Editorial Board   

Mr. Rajagopal

Venkat Rajagopal

Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School

Venkatraman Rajagopal known as Venkat is currently a lecturer teaching hospitality and tourism management subjects at Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Venkat holds a degree in Commerce, a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in International Hospitality Management. With more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Rajagopal has worked his way up in all departments of the industry, holding senior management positions such as Director of Finance, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager. He has worked with city hotels, beach resorts and game parks, in India, Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. Most of the properties have been owned and operated by such well known chains as the Indian Hotels Company Ltd., (which owns and operates Taj and Taj groups of hotels in India and abroad), Intercontinental Hotels, The Kempinski Group, (Leading Hotels of the World), Preferred Group of Hotels, Stamford Plaza and Sheraton to name a few. Mr. Rajagopal has also been responsible for computerization of front office, food and beverage and interfacing of the same with back office accounts for one of the best beach resorts in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa. He is very proud to have introduced “expatriate business” as one of the important segments for a city hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Rajagopal has conducted many training sessions and workshops for middle and senior management staff in the hotel industry as part of “Training within Industry”, and has also been guest lecturer at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in India. Mr. Rajagopal has chosen to live and work in New Zealand because of the unprecedented growth of the hospitality and tourism sector within the country. In recent times that has resulted in increased opportunities for skilled and qualified personnel.

Mr. Rajagopal can be contacted at 649-835-0535 or venkatr@pihms.ac.nz

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.