Hospitality Law
William A. Brewer III
  • Hospitality Law
  • Rolling the Dice: There May Be Risks When Hospitality Companies Put Their Brand on Gambling
  • According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "The only constant is change." The leisure industry, not unlike other industries, is in a state of constant transition. With change comes risk; the risk associated with entering a new business, and the risk of lost opportunity. As recently as 1978, Nevada was the only state to offer casino gambling. However, significant developments have taken place in the latter half of the 1990's, as the number of states permitting casino gambling increased from one, to 27 by the new millennium. Casinos can now be found on riverboats and in resort locations, perhaps with the most explosive growth occurring on Indian reservations. Not surprisingly, with the expansion of casinos and the popularity of commercial gaming, Nevada was one of the fastest growing states during the second half of the 20th century. Read on...

Al DeNapoli
  • Hospitality Law
  • Liquidated Damages: Protecting Your Franchise's Good Name
  • Cicero tells the story how in ancient Syracuse, Damocles gave back the throne to the reigning king when he realized the king had perched above him a sword hanging from a fine thread. Liquidated damages, in some instances, work like the proverbial "Sword of Damocles": hovering above the parties as a threat in case of a breach of contract. While the law in each state differs as to the use and acceptance of liquidated damages, the most widely-used basis for a generic explanation of the concept of liquidated damages comes from the Restatement of the Law: Contract Second... Read on...

Marjorie Obod
  • Hospitality Law
  • Minimum Wage Violations in the Restaurant Industry
  • The hospitality industry is particularly susceptible to minimum wage violation because of the unique compensation methods used industry wide. Minimum wage violations can result in potential civil litigation which can be both costly and time consuming for an employer. As a result this article attempts to highlight various issues surrounding minimum wage compliance. Read on...

Al DeNapoli
  • Hospitality Law
  • Strategies for Brand Protection During Retraction
  • Concerns And Strategies To Protect Your Core Concept When Growth Slow Down And Retraction Is Necessary. As the hospitality industry continues to grow, many companies - private and public - are contemplating further expansion. During the exuberance of growth, many successful businesses (those in the hospitality industry being no exception) fail to consider how the commitments they are making today that may restrict them in a cooler market. It is as important to implement sound business and legal plans - hedging if you will - in good times as it is in bad ones. Read on...

Nelson Migdal
  • Hospitality Law
  • Hotel Financing and the SNDA
  • The SNDA or Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreement is a common and familiar document in the financing arena. Even with some of the more interesting transaction structures in the REIT environment with operating leases and a careful segregation of the ownership of the real estate from the operation of the hotel, there will be an instrument intended to govern how the hotel owner, hotel manager and owner's lender will behave in the event of the hotel owner's default under its loan instruments with the lender. It is not just about Foreclosure. The form of the SNDA is often the first battleground. In the negotiation of the hotel management agreement, the owner and manager will often pre-negotiate the form of the SNDA and attach it as an exhibit to the hotel management agreement. Read on...

Laura K. Christa
  • Hospitality Law
  • Cities Square Off Against Internet Travel Providers Over Occupancy Taxes
  • Across the United States municipalities are suing Internet travel companies including Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity over hotel bookings. The reason? What they claim is a substantial underpayment of occupancy taxes. Cities like Los Angeles claim that the online sites pay occupancy taxes to the hotels based on the discounted rate at which they purchase or arrange rooms for the hotel, not at the alleged "retail" rate that they charge the customer. They claim the difference can amount to millions that rightfully belong in city coffers. Are the lawsuits a slam dunk? Not according to the Internet companies. They claim they merely add a service fee to the room rate and pass that charge on to the customer. Read on...

