Hospitality Law
John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • How to Combat EEOC Retaliation Claims
  • Retaliation continues to be the most common claim brought against employers before governmental agencies and in the civil court system. According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces Federal labor laws, the EEOC received 42,018 charges of retaliation in 2016. That means that a retaliation claim was asserted in 45.9% of all charges submitted. This is more than discrimination based on race and more than discrimination based on disability. Even more concerning is the consistent uptick in retaliation charges, which have increased in number every year since 1997. So, what can employers do to protect themselves against this ever-growing threat? Read on...

Dana Kravetz
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Outlook for Hotel and Resort Operators Post-BFI
  • Eighteen months since the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revised its standard for the imposition of joint employer liability, and hoteliers remain in a state of legal limbo, unsure what 2017 and beyond have in store on the issue. For those hotel and resort operators whose best response to the question, “how should we continue to move forward in the wake of BFI?” is a shrug of the shoulders, a current scorecard for your consideration. The NLRB shook the hotel franchisor/franchisee landscape with its jaw-dropping Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI) decision back in August 2015, which drastically eased the criteria for a company to be considered a joint employer. Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • Tip-Pooling Practices May be a Thing of the Past
  • Tip-pooling is a common method for restaurants and similar service businesses to allow back of the house staff and others to share in tips received from customers. However, the US Department of Labor’s regulations and recent rulings by the Ninth Circuit have effectively made tip pooling a thing of the past. This article will explore the current state of tip-pooling laws and the effect that Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, may have on tip-pooling and other regulations in the years to come. Read on...

Albert Pucciarelli
  • Hospitality Law
  • When to Use Expert Determination in Hotel Disputes
  • When we think about alternative dispute resolutions, our first thoughts are likely go to mediation and arbitration. This article, however, discusses a third option – expert determination – whereby the parties who have been unable to resolve a dispute generally concerning a specific, technical matter, look to a specifically qualified individual to decide the matter for them. Read on...

Steven D. Weber
  • Hospitality Law
  • Your Hospitality Industry Trade Secrets May be at Risk
  • Many of today’s hospitality consumers are not only looking for a place to rest their head, but also for a one-of-a-kind experience. If the ingredients for such an experience are stored on computers, in e-mails, in manuals, or even in the heads of employees, then they are susceptible to misappropriation. The risk of misappropriation is compounded by the ease by which employees today may misappropriate those trade secrets by using their smart devices to take photographs, send e-mails, and transfer files. Waiting until the unthinkable happens is unacceptable. Read on...

Amy Bailey
  • Hospitality Law
  • Why is the Hotel Industry a Target for FLSA Prosecutions?
  • There's a big red bulls eye in the hotel industry. In fact, accommodation and food services ranks #1 in sheer volume for wage and hour prosecutions by the Department of Labor. That’s 24.4% of all the cases that have been brought since 1985. To put that number into perspective, hotels, restaurants, and bars—from the behemoths to the holes in the wall—have been required to pay more than $276 million in government prosecutions alone, with an average payout of $9.5k for every business affected. Read on...

Banks Brown
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Chink in the Armor of the Communications Decency Act
  • CDA § 230 is shorthand for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (2016). It is the law cited by short term rental companies (“STRC”), such as Airbnb, when they argue with city and state governments and in the courts that their businesses are not subject to state and local regulation. It is fair to say that the STRCs are of the opinion that city and state governments are nearly powerless to regulate them in any way whatsoever, absent their consent. Read on...

William A. Brewer
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Challenges and Opportunities of Foreign Investment in the U.S. Hospitality Market
  • They’re Coming to the U.S.A. Foreign investors are making headlines as they take ever bigger positions in the U.S. hospitality market. Notably, the structure of the hotel management agreement (HMA) – a complex and often misunderstood instrument – has major legal implications for foreign owners and managers. In this article, we explore the friction between owners and operators whose interests are not always aligned – particularly during periods of economic downturn. Therefore, negotiating a proper HMA is critical to governing the relationship. Read on...

Theodore C. Max
  • Hospitality Law
  • Digital Marketing: Native Advertising and Online Influencers in the Hospitality Industry
  • The FTC’s has stepped up enforcement of social media advertising in the entertainment and fashion industries and this effort is likely to continue and expand to other industries. Advertisers and retailers in the travel tourism and hospitality industry need to be mindful to make sure that if any content is sponsored or any influencer or spokesperson is paid to promote a product or services online, a clear and conspicuous disclosure is required. It is possible that FTC enforcement also may soon target individual influencers and require clear and conspicuous disclosures by them regarding the endorsement of products or services for compensation. Read on...

Lynn K. Cadwalader
  • Hospitality Law
  • The EB-5 Visa Program: The Outlook for 2017
  • Looking forward to 2017, the EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program will face both challenges and opportunities. Fortunately for the Hospitality Industry, hotels are still ideal projects for EB-5 financing. In this Article, I will discuss some of the major issues and impacts on the EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program anticipated for 2017, and review the benefits to financing hotels through the EB-5 Program. Read on...

David M. Samuels, Esq.
  • Hospitality Law
  • On Guard - The Shifting Landscape of Guest Privacy
  • When it comes to guest privacy, the operational landscape has changed dramatically over the last two years. Historically, “service” has referred to attending to guests’ needs in relation to such things as in-room amenities, quality of sleep, dining and entertainment options, cleanliness, etc. But, the book ends formed by the Supreme Court’s pronouncement in its 2015 Patel decision and the high-profile Erin Andrews matter in 2016, have created an entirely new operational landscape where protecting guest privacy must be an integral element of every hotel’s “service” model. Read on...

