Hospitality Law
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...

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...

AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Paul Hancock

Vegetables are no longer served as garnishes or accompaniments but, center stage in the dining scene in this day. Plate design and bold flavors are more paramount than ever. The “wow” effect is in full effect. Guests are more eager to try something new more than ever before. It is entertainment, so it has to be great and throughout the dining experience. There is a cultural shift happening right in front of our eyes with vegetables. Vegetables have been the unsung heroes of the plate for many decades. That is changing. Read on...

Robert  Hood

What does a restaurant look like in 2017? To define what a restaurant is is a difficult process and not an easy thing to do considering that foodservice has evolved so much and comes in so many shapes and sizes. In 2017 restaurants are not even defined for having chairs or tables for diners or even want diners to stay after the point of food purchase and the sale is completed. This is the world of the ‘QSR’ or ‘Quick Service Restaurant’ and since it arrived it has changed restaurant culture, our food service experiences on an almost daily basis, and begs the question ‘is QSR the new fine dining?’ Read on...

Chris Ferrier

Many hotels are overwhelmed by the thought of putting together a ‘buy local’ or ‘farm-to-table’ culinary program when they also have to serve many guests. Where do you start? Should chefs contact all the local farms, breweries, wineries, fish mongers, meat and poultry farms in their area? Should they visit each farm? Many years ago, this was what we did; but with 1,200 meals to prepare, often we would clear out the farmers’ goods and still not have enough for what we needed. Read on...

Bobby Martyna

A key trend in hotel development is making the hotel lobby a destination for guests. Where in the past, the focus was primarily on the guest room, moving forward, brands and independents are looking to transform the lobby into a space where guests can socialize, work, snack and dine. In order for the lobby destination to be both compelling and memorable, the retail design, visual merchandising and food selection need to convey what is special about the location and must work together to deliver a surpassing guest experience. Read on...

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.