The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported over 23,000 endangered runaway children in 2018. One in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50% are minors. 70% of human trafficking is linked to organized crime. Hotels across the U.S. are being used to shuffle children in and out of rooms for sexual exploitation and hoteliers are increasingly under scrutiny to do something about it. Lawsuits are being filed from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and six-figure settlements are being paid by hotel brands to settle human trafficking lawsuits.

Hotels and motels are a common venue for human trafficking due to ease of access for buyers, ability to pay in cash and maintain secrecy through finances, and lack of facility maintenance or upkeep expenses. According to Homeland Security, Traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity accessible through the hospitality industry. Hotels and motels can be especially attractive locations. Historically, hoteliers haven't routinely been trained about human trafficking in hotels, so traffickers count hotels as anonymous and low risk.

The AHLA has recently launched an industry-wide 'No Room for Trafficking' campaign to raise awareness among hoteliers and staff about the problem and help educate them to spot signs of human trafficking in their properties. The goal of the campaign is to unite the industry around a single, comprehensive approach to fighting human trafficking. As part of the campaign, the AHLA will be providing new resources and materials for members on the subject as well as partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement nationwide.

Hoteliers can take one simple step today to stop traffickers from using their property as well as prevent them from targeting the hotel in the first place. As mentioned above, the human trafficking trade thrives on anonymity. Remove the ability for guests to access rooms in an anonymous fashion and you deprive traffickers of the life blood of their operation. That's where mobile keyless entry comes in.

Mobile keyless entry requires a smartphone and unique phone number that is captured by a front desk platform or property management system for a digital key to be created and sent to the guest. Every time the room is accessed, the unique mobile number is captured and reported back to the front desk platform, giving the hotel maximum control over guestroom access and visibility into exactly who is coming and going in the rooms. Although many pre-paid flip phones (also called 'burner phones') now have Bluetooth capability, they are not capable of using an app for guestroom access. This eliminates an important workaround for bad actors who use these phones to maintain their anonymity.

Research is proving that consumers are gravitating towards a preference to use their mobile device as a room key in hotels. One study shows that 73% of guests want to bypass the front desk and 63% would prefer a mobile key solution. Hilton now offers mobile key at over 4,000 hotels worldwide. Marriott has implemented mobile key in over 500 hotels globally so far. Nearly every major hotel brand has mobile keyless entry on their hotel technology roadmap. Mobile keyless entry represents one area of hotel technology where the needs of hoteliers, desires of guests and prevention of trafficking are in perfect alignment.

About Openkey

OpenKey powers digital key access for hotels worldwide. Beginning in 2014, we set out to perfect mobile hospitality access. Since then, our team has helped hotels and resorts around the world develop a contactless guest experience benefitting our customers as much as their delighted guests. OpenKey's platform enables a seamless transition to contactless guest services with Digital Key entry, hotel-specific apps, and much more, to complete a tailored mobile check-in and stay experience. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. For more information, please visit

OpenKey, Inc. is majority owned by Ashford Inc. (NYSE American: AINC), Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT) and Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: BHR) (collectively, the "Parent Companies"). Certain statements and assumptions in this press release contain or are based upon "forward-looking" information and are being made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, among others, statements about OpenKey's growth, expansion opportunities and implementation of Digital Key technology. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. Such statements are also subject to numerous assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control.

These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, without limitation: the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the resurgence of cases relating to the spread of the Delta, Omicron or other potential variants, that could cause state and local governments to reinstate travel restrictions and the rate of adoption and efficacy of vaccines to prevent COVID-19, on our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations; our ability to continue as a going concern; our understanding of our competition; market trends; projected capital expenditures; the impact of technology on our operations and business; general volatility of the capital markets; availability, terms and deployment of capital; availability of qualified personnel; changes in our industry and the markets in which we operate, interest rates or the general economy; and the degree and nature of our competition. These and other risk factors are more fully discussed in the Parent Companies" filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The forward-looking statements included in this press release are only made as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations of our future performance taking into account all information currently known to us. These beliefs, assumptions, and expectations can change as a result of many potential events or factors, not all of which are known to us. If a change occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans, and other objectives may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should carefully consider this risk when you make an investment decision concerning the Parent Companies" securities. Investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We can give no assurance that these forward-looking statements will be attained or that any deviation will not occur. We are not obligated to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances, changes in expectations, or otherwise, except to the extent required by law.

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