A positive way of controlling fraudsters

Some of the biggest concerns for accommodation managers are runners, souvenir takers, property damage and credit card fraud.   

Daily feedback to shows these to be among the major problems faced by the accommodation industry.

There are also the problem guests – party goers, drug associates, website blackmailers, scammers and sex workers that are headaches for many accommodation providers. How can you be sure the next guest you check in does not fit into any of the above categories?

guestTRAX is a web-based solution that stores information of persons whose actions cause a financial impact on members of the accommodation industry. The system was awarded an Australian and New Zealand patent in 2004 based on its unique features of recording intelligence for use by the accommodation sector.

By listing problem guests on guestTRAX, it warns other accommodation providers and following the company’s requirements averts privacy issues. The company has a loyal band of big name followers including Best Western Australasia, Choice Hotels Australia, Golden Chain Motels, QParks and Thrifty Motels.

Managing director and founder, Bruce Nicholls comes from a law enforcement background having worked for five years in Australian Customs, and then with the Queensland Police for 30 years. He says, “We use the parent company, Webcodes P/L, to provide a number of other services that complement the role of guestTRAX. The incidence of credit card fraud across the world in this industry prompted Webcodes to concentrate their knowledge base in this area, with a view to preparing property owners with the tools and knowledge on how to deal with the handling of these forms of financial transactions.”

Membership is open to all members of the accommodation industry and currently includes hotels, motels, resorts, holiday parks, B&Bs and managed apartments.

“With the advent of the global financial crisis that is having an affect on businesses of all types, our directors decided to undertake a review of our administrative systems and functions, with a view to be able to provide a more cost effective and efficient method of conducting the guestTRAX side of the business.

“We have eliminated the annual fee (except for those who still want it) and instead, members can now pay a simple monthly fee, (or whatever period is requested) based on the number of rooms in operation at the property, payable as a direct debit to the member’s nominated credit card.

“One of the key features membership offers, is the alerts service. This allows for the efficient and timely notification of all member properties by the sending of a single email of offender intelligence, alerting them of possible activity in their area, as well as the receiving of requests for police assistance to assist with their inquiries,” Mr Nicholls said.

“No sector of the industry is immune from credit card fraud, scammers or thieves and it is our primary goal to be able to provide members in all sectors of the accommodation industry with quality information to allow them the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding guests staying with them, and to have the opportunity to prevent the possible financial and non financial loss which may affect the business profits adversely,” Mr Nicholls said.

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