Hospitality Law
Dana Kravetz
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Hospitality Industry Under the Trump Administration
  • Pro-employer stars are aligning in Washington, D.C., that can only benefit the hospitality industry. What began with President Donald J. Trump’s appointment of conservative Alexander Acosta as the United States Secretary of Labor, has been followed by his nomination of Republicans Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board – moves that are decidedly a boon to business. Under Secretary Acosta, the Department of Labor withdrew guidance put in place by the Obama administration on the joint employment issue, a positive step for hotel and resort owners, operators and franchisors. If confirmed, Messrs. Kaplan’s and Emanuel’s presence on the NLRB is certain to lead to the unraveling of various labor-related actions also deemed unfavorable to employers, hoteliers included. Read on...

Steven D. Weber
  • Hospitality Law
  • When Hiring From Your Competitors
  • There is a growing shortage of qualified and skilled hospitality employees. This shortage may lead hospitality brands to hire from competitors. While the idea of hiring a skilled employee with access to a competitor’s information may be tempting, hiring from a competitor may have negative repercussions for the employee, the employer, and for the hospitality brand that is hiring them. To mitigate the risk of such a repercussion, a hospitality brand may wish to consider the below when hiring from a competitor. Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Ever Present Threat of a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
  • The Family Medical Leave Act, the American with Disabilities Act, and worker’s compensation provide employees that are injured or disabled with various rights to leave or reasonable accommodation. An employer’s understanding of these laws is imperative to avoid disability discrimination lawsuits. This article will explore each law’s parameters and the interplay among them. Read on...

Steven D. Weber
  • Hospitality Law
  • Take Steps to Protect Your Trade Secrets
  • Taking measures to protect your hospitality organization’s trade secrets before filing or defending against a lawsuit may significantly increase your organization’s chances of obtaining a favorable result in any lawsuit related to the misappropriation of trade secrets. While there are many ways to protect information, hospitality organizations need to be educated on what the law applicable to them considers to be “reasonable” steps that provide the secrecy that is required under the circumstances. This article explores how some courts have interpreted what is reasonable or adequate protection of information such that the information may qualify as a trade secret. Read on...

Benjamin  Ebbink
  • Hospitality Law
  • California Takes Aim at Industry with Housekeeper-Specific Safety Proposal
  • Responding to years of pressure from union advocates and their allies, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) has proposed a first-in-the-nation, industry-specific rule aimed at hotel housekeepers. If enacted, this proposal would greatly impact the industry in California (as well as operators who conduct business in multiple states including California). In addition, as California tends to lead the nation in employment and workplace safety standards, operators in other states should monitor this proposal closely – what happens in California may come to your state next! Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • How to Combat EEOC Retaliation Claims
  • Retaliation continues to be the most common claim brought against employers before governmental agencies and in the civil court system. According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces Federal labor laws, the EEOC received 42,018 charges of retaliation in 2016. That means that a retaliation claim was asserted in 45.9% of all charges submitted. This is more than discrimination based on race and more than discrimination based on disability. Even more concerning is the consistent uptick in retaliation charges, which have increased in number every year since 1997. So, what can employers do to protect themselves against this ever-growing threat? Read on...

Dana Kravetz
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Outlook for Hotel and Resort Operators Post-BFI
  • Eighteen months since the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revised its standard for the imposition of joint employer liability, and hoteliers remain in a state of legal limbo, unsure what 2017 and beyond have in store on the issue. For those hotel and resort operators whose best response to the question, “how should we continue to move forward in the wake of BFI?” is a shrug of the shoulders, a current scorecard for your consideration. The NLRB shook the hotel franchisor/franchisee landscape with its jaw-dropping Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI) decision back in August 2015, which drastically eased the criteria for a company to be considered a joint employer. Read on...

John Mavros
  • Hospitality Law
  • Tip-Pooling Practices May be a Thing of the Past
  • Tip-pooling is a common method for restaurants and similar service businesses to allow back of the house staff and others to share in tips received from customers. However, the US Department of Labor’s regulations and recent rulings by the Ninth Circuit have effectively made tip pooling a thing of the past. This article will explore the current state of tip-pooling laws and the effect that Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, may have on tip-pooling and other regulations in the years to come. Read on...

Albert Pucciarelli
  • Hospitality Law
  • When to Use Expert Determination in Hotel Disputes
  • When we think about alternative dispute resolutions, our first thoughts are likely go to mediation and arbitration. This article, however, discusses a third option – expert determination – whereby the parties who have been unable to resolve a dispute generally concerning a specific, technical matter, look to a specifically qualified individual to decide the matter for them. Read on...

