Hospitality Law
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...

John Mavros
Justin R. Bragiel
  • Hospitality Law
  • When the Police Ring the Front Desk Bell
  • The scene is a common one in hotels across the nation: A police officer is standing at the front desk, asking the clerk whether a particular guest checked in. The officer wants to see a list of guests’ names, and even asks for a copy of the security camera footage. The clerk summons the front office manager, and the police officer points out that the city ordinance regulating hotel operations requires hotel compliance with requests to review hotel records. Should the manager turn over the information? What are the hotel’s obligations to the guest? Read on...

Becky  Bromberg
  • Hospitality Law
  • Creating Mutually Beneficial Contracts in a Seller's Market
  • The current economic uptick has led to an extremely competitive hotel sourcing environment over the last couple of years. Both our client contacts and our team of travel buyers are facing similar challenges as we look to find adequate space for upcoming meetings, events and incentive trips. A 2015 Successful Meetings Trends Survey showed that meeting planners’ second most common concern was negotiating with hoteliers in a seller’s market. Read on...

John R. Hunt
  • Hospitality Law
  • Proposed Changes Under the Fair Labor Standards Act Could Require Overtime for Managers
  • For the past decade, employees who earned over $23,660 per year generally were exempt from federal overtime requirements if they were paid on a salary basis and performed certain well-defined duties. The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”), however, recently proposed changing its regulations to more than double this minimum amount to $50,440 per year. If the regulation becomes final, it will have a substantial effect on how hotels pay their managers, assistant managers and supervisors. This article discusses the impact of the proposed changes. Read on...

William A. Brewer
  • Hospitality Law
  • From Main Street to Wall Street: The Changing Dynamics of Hotel Ownership
  • Until the early 2000s, hotels were often owned by individuals, small groups of investors, or the companies under whose flag they operated. In that era – circa 1960s through the early 2000s – there was a significant alignment of interests between those traditional owners and the in-branded hotel managers. This alignment was not surprising because hotel-owning brand managers had to comply with the very policies and practices they dictated for their brand-wide standards. However, by the start of the new millennium, the players and landscape began to change as the hotel chains began divesting themselves of their hotel assets and the well-financed private equity investor became a central player. Read on...

Michael Wildes
  • Hospitality Law
  • Immigration Reform and the Hotel Industry
  • With the 2016 presidential election in full swing, one of the main talking points for the majority of candidates is immigration reform and how to address our broken immigration system. Although politicians often focus on the arguments concerning the 11 million undocumented individuals in this country, there is little discourse on employment-based visas and the need for a massive overhaul pertaining to skilled and non-skilled workers who are the driving force of the United States economy. Recent action taken by President Obama has been helpful in addressing some of these issues, but, simply put, the only way to address this issue is for Congress to take action on our broken immigration system. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster
  • Hospitality Law
  • Airbnb and Uber: Changing the Rules of the Hotel and Transportation Industries
  • Last night over 50,000 people rented an accommodation from a service that offers 250,000 rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 countries, and yesterday alone people used a driving service for more than 1 million trips. They chose their rooms, arranged for their rides, and paid for everything online. But, perhaps surprisingly, their overnight accommodations and rides were provided by private individuals rather than a hotel chain or a traditional taxi service; hosts and guests, drivers and riders, were matched up by Airbnb and Uber which have both emerged as viable mainstream alternatives to traditional hotels and taxi service providers, and their entry into the market has and will continue to have a measurable and quantifiable impact on the traditional hotel industry and the transit business. What’s at work here? The underpinning is literally the fight to control logistics for the world! While Apple, Google and Amazon battle in the news for who will be the first driverless car, a quieter war wages where hotels and taxicab companies may well be the victims. Read on...

