Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Brown

Banks Brown

Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Banks Brown is a partner in the New York office of McDermott Will & Emery. He has served as outside General Counsel for the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. for 22 years. He helped to found the Travel Business Roundtable and served as its General Counsel until it was merged into the US Travel Association. He is co-author of a recognized treatise on hospitality law entitled “Understanding Hospitality Law” (4th Ed. Educational Institute, AHLA). He is the 2006 recipient of the Anthony G. Marshall Award for Pioneering and Continuous Contribution to Hospitality Law and the 2010 Distinguished Service Award of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys. He speaks yearly at the Hospitality Law Conference of HospitalityLawyer.com, where he hosts the hotel inside counsel segment. Early in his career, Mr. Brown represented the American Stock Exchange in shareholder actions under Section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act, numerous consumer class actions under the now-defunct Department of Energy price controls on oil and gas, and a decade-long series of class actions arising out of Gulf Oil Corporation's tender offer for the stock of Cities Service Corporation. He continues to represent parties involved in complex litigation. As a result of his extensive litigation experience, Mr. Brown has a deep working knowledge of cost, fee and risk analysis. Mr. Brown was admitted New York State Bar in 1978. He was graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977 and Harvard College (cum laude) in 1974.

Mr. Brown can be contacted at 212-547-5361 or bbrown@mwe.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. 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.