Hospitality Law
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...

Rob Elvin
  • Hospitality Law
  • Health and Safety in the UK Hotel Industry
  • There have been a significant number of cases reported in the press recently in relation to hotels that are being prosecuted for health and safety breaches. The increased visibility of such cases highlights a need for stronger emphasis on compliance within the industry. This article aims to increase awareness of health and safety issues amongst hoteliers by examining key health and safety obligations in relations to hotels; considering the legal, reputational and financial impact of failures to comply with health and safety duties; and providing some practical examples of how to ensure compliance with legal obligations. Read on...

Robert E. Braun
  • Hospitality Law
  • Not Just Heads In Beds – Cybersecurity for Hotel Owners
  • The basics of the hotel business have traditionally been simple: good location, fair prices, appropriate amenities and good service were the keys to success. While those factors are important today, hotels are no longer simply a “heads in beds” business; hotels are increasingly brand-oriented. Brands focus not only on the services and products they sell, but on developing the perception and recognition of the brand associated with those goods and services. That means that hotels, like all brands, need to focus more and more on understanding their customers and how to reach them, whether through loyalty programs, advertising, social media or otherwise. Read on...

Lema Khorshid
  • Hospitality Law
  • Occupancy and Operations Tips For Your Hospitality Business
  • It is no surprise that hospitality businesses often experience an uptick in customer traffic and interest as the weather warms, local residents emerge from their winter shells to frequent local hot spots and drive up to their familiar weekend getaway locations, and out-of-town tourists flood popular entertainment districts for days at a time seeking great hotels, restaurants and attractions. In fact, an annual report released by Adobe in May revealed that U.S. consumers are expected to spend $65 billion online on summer travel this year. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster
  • Hospitality Law
  • What is the Future of Hotels Now that Millennials are the Largest Generation (in the U.S.)?
  • Whether it is Hyatt Centric, Canopy by Hilton, AC Hotels by Marriot, Vib by Best Western Hotel, Radisson Red, or OE Collection from Loews Hotels, established hotel chains are deploying a new strategy to address the ever growing buying power of Millennials. These chains are creating new brands that specifically cater to Millennials. In fact, besides the established Hotel companies, new chains are being, or have been, created to address the Millennial generation, or there corporate ownership is being disguised. The focus on Millennials by hotel companies is not just a U.S. trend; it’s worldwide. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster
  • Hospitality Law
  • Investigating Sexual Harassment Claims: A Guide for Hospitality Employers
  • Although some claims of sexual harassment made by hotel and restaurant employees may not prove to be true, an employer’s failure to properly address sexual harassment complaints may render the employer liable for significant damages to a prevailing employee. Once an employee has complained of sexual harassment, an internal investigation is necessary to address and resolve the claim. This article describes best practices to take when conducting an internal investigation of a sexual harassment claim. This article also describes policies and procedures an employer can implement to help avoid sexual harassment claims Read on...

JANUARY: Mobile Technology: A Permanent Sense of Immediacy

Alastair Cush

A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. Read on...

Jim Vandevender

Meeting data and technology have evolved considerably since the days of the bulky ,expensive mail ordered meeting planner guides and hotel catalogues. The ways in which hotels find and book groups is far different than the antiquated methods of not so long ago. As better technology surrounding meetings and events becomes available , hotels appetites for group business seems to also increase at a parallel pace making the need to keep the related technology evolving even more paramount. The companies that provide hotels with this meeting intelligence are continually developing new and more advanced methods of gathering this sought after data to keep up pace with the demand. Read on...

Dave Weinstein

As with so many industries, the smartphone has transformed how organizations interact with their customers. Look at the automotive industry, the airline industry, and of course, the hospitality industry. You start your car’s engine and set the climate control to the desired temperature, buy airline tickets and check-in on your flight and do the same with your hotel room, all from your phone. There is a slew of services that traditionally are offered by hotels via the “book” on the desk. The book is still there, but some hotels allow you to order via the television while others offer integrated tablets. Read on...

Kacey Butcher

Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider. A decision to choose another provider that seemingly knows how to service customers with the utmost up-to-date standards. Read on...

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.