Theodore C. Max
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Confluence of Fashion and Hospitality: A Primer on the Legal Considerations
  • Coco Chanel said that “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Social media and the Internet have put global fashion at consumers’ fingertips. Fashion is no longer an industry of just brands, but also one of lifestyle choices and luxury experiences. Fashion can be food and dining experiences. One can now enjoy a Ralph Lauren hamburger in Paris at Ralph’s, drink a Cavalli vodka martini at the Cavalli Club in Dubai, or feast on Scottish oysters on Alfred Dunhill’s “Oyster Night at Alfie’s” in Shanghai. Chanel, Dsquared 2, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari, Armani, and Cavalli all have luxury restaurants at hot spots around the world. Read on...

Ben  Hanuka
  • Hospitality Law
  • Conflicts Between Franchise Agreements and Operating Manuals: A Canadian Perspective
  • The vast majority of franchise systems, including hotel systems, depend on operating standards, procedures and policies. These requirements are typically contained in a franchise operating manual that is separate from a franchise agreement. Particularly in established hotel franchise systems, operating manuals tend to be comprehensive and often complex documents. They may contain extensive requirements with respect to virtually every aspect of the operation of the hotel, from the brand and quality assurance, to the use of technology. Read on...

Lema Khorshid
  • Hospitality Law
  • Building Your Brand by Managing Your Intellectual Property
  • With new players constantly opening their doors, the hotel industry has become an extremely competitive game. One day, a hotel is the only one of its kind in its ZIP code, and the next, one opens around the corner and another right across the street. Hotel companies and operations constantly innovate novel and differentiated concepts to draw new customers in, and as a result the hospitality industry bears a surplus of very comparable brands. Whatever the concept and whatever the location, hotel executives need to differentiate their properties from the mass of competition. Using both the law and business of brands is the best tool at the hotel executive’s disposal. Read on...

Justin Thompson
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Current Legal State of Hotel-Condo Development
  • A couple of notable recent legal developments have paved the way for a resurgence in developer interest in condo hotel projects. This is especially true in major luxury markets across the U.S., such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and New York, where numerous condo hotel projects are in the development and pre-sale phases. By way of background, a condo hotel is a condominium project located immediately adjacent to or within a hotel. In a condo hotel project, the condominium unit owners are entitled to certain hotel amenities by virtue of their unit ownership. Many unit owners elect or are restricted from living in their condo hotel unit year round; when the unit is not occupied, it is rented. Read on...

MAY: Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability

Eric Ricaurte

In 2011, we visited the 10 hotels contracted in the room block for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto. As part of their award-winning sustainable event program, the conference organizers embedded green practices into the contract language for these hotels, who either had to comply with the requirements, explain their reason why they couldn’t implement them, or pay a $1,000 fine. Part of our consulting work was to gather the data and confirm some of the practices on-site. Read on...

Susan Tinnish

Hotels brands have actively engaged in large-scale efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Individual hotels have made great strides on property. Many significant large-scale eco-initiatives s are most easily built initially into the infrastructure and design of the building and surrounding areas. Given that the adaptation of these large-scale changes into the existing asset base is expensive and disruptive, hotels seek different ways to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. One way to do so is to shift the focus from large-scale change to “small wins.” Small wins can help a hotel create a culture of sustainability. Read on...

Shannon Sentman

Utility costs are the second largest operating expense for most hotels. Successfully reducing these expenses can be a huge value-add strategy for executives. Doing this effectively requires more than just a one-time investment in efficiency upgrades. It requires ongoing visibility into a building’s performance and effectively leveraging this visibility to take action. Too often, efficiency strategies center on a one-time effort to identify opportunities with little consideration for establishing ongoing practices to better manage a building’s performance ongoing. Read on...

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Discussions of sustainability in the hospitality industry have focused mainly on strategies at the level of energy-efficient and eco-friendly adjustments to operations and maintenance. These "tweaks" can include programs to reduce water usage, updating lighting to LEDs, campaigns to increase guest participation in recycling, and similar innovative industry initiatives. Often overlooked—not only by industry experts but even by hotel operators and designers—are possibilities for hotel design and construction that can make a property truly sustainable from the get-go. Read on...

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.