InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which operates hotels under various brands from Holiday Inn Express to Six Senses, today confirmed the reason behind its total system outage that has been continuous for two days.
IHG acknowledges that it has been hacked instead of going through a “scheduled maintenance” (as per the notice up on its website), resulting in a complete disruption in their IT infrastructure.
You can access IHG here.
READ MORE: IHG One Rewards Rate & Bonus Points Offers
Unauthorised access to technology systems
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG or the Company) reports that parts of the Company’s technology systems have been subject to unauthorised activity. IHG’s booking channels and other applications have been significantly disrupted since yesterday, and this is ongoing.
IHG has implemented its response plans, is notifying relevant regulatory authorities and is working closely with its technology suppliers. External specialists have also been engaged to investigate the incident.
IHG is working to fully restore all systems as soon as possible and to assess the nature, extent and impact of the incident. We will be supporting hotel owners and operators as part of our response to the ongoing service disruption. IHG’s hotels are still able to operate and to take reservations directly.
A further update will be provided as and when appropriate.
We are not sure how supporting hotel owners is working when their internal systems are down, nobody is picking up the phones for their internal support, or they ring busy?
How is IHG going to support guests who cannot cancel or change their reservations, especially those with close-in cancellation policies, online or through contact centers and which may result in charges by hotels?
IHG has already lost bookings for two days, which is a catastrophe, considering that booking windows have considerably shortened due to the pandemic.
Guests and business travelers are booking last minute and not months/weeks in advance. You cannot currently book IHG-affiliated hotels other than calling individual hotels directly.
If you are an IHG One Rewards status member, the hotels cannot access their internal systems to check what your status is for elite benefits.
IHG is also very silent about the nature and extent of this hack, but considering that the systems have soon been down for two days, it must be quite invasive.
Our Previous IHG “Maintenance” Coverage
IHG finds itself in a very unfortunate situation, and if customer data has been leaked (again), it can be expected to be fined hundreds of millions by authorities in various countries.
Hotels, which have mostly farmed out reservations to IHG, and its centralized call centers, are incapable of suddenly handling them inhouse when they have hardly enough staff to manage day-to-day operations.
You cannot even book IHG hotels through OTAs or travel agents because these reservations go through, or would go through normally, IHG’s centralized systems that are currently down due to the hack.
IHG claims that its systems have been “significantly disrupted,” which is not true when they are entirely offline and down. I would call this a complete meltdown instead.
Companies, not just IHG, have not taken data security seriously and invested in IT enough for years. There is usually a reckoning day, which for IHG was this past Sunday.
I hope that IHG and its outside partners can expediently clean up this mess, or IHG hotels will soon be very quiet.
And why is there still no notice on IHG’s website or app about this hack beyond a press release?