Nelson Migdal
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Battle of Hotel Brand Standards and the Effect on the Bottom Line
  • Brand standards not only effect the guest experience, but they also effect the value placed on the hotel by hotel owners, lenders and investors. The juxtaposition between the desire of the brand to upgrade its brand standards and the desire of the hotel owner, lenders and investors to keep a tight grip on the bottom line can be complicated - and the brand standards are a critical component in the equation. The pendulum appears to be swinging in the direction of greater influence being exerted by the easily recognized and well known branded hotels. The credit world finds comfort in a name on a hotel that has a solid history and reputation, and investors seem to be similarly eased by mobilizing capital resources into a branded hotel. But what is the brand standard in the area of hotel operations and management? Read on...

Dan Brown
  • Hospitality Law
  • Common Legal Issues that Confront Hotel Operators
  • The ultimate responsibility and goal of a hotel manager is to achieve a profit for the hotel's owner and ensure that the hotel's guests are happy with their stay. To that end, a hotel manager acts behind the scenes at a hotel like a puppeteer with numerous day-to-day responsibilities for nearly all aspects of a hotel's operations, including, but not limited to, supervising and managing personnel, marketing, sales, security, maintenance, and food and beverage operations. Read on...

William A. Brewer III
  • Hospitality Law
  • Territorial Restraints: The Legal Landscape for Today and Tomorrow
  • The competitive environment in the hotel industry is undergoing increasing change. Beyond mergers and consolidations, hotel and management companies are seeking to leverage their existing brand portfolios through "brand extensions" or "co-branding" relationships, particularly in the luxury segment of the market. These new relationships will almost certainly have an impact on the so-called territorial restriction provision commonly found in a management agreement - the provision that most often dictates if, and how, a hotel operator can compete with a hotel owner. In considering what that impact might be in this evolving legal landscape, owners and operators should ask themselves three basic, but critically important questions. Read on...

Tara K. Gorman
  • Hospitality Law
  • Hotel Management Agreements and Bankruptcy
  • From the looks of it, doom and gloom seem to surround us at every turn. We hear and read about the downturn in the economy in the newspapers, on the evening news, from the Sunday morning "talking heads", at cocktail parties and business events, around the water cooler and even in supermarket tabloids. This economic downturn is affecting every industry - including the hospitality industry. More and more hotel owners may begin to find themselves in financial turmoil and may have to turn to bankruptcy as a solution to a very difficult set of circumstances. Read on...

AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Paul Hancock

Vegetables are no longer served as garnishes or accompaniments but, center stage in the dining scene in this day. Plate design and bold flavors are more paramount than ever. The “wow” effect is in full effect. Guests are more eager to try something new more than ever before. It is entertainment, so it has to be great and throughout the dining experience. There is a cultural shift happening right in front of our eyes with vegetables. Vegetables have been the unsung heroes of the plate for many decades. That is changing. Read on...

Robert  Hood

What does a restaurant look like in 2017? To define what a restaurant is is a difficult process and not an easy thing to do considering that foodservice has evolved so much and comes in so many shapes and sizes. In 2017 restaurants are not even defined for having chairs or tables for diners or even want diners to stay after the point of food purchase and the sale is completed. This is the world of the ‘QSR’ or ‘Quick Service Restaurant’ and since it arrived it has changed restaurant culture, our food service experiences on an almost daily basis, and begs the question ‘is QSR the new fine dining?’ Read on...

Chris Ferrier

Many hotels are overwhelmed by the thought of putting together a ‘buy local’ or ‘farm-to-table’ culinary program when they also have to serve many guests. Where do you start? Should chefs contact all the local farms, breweries, wineries, fish mongers, meat and poultry farms in their area? Should they visit each farm? Many years ago, this was what we did; but with 1,200 meals to prepare, often we would clear out the farmers’ goods and still not have enough for what we needed. Read on...

Bobby Martyna

A key trend in hotel development is making the hotel lobby a destination for guests. Where in the past, the focus was primarily on the guest room, moving forward, brands and independents are looking to transform the lobby into a space where guests can socialize, work, snack and dine. In order for the lobby destination to be both compelling and memorable, the retail design, visual merchandising and food selection need to convey what is special about the location and must work together to deliver a surpassing guest experience. Read on...

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.