Library Archives

 
Dana Kravetz

Along with real property, equipment, furniture, fixtures and inventory is an oftentimes overlooked asset class: your hotel's intellectual property. No less valuable than these more tangible assets, your IP-brand name, proprietary systems, trade dress and unique designs, to name a few-has untold economic value that serves as a safeguard against infringement, increases the worth of your business, and can be exploited if and when you seek to sell, in whole or in part. But this is only true if your IP portfolio is properly protected by way of trademarks, copyrights and patents, depending, of course, on the particularities and nature of the IP in question. Intrigued? Read on. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Legislation is being passed worldwide that seeks to protect consumer privacy; most notably, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Hoteliers, these laws may well apply to you, even if you don't have any properties located in the Golden State or EU. Long story short, for those in the hospitality space, If your bookings include CA or EU resident, you must be mindful of how guests' personal information and data are collected, processed, shared and retained, and poised to implement comprehensive data privacy programs at an organization-wide level to ensure legal compliance. As for the latter, if you haven't done so already, the time is now. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

Interests in the hotel industry are bought and sold. Contracts in furtherance of the sale of those interests may contain restrictive covenants. In some cases, restrictive covenants might take the form of contractual provisions that, among other things, restrict competition from a new owner or prevent certain uses. Use of a restrictive covenant may lead to litigation when one party contends that another party is in violation of a restrictive covenant. Hospitality industry players should be aware of the risks associated with restrictive covenants, and aware of the hospitality-related litigation that can result from them. Read on...

John Mavros

Regardless of the number of employment law best practices a hotel successfully embraces, one factor can be a strong indicator for future litigation – a problematic, underperforming employee. Therefore, one the best ways to protect your hotel from litigation is to hire right at the outset. In the chaos of peak season, it may be tempting to impulsively hire the first application for help received; however, hiring is a process that should not be rushed. An employee who fails to meet performance expectations or mesh with the hotel's company culture, not only can create a toxic environment at work for other employees but will likely harbor resentment which frequently motivates litigation. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Way back when, on June 10, 1963, then-President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law – a bold piece of legislation that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work within the same establishment. Fast-forward fifty-plus years, and it's apparent that work remains to be done. Today, females in the workplace earn 80% less than white men, with women of color faring much worse. And while the hospitality industry performs better than the national average in terms of the gender pay gap, disparities remain that must be stamped out once and for all. Read on...

John Mavros

Many turn to Starbucks for a caffeinated wakeup call every morning. However, given a recent court ruling, Starbucks now serves as a wakeup call for employers who need to improve their timekeeping practices. This article examines the landmark California Supreme Court decision in Troester v. Starbucks, which illustrates just how important it is to capture every minute that an employee works - even time that seems short and trivial, or also known as "de minimis." This article will explore the lessons learned from Starbucks and further outline best timekeeping practices that all hotels should consider implementing to avoid an employment wage-hour lawsuit. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

A trademark can be a recognizable sign or design that defines a brand. Protecting that trademark can be crucial to a hospitality player attracting guests and maintaining a competitive edge. A hospitality player's success may lead to imitation from competitors. That imitation may lead to infringement of a hospitality player's trademark. Protecting any trademark should be a priority for hospitality players. Failing to protect a trademark can lead to waiving rights and claims that a hospitality player may use to enforce its trademark rights. Hospitality players should seek to understand whether any threats exist to their trademark rights and take appropriate action in response to those threats. Read on...

John Mavros

Hotel Managers are on the frontlines of preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from occurring in the workplace. They are in the best position to spot warning signs that harassment may be occurring and they are most likely to be the first person an employee confides in with a complaint. As such, it is important that managers are equipped to stop harassment and any future harassment lawsuits in their tracks. This article details a "5 Step Plan for Managers" in the midst of the growing #MeToo movement to help them foster harassment free workplaces. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

In the hospitality industry it is crucial to have the right employees. The right employees may enable a hospitality player to provide an ideal environment for its customers that may leave a lasting impression that will lead to future business. To retain employees, hospitality players may consider entering into a no-poach agreement. A no-poach agreement between hospitality players may be, among other things, an agreement that two players agree not to hire employees from each other. Such agreements may be unlawful, and hospitality players should be wary of them and consult with legal counsel before entering into them. Read on...

Christine Samsel

The past twelve months have seen a significant uptick in the volume of cases filed related to website accessibility issues, with the most recent trend being claims by disabled prospective employees for inaccessible online job search and application processes that allegedly render them unable to browse and apply for open positions. Attorneys Christine Samsel and Jonathan Sandler provide legal insight on this trend and what business leaders can do to protect their company from these types of claims… Read on...

Luna Phillips

As fresh water supplies across the country stretch thinner due to a confluence of factors, hotel developers and managers are getting squeezed. An increasing focus on water conservation from consumers and both state and local regulators has its benefits, but also creates economic drawbacks for hotel executives by decreasing the supply and increasing the price of water. This added cost raises the price of admission for both owners and consumers, but armed with the correct information and tactics, hotel executives can shrewdly save valuable dollars while playing by these new rules. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Hoteliers in the Golden State better pay heed to a recent decision by the California Supreme Court and think twice before neglecting to pay workers for routine, albeit trivial, duties that are handled off the clock. The ruling in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation severely limits a hotel or resort operator's ability to rely on the so-called "de minimis defense," an argument that California employers have, for years, successfully asserted in wage and hour litigation brought by employees seeking compensation for brief tasks undertaken pre- or post-shift. As the author explains, hospitality employers, in the wake of Troester, are encouraged to leverage available technology to capture all of the time their employees actually work on any given day. Read on...

John Mavros

This article discusses the top five ways hotels get served with disability discrimination lawsuits. Disability discrimination lawsuits are on the rise and one of the best ways to protect your hotel from getting served with a lawsuit is to assure that hoteliers fully understand obligations under the various leave laws and that their managers are trained properly on those obligations. Maintaining written policies, memorializing any verbal communications with employees, documenting analyses of possible accommodations, and recording any accommodations or leaves of absences ultimately provided are essential steps for avoiding costly litigation. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

Some people say that there is no such thing as bad press. However, in some cases, bad press could potentially damage a brand and continue damaging a brand now that information available on the internet may never be erased – or forgotten. A hospitality player’s response to bad press should include formulating a plan beforehand so that a hospitality player may respond to bad press in an organized manner. Once any bad press is discovered, the next step may be determining how best to respond. Certain bad press may be actionable to the extent that a hospitality player may seek relief from it through a lawsuit. Read on...

Christine Samsel

Looking to renovate? Make sure you consider the ADA when doing so. In this article, Christine Samsel, Jonathan Sandler and Allison Gambill of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck walk through ADA compliance considerations for renovations. They provide guidance on how to determine which Title III ADA standards apply to which portions of your facility, including how renovations may impact compliance requirements and common ADA compliance problem areas. This article builds upon their prior articles related to (among other things) website accessibility issues, including guidelines for making your website reservation system accessible to the disabled. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.