Hospitality Law
Justin Thompson
  • Hospitality Law
  • Legal Implications of Hotel Brand Proliferation
  • There is no denying the importance of a brand in the context of hotels. Branded hotels make up approximately 70% of the total rooms in the United States hotel system and are predicted to grow to 80% in the next 10 years. The somewhat recent explosion in new brands from existing hotel companies can be seen as significantly contributing to this growth. In the past 35 years, the number of brands has quadrupled. In fact, brand proliferation has become so ubiquitous that the top seven hotel companies now account for 90 different hotel brands. A discussion follows of some of the more salient legal issues that the recent explosion in hotel brands has produced. Read on...

Tyra Hilliard
  • Hospitality Law
  • Food Allergies and the Changing Application of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • More than 15 million Americans, nine million of them adults, have food allergies. While handling special dietary requests is not a new issue for hotels, the practical and legal issues surrounding accommodating dietary restrictions are changing. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), food allergies are on the rise. Because nearly half of fatal food allergy reactions are caused by food consumed outside the home, it isn’t a far stretch to imagine that a significant number each year may occur in hotels. Eight foods are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Read on...

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...

MARCH: Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success

Cara Silletto

Ever wonder what planet your new hires are from? For most, it is called Millennialland. It is my homeland, and it is a whole different world than where Boomers and GenXers were born. So why are your younger workers from this strange land so hard to understand, manage and retain? Why is it that they lack the loyalty of those who came before them? Why do they need so much handholding in the workplace? And where does this tremendous sense of entitlement come from? Allow me to explain. Read on...

Nicole Price

You’re just being politically correct! In America, being politically correct has taken a new meaning and now has a negative connotation. But why? Definitions can help identify the reason. The definition of political correctness is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially discriminated against.” In simple terms, political correctness is going to the extreme to avoid insulting socially disadvantaged groups. What could be wrong with that? The issue is not them or the term, it’s us! Read on...

Kimberly Abel-Lanier

Engaging and retaining talented, trained workers is a critical component of success for any business in any sector. When employees are disengaged or turnover is high, organizations face challenges of subpar customer service, high costs, and human resource inefficiencies. Gallup estimates rampant disengagement among employees costs American businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion per year. High turnover also carries exorbitant costs to organizations, averaging approximately 1.5x an employee’s salary for replacement. In the hospitality sector, delivery of impactful customer experiences is strongly connected to employee engagement and satisfaction. Happy, engaged employees can make happy, loyal customers. Currently; however, the hospitality sector suffers higher than average employee turnover. Read on...

Michael Warech

So where will we find the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry? Like their counterparts in other business sectors, this question remains top-of-mind for those responsible for finding, managing, and developing the talent needed to ensure the vitality of their organizations. While, arguably, not as glamorous as a new guest amenity or as important as a cost-saving innovation, there is nothing more critical than talent to succeed in an increasingly competitive and challenging global business environment. Leveraging the best strategies and tactics related to talent management, succession planning, workforce planning, training and leadership development are, quite possibly, a company’s most critical work. Read on...

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining – all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. It’s the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.