEVL-IQ Platform
The LEVL-IQ platform is currently in Beta with leading hotel service providers identifying and verifying guest devices on hotel wi-fi and ethernet networks at scale. With over 1-million connections already verified by the platform, and tested with over 30K devices, the LEVL-IQ platform delivers higher than 99.5% accuracy for device identity in an average of 2.2 seconds.
To discuss how the LEVL-IQ platform can keep you delivering premium quality service while protecting your guests’ privacy in a post-pandemic, MAC- address-randomized world, book a 15-minute consult with a LEVL-IQ expert today.