Steven D. Weber
  • Hospitality Law
  • Your Hospitality Industry Trade Secrets May be at Risk
  • Many of today’s hospitality consumers are not only looking for a place to rest their head, but also for a one-of-a-kind experience. If the ingredients for such an experience are stored on computers, in e-mails, in manuals, or even in the heads of employees, then they are susceptible to misappropriation. The risk of misappropriation is compounded by the ease by which employees today may misappropriate those trade secrets by using their smart devices to take photographs, send e-mails, and transfer files. Waiting until the unthinkable happens is unacceptable. Read on...

Amy Bailey
  • Hospitality Law
  • Why is the Hotel Industry a Target for FLSA Prosecutions?
  • There's a big red bulls eye in the hotel industry. In fact, accommodation and food services ranks #1 in sheer volume for wage and hour prosecutions by the Department of Labor. That’s 24.4% of all the cases that have been brought since 1985. To put that number into perspective, hotels, restaurants, and bars—from the behemoths to the holes in the wall—have been required to pay more than $276 million in government prosecutions alone, with an average payout of $9.5k for every business affected. Read on...

Banks Brown
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Chink in the Armor of the Communications Decency Act
  • CDA § 230 is shorthand for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (2016). It is the law cited by short term rental companies (“STRC”), such as Airbnb, when they argue with city and state governments and in the courts that their businesses are not subject to state and local regulation. It is fair to say that the STRCs are of the opinion that city and state governments are nearly powerless to regulate them in any way whatsoever, absent their consent. Read on...

William A. Brewer
  • Hospitality Law
  • The Challenges and Opportunities of Foreign Investment in the U.S. Hospitality Market
  • They’re Coming to the U.S.A. Foreign investors are making headlines as they take ever bigger positions in the U.S. hospitality market. Notably, the structure of the hotel management agreement (HMA) – a complex and often misunderstood instrument – has major legal implications for foreign owners and managers. In this article, we explore the friction between owners and operators whose interests are not always aligned – particularly during periods of economic downturn. Therefore, negotiating a proper HMA is critical to governing the relationship. Read on...

Theodore C. Max
  • Hospitality Law
  • Digital Marketing: Native Advertising and Online Influencers in the Hospitality Industry
  • The FTC’s has stepped up enforcement of social media advertising in the entertainment and fashion industries and this effort is likely to continue and expand to other industries. Advertisers and retailers in the travel tourism and hospitality industry need to be mindful to make sure that if any content is sponsored or any influencer or spokesperson is paid to promote a product or services online, a clear and conspicuous disclosure is required. It is possible that FTC enforcement also may soon target individual influencers and require clear and conspicuous disclosures by them regarding the endorsement of products or services for compensation. Read on...

Lynn K. Cadwalader
  • Hospitality Law
  • The EB-5 Visa Program: The Outlook for 2017
  • Looking forward to 2017, the EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program will face both challenges and opportunities. Fortunately for the Hospitality Industry, hotels are still ideal projects for EB-5 financing. In this Article, I will discuss some of the major issues and impacts on the EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program anticipated for 2017, and review the benefits to financing hotels through the EB-5 Program. Read on...

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AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Larry Steinberg

The foodservice industry is one of the oldest and most important. Consumers from all demographics rely on it virtually every day for sustenance. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it’s a nearly $800 billion industry that’s extremely competitive, with hundreds of new establishments popping up every year, and much of this new business is the result of increased consumer demand. Consumers want more options. For every practiced chef, there is a collective of guests eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on something exotic and different. They want to experience a bit of culture by way of their next meal, and they want to find it using the latest technology. Read on...

Frank Sanchez

About two years ago, I started my career at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. I came from San Diego, California, the apparent capital of farmer’s markets. When I moved to Chicago in late-October, the number of farmer’s markets had already begun to taper off and all that was left of the hotel’s rooftop garden was the sad remnants of a summer full of bounty. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Chicago Marriott Downtown operates a year-round experience to create food from scratch that gives customers fresh and nutritional options. I was thrilled to join a team that can tell a customer that the very greens on their plate were grown just floors above them. Read on...

Thomas  McKeown

To serve today’s eclectic, socially engaged and sophisticated guests, hotels and chefs need to get creative, change their thinking and push back some walls – sometimes literally. The fun thing about meetings hotels is that they are a different place just about every week. One week we’re hosting a bridge tournament, the next a corporate sales team, or a dentists’ conference, or sci-fi fans in costumes, or cheerleaders jumping for joy. You name the group, and our hotel has probably welcomed them. Read on...

Elizabeth  Blau

Over the past several years, many of us have watched with excitement and interest as the fast-casual restaurant segment has continued to boom. More and more, talented chefs with fine dining pedigrees are bringing their skills, creativity, and experience to concepts built around speed, approachability, and volume. Right now, the ability to offer a gourmet experience at all price points is as compelling to restaurateurs and diners alike. 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.