Hospitality Law
Michael Wildes
  • Hospitality Law
  • Help from Abroad - Visa Options for the Hospitality Industry
  • An article published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management has declared that “the hospitality industry is facing a major personnel shortage.” The authors provide the following advice to hotel and hospitality managers: “demographic changes … suggest that the hospitality industry should reconsider tactics for recruitment and retention.” The authors’ advice is nothing new - hotel and hospitality managers have long struggled to find and retain suitable staff. In fact, many hotel recruiters wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the aforementioned article wasn’t published this year, this decade, or even in this century – but in 1992. Read on...

Victoria Kane
  • Hospitality Law
  • Newly Enacted Employment Regulations Affecting Hotels
  • Business planning for next year is in the works to increase revenue and profitability in uncertain economic times. Hotels are forecasting occupancy by predicting tourism trends affected by extreme weather, airline troubles, tax increases, and terrorism. However, if businesses don’t have a risk management strategy for compliance with ever-changing laws affecting employment, benefits, safety, social media use, accessibility, and privacy, they are already way behind. To assist in the prioritization of a hotel’s compliance strategy, this article highlights some of the top legal issues occurring in employment, but which directly impact operations. Read on...

Gregory A. Wald
  • Hospitality Law
  • Changes in Employment Verification and Enforcement Will Impact Hospitality Employers
  • On July 1, 2016 several federal agencies published regulations that significantly increased, and in some instances doubled, the civil penalties that could be levied against employers for Form I-9 paperwork violations, unauthorized employment of foreign national workers and for other immigration-related violations, including immigration discrimination charges. Due to the implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74) (“Inflation Adjustment Act”), higher fines and civil penalties have now gone into effect for assessments that occur on or after August 1, 2016. These higher penalties can be applied to violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, the day the President signed the Act into law. Read on...

Jerome G. Grzeca
  • Hospitality Law
  • Staffing Solutions for the Hotel Industry
  • Hotels, like other U.S. companies, are struggling to find solutions to staffing shortages. Every month, more than a quarter-million Americans turn 65, which is a trend that has profound workforce and economic consequences in this country. In addition, unemployment rates continue to fall, dropping to 4.9% nationwide in September 2016. These changes, along with other factors like increases in occupancy rates and high labor costs, have resulted in many hotel companies having trouble finding and hiring qualified workers for open positions. Of course, it’s not an option for the rooms not to be cleaned or for the meals not to be prepared and served when employees are hard to find. Read on...

Arthur Tacchino
  • Hospitality Law
  • Checking Into the 2016 Reporting Season
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is likely one of the most confusing pieces of legislation you have to comply with, and the hospitality industry, especially hotels, is more complex than most when it comes to ACA reporting. This year, the stakes are higher as the IRS removes all the safety nets that were in place in 2015. Whether you reported with complete accuracy and auditability for 2015, or the notion of ACA reporting still makes your head spin, there’s a lot to learn from last year’s mishaps and this year’s expectations Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • Class Action Waivers in Employment
  • Employment arbitration agreements commonly include mandatory class action waivers. Class action waivers can be a powerful tool for employers to prevent potentially devastating class action lawsuits. Until several months ago, employers didn’t have to think twice about whether a class waiver was a lawful part of their arbitration agreement. That all changed when Federal Circuit Courts in Lewis v. Epic Systems (7th Circuit) and Morris v. Ernst & Young (9th Circuit) held that class action waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act’s guarantee of collective action and therefore could not be enforced under the Federal Arbitration Act. These decisions have created a circuit split between Federal courts across the country. This article will survey this treacherous legal landscape and share some guidance for employers’ arbitration agreements during these uncertain times. Read on...

Dana Kravetz
  • Hospitality Law
  • How a Trump Presidency Impacts Labor Relations in the Hotel Industry
  • President-elect Trump is unlikely to support continued federal labor and employment agency activism in wage and hour and other employment-related matters. What does this mean in the context of the hotel industry? Can hotel owners and franchisors expect immediate relief? In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, we forecast a clear pro-business shift in labor and employment policy under Donald Trump. Republicans will assume control of not only the presidency, but both houses of Congress in 2017. Mr. Trump will also likely act quickly to appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia, and he will possess the power to fill open seats as they arise on the 12 federal circuit courts. Read on...

Albert Pucciarelli
  • Hospitality Law
  • Litigation as the Method of Dispute Resolution for Hospitality Cases
  • In my three prior articles on alternative dispute resolution, I discussed mediation, expert determination and arbitration. Resorting to the court system may be necessary only because the parties in their agreements did not provide for the resolution of disputes by one of the three alternative dispute mechanisms. Even so, as the dispute devolves to one that the parties will not resolve by negotiation alone, they may at any time agree to mediate, submit the matter to an expert or arbitrate. Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • Adapting to the Department of Labor's New Final Rule
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule promulgated new regulations that will go effect on December 1, 2016. All employers need to know how these regulations will change the test for exemption to understand what they need to do in response. This article will review the basics for the most common exemptions from overtime under Federal law and will also provide an executive summary of the key changes made by the Final Rule. One of the biggest myths in the workplace is that a “manager” who is paid a salary is automatically an exempt employee. Read on...

Albert Pucciarelli
  • Hospitality Law
  • Best Practices in Arbitration for Hospitality Cases
  • In my two prior articles on alternative dispute resolution, I discussed mediation and expert resolution. In ascending order in terms of “severity” of the matter in dispute, the next alternative for resolving disputes is arbitration. By “severity”, I am referring to the either the complexity of the question to be resolved where legal interpretations, document discovery and witness testimony, even expert witness testimony, may be utilized by the parties to present their side of the dispute. In short, the matter to be arbitrated typically is not unlike matters over which parties go to court, but for reasons we will explore, arbitration may be preferable. Read on...

