Hospitality Law
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...

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...

JUNE: Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?

Emanuel Baudart

Social media opens the doors to conversations about experiences – good or bad. Twitter gives hotel guests the option to air their grievances while Instagram gives them the bragging rights on their best days. Customers are giving out their feedback and it’s up to the industry to take it seriously in how hotels engage with their guests. A guest’s social media is an opportunity for hotels to work better and more efficiently to target and enhance the guest experience. Coupling the data that guests give through social media with the data we have from years of growing AccorHotels, we are focusing on using the right tools to best access the guest. At AccorHotels, we are moving away from the transactional model of hospitality and focusing on building relationships through social engagement and bolstering the benefits of our loyalty program. In order to do both, we’ve invested in building better tools for our hotels to succeed on the promise of hospitality – great service, attention and comfort. Read on...

Wendy Blaney

In a world where almost everything is done digitally, it is important to remember how impactful a two-way conversation can be for consumers interested in booking travel. There is no denying that it has become easier and easier to plan trips online, and purchase products almost instantly – yet there are still many customers who want the personal touch and assurance that they truly understand what it is that they are buying. They want someone to provide direction, answer questions, and give them “insider” information. This is especially true for a dynamic destination like Atlantis where there are an abundance of options. Our guests aren’t just interested in a resort, they are seeking a coveted, catered experience. Read on...

Mustafa Menekse

Though it seems that online travel agencies have been a part of the hotel booking landscape for eons, the reality is that just 25 years ago, brick and mortar travel agencies were the norm. Travelers would visit an agency for trip planning advice, printed brochures, and to speak with actual travel agents to assist in booking airfare, hotel accommodations and rental cars. Travel agencies had the knowledge and information about the destination and, of course, the tools and connections to book hotels and flights to begin with. The support these agencies provided put traveler’s minds at ease, especially for international trips. This was the foundation of why OTAs are in existence. Read on...

Scott Weiler

A guest of a hotel or chain books with an OTA. Terrific for everyone, right? The OTA is grateful for the transaction, and hopes to get a nice share of that customer’s travel bookings for years to come. The hotel is happy to get a (let’s say) first time guest. Sure, they paid a commission for that booking, but the GM and their team is ready to do their stuff. Which is to say – deliver a great stay experience. Now what? Now it’s a battle of the marketers! Read on...

Coming Up In The July Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Spa: Measuring the Results
As the Hotel Spa and Wellness Movement continues to flourish, spa operations are seeking new and innovative ways to expand their menu of services to attract even more people to their facilities, and to and measure the results of spa treatments. Whether it’s spa, fitness, wellness meet guest expectations. Among new developments, there seems to be a growing emphasis on science to define or beauty services, guests are becoming increasingly careful about what they ingest, inhale or put on their skin, and they are requesting scientific data on the treatments they receive. They are open to exploring the benefits of alternative therapies – like brain fitness exercises, electro-magnetic treatments, and chromotherapy – but only if they have been validated scientifically. Similarly, some spas are integrating select medical services and procedures into their operations, continuing the convergence of hotel spas with the medical world. Parents are also increasingly concerned about the health and well-being of their children and are willing to devote time and money to overcome their poor diets, constant stress, and hours spent hunched over computer, tablet and smartphone screens. Parents are investing in wellness-centric family vacations; yoga and massage for kids; mindfulness and meditation classes; and healthy, locally sourced, organic food. For hotel spas, this trend represents a significant area for future growth. Other trends include the proliferation of Wellness Festivals which celebrate health and well-being, and position hotel spas front and center. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.