The Biggest Dangers To Your Attendees - And How To Keep Them Safe

Posted by Karen Ruby on 08/18/2016

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From Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, to a wine bar in Germany, to a sniper just blocks from Lanyon’s home office in Dallas, instances of extreme violence are happening more and more often – it seems that danger is everywhere.

Fortunately, physical danger is a rarity at meetings and events. But we’ve seen an increase in a different kind of threat in our industry: hackers using meetings & events to steal personal information from insecure devices.

Meeting & event planners now go beyond an attendee’s physical security at their event, to also focus their attention on how to keep everyone’s personal information secure as well.

At GBTA Convention 2016, the phrase “Duty of Care” was brought up countless times – showing how relevant this topic is to the entire industry.  

I had the opportunity to sit in on a powerful duty-of-care-themed session at GBTA 2016, hosted by Kevin Iwamoto, from Lanyon’s Strategic Advisory Board and Goldspring Consulting, and Theresa Thomas from IJet – “Risk Management As It Relates To Group Travel And The False Sense Of Security We Have When Attending Meetings And Events.”

This session really resonated with me, due to my background in both meeting planning and aviation security. In both industries, there is extreme focus on personal safety and protecting personal information.

While we can’t all become security experts overnight, there are some best practices you can follow to keep your attendees safe.

I’ve compiled 3 quick tips that my customers actually use to keep their attendees’ personal information secure:

1.     Provide a “shred station” at the Registration Desk. Barcodes on airline baggage tags and boarding passes pose a huge threat to traveling attendees – one they might not even be aware of. The barcodes contain personal information that identity thieves love to get their hands on! Communicate the dangers of simply throwing these items away to your attendees – a provide them a place to shred them at your event’s check-in! Your attendees will feel empowered by protecting themselves, and will feel safer at your event.

Bonus: Remind them to hit the shredding station again on the last day of the event, so they can shred their badge with barcodes & QR codes.

2.     Remind attendees to take off their badges when they’re leaving the event. A person wearing a badge around their neck symbolizes that they’re in from out of town, and are part of a large group – which makes them a larger target for anyone with unsavory intent. Being in a noticeably-large group also poses a threat for hackers interested in “bluesnarfing” or “bluebugging” – more on that below!

3. Ask attendees to turn off their Bluetooth.Bluejacking” is a form of hacking that is used to send spam messages – honestly, it’s more annoying than harmful. However, “Bluesnarfing” and “Bluebugging” are more invasive forms of hacking that can place your attendees’ personal information at risk. Simply turning off Bluetooth capabilities while you’re in large crowds and close quarters is your best bet for keeping your personal information secure.  

To get safety tips, information and other valuable resource guides, check out this complete guide to your event’s security.

About the Author:
Karen is a Customer Success Advisor at Lanyon. Her background includes 10+ years with American Airlines and Director Of Curriculum Development for Animas Ground Services, an aviation security firm. Karen is an avid foodie who loves to travel!


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