Charles B. Rosenberg
  • Hospitality Law
  • International Investment Treaties and the Protection of Foreign Investments
  • Investing abroad may present lucrative opportunities in the form of new markets and customers. Hospitality companies, however, often face unique challenges when doing business abroad. For example, in 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the expropriation of a Hilton-run hotel on the resort island of Margarita in Venezuela to help develop tourism projects within a socialist framework. Similarly, in 2011, the Sri Lankan government declared ownership of a Hilton-run hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka following a rent-related dispute with the foreign investor. Hospitality companies considering investing abroad thus should be aware of the tools that may be available to protect their international investments. Read on...

Albert Pucciarelli
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Pros and Cons of Mediation in Hotel Disputes
  • As a lawyer involved for over 30 years in the drafting and negotiation of contracts for the hospitality industry, I can assure you that disputes are inevitable. Even among parties such as owners and management companies that have the best working relationships, there will nevertheless be issues that cause discord. Read on...

Banks Brown
  • Hospitality Law
  • Legal Issues with Respect to Virtual Hotels
  • Over the past few years a new business model has taken center stage in the market for transient lodging. The fundamental nature of this new model is an internet booking platform that facilitates and participates in the short-term transient rental of private homes and apartments. Participants in the market are, for example, Airbnb, HomeAway, and onefinestay. The model is often described as part of the sharing economy, in the sense that it facilitates the “sharing” of residential space between transient guests and the primary occupant of that space. Read on...

Richard J. Keating Jr.
  • Hospitality Law
  • Managing Liability Issues at Your Hotel Bar & Restaurant
  • Long ago, a hotel bar or lounge felt like a space filler on the lobby level. Since you could not realistically put another room there, you might as well put a small lounge to serve watered-down drinks and listen to piped-in music. It was a place to offer your guests, because there was nowhere else to really go. And not surprisingly, not many people would go there. Think of the Armada Room that featured Murph and the Magic Tones in the movie “Blues Brothers.” Of course resorts and five-star hotels were the exception, boasting their share of award-winning restaurants. But for most hotels, the nightlife options were never a destination on their own. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid
  • Hospitality Law
  • Developing a Drug Free Workplace Policy
  • Substance abuse of alcohol and drugs, including abuse of prescription drugs and illegal drug use, costs over $400 billion annually, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These costs directly impact the workplace through reduced performance, employee turnover, lower productivity, absenteeism, higher insurance and workers compensation costs, damage to property, criminal activity, and injuries and death from accidents. Developing a workplace drug abuse policy is a way to deter and reduce the incidence of employee substance abuse, to reduce the costs to your establishment, and avoid hardships to others. Read on...

FEBRUARY: Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer

Nisha Thakkar

While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers. As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI). Read on...

Cass Bailey

These days, a lot goes into choosing the perfect hotel. Hotel choice no longer depends solely on the location, price, and amenities; it depends on experience. Customers have become more interested in experiential features instead of whether or not the hotel has a five-star review. As the phrase goes, many “do it for the gram.” When looking to book their stay, the Instagram generation is interested in things that are eye-catching and worthy of sharing with their followers. Just searching the hashtag “wanderlust” reveals millions of images of different travel experiences from around the world. Read on...

Tim Sullivan

As hoteliers’ key audiences spend less time on the Web and more time on their smartphones’ social apps, it is crucial for hotels to have a digital engagement strategy that creates meaningful interactions on social channels. Desktop still converts higher, but the path to a booking is a journey full of touch points across social. Now that social media platforms are maturing, hotels can go beyond targeting their own guests to discovering new profitable audiences. They can reach and drive sales for all sides of the business: leisure, corporate and group sales. However, before hoteliers think about social engagement, they need to cover the basics of personalization and one-to-one marketing. Read on...

Chris Teso

Social media has traditionally been approached as a marketing tool for top-of-funnel activities. However, the activities associated with generating awareness, like creating viral posts and taking advantage of real-time marketing moments, are difficult to measure and even harder to link to real business value. Yet, marketers innately know that social media has real opportunity as their audience is there—in volume and in frequency. As a result, a new trend is emerging among hotel marketers that takes distinct advantage of the direct follower model of social networks: the marriage of the loyalty program with social media marketing. Read on...

Coming Up In The March Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success
In an increasingly competitive environment where hotels are competing to attract, and more importantly, to keep top talent, Human Resource managers are realizing the need to focus on improving their Employee Experience. Smart managers are embracing the idea of Employee Wellness which translates into a system of physical, mental, emotional, and purposeful well-being. Some organizations are even providing free counseling for their employees and their dependents. The goal is to nurture, support and engage with their employees in a way that increases productivity, improves customer service, enhances loyalty, and creates a more harmonious work environment for all. Along with this development is the need for more effective, ongoing training. Many HR managers rely on external training firms for this, but there is a growing trend which taps the experience and expertise that already exists within the organization. For example, younger employees likely have greater knowledge of social media which an older generation might struggle with. Harnessing this peer-to-peer learning can be an efficient and cost effective way of increasing skills, and as a result, the knowledge transferred is likely to be more acceptable and relevant. Finally, HR managers need to foster an environment that empowers people and taps into their full potential, inspiring a personal journey of success. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the strategies and techniques that human resource directors are currently developing in order to achieve success.