Anne  Alexander
  • Hospitality Law
  • Beyond the Twice-Used Towel: Using PACE Financing to "Green" Hotels
  • It is no secret in the hospitality industry that a tremendous amount of energy, water and other resources is required to serve guests. However, the industry as a whole has taken steps to become more energy and resource efficient within the last ten years. We are all familiar with the placards found in most hotel rooms today, asking guests to indicate whether they want their sheets and towels changed on a daily basis or whether they will use them again. While hotels historically washed sheets and towels every night even when there was no turnover in the room. Read on...

Luis J. Gonzalez
  • Hospitality Law
  • Tip the Scales in Your Favor by Providing Tipped Employees with Adequate Written Notice
  • Complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulations for tipped employees continues to present challenges for hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry. While recent attention has been paid to proper tip pooling practices (employers requiring certain tipped employees to chip in a portion of their tips, which are then divided among a group of employees), equal attention must be given to the FLSA’s mandatory notice provision to tipped employees. A continuing trend in wage and hour lawsuits stems from the employer’s failure to give the tipped employee the required notice. Read on...

John R. Hunt
  • Hospitality Law
  • An Update on the Ability of the Police to Search Hotel Records
  • Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that placed restrictions on the ability of law enforcement officers to inspect hotel guest registers and other records. Many local laws, which had authorized unlimited police inspections, suddenly were rendered unconstitutional. This article reviews that decision and discusses the developments that have occurred in this area during the past year. Until recently, hotels in many jurisdictions routinely provided the police with access to their guest registers without much concern about the privacy issues that might be involved. After all, numerous cities and towns possessed ordinances that required hotels to collect specific guest information and allowed the police inspect the information upon request. Read on...

Francesca A. Ippolito-Craven
  • Hospitality Law
  • How Hotels Can Minimize the Bite of the Zika Virus
  • The Zika virus has created a potential myriad of legal issues that should be considered by hotel owners and operators in the United States and its territories, particularly in light of the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the Zika virus infection and its associated congenital and other neurological disorders continues to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also advised that pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel to locales that have been zoned areas of active transmission. Read on...

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APRIL: Guest Service: The Personalized Experience

Scott Hale

Home sweet home. Your dog recognizes the sound of your car pulling in the drive and waits anxiously for you at the front door. Your thermostat knows the temperature that you expect the kitchen to be as you prepare dinner. Your stereo knows what playlist works best with tonight’s recipe. Your television has your preferred programming all cued up when you’re done with your meal. The list goes on. Home sweet home. What if you could make your guests’ next experience at your hotel just like home – but better? You can. Read on...

Tom O'Rourke

Mobile devices are not only important when planning trips, they are indispensable to guests when they are on the actual trip. According to the Expedia and Egencia Mobile Index published last year, travelers rank their smartphones as their top priority when on the go. Mobile devices are so important that survey respondents ranked them higher than a toothbrush or a driver’s license. The mobile experience extends beyond the point of booking the room—it’s now an integral part of the journey. Read on...

Adele Gutman

Before the first shovel was in the ground, we knew Aria Hotel Budapest would be an extraordinary hotel. For the Library Hotel Collection and our founder, Henry Kallan, creating a hotel that is beyond ordinary is everything. We think about each detail of the design and experience to create wow factors for our guests. These elements generate rave reviews, and rave reviews are the cornerstone of our marketing program. This is how we became the #1 Hotel in the World in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. Read on...

Megan Wenzl

A personalized guest experience is important in today’s hospitality industry. Guests can voice their opinion about a hotel in seconds because of the Internet, and their feedback is contained in sources like social media sites and online reviews. Potential guests read this information when they are looking for where to stay on their next summer vacation. Guests will post online reviews about their experiences. According to research by ReviewTrackers, 45 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave to a review after a negative experience, while 37.6 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave a review after a positive experience Read on...

Coming Up In The May Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability
The hotel industry continues to make remarkable progress in implementing sustainability policies and procedures in their properties throughout the world. As a result, they continue to reap the benefits of increased profitability, enhanced guest experiences, and improved community relations. In addition, as industry standards are codified and adopted worldwide, hotels can now compare how their operations measure up against their competitors in terms of sustainable practices and accomplishments. This capacity to publicly compare and contrast is spurring competition and driving innovation as hotels do not wish to be left behind in this area. Water management and conservation is still a primary issue as population growth, urbanization, pollution and wasteful consumption patterns place increasing demands on freshwater supply. Water recycling; installing low-flow fixtures; using digital sensors to control water usage; and even harvesting rainwater are just a few things that some hotels are doing to preserve this precious resource. Waste management is another major concern. Through policies of reduce, reuse and recycle, some hotels are implementing “zero-waste” programs with the goal of substantially reducing their landfill waste which produces carbon dioxide and methane gases. Other hotels have established comprehensive training programs that reinforce the value of sustainability. There is employee engagement through posters and quizzes, and even contests are held to increase innovation, sensitivity and environmental awareness. Some hotels are also monitoring a guest’s energy usage and rewarding those who consumed less energy with gifts and incentives. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating eco-friendly practices into their operations and how they and the environment are benefiting from them.