Library Archives

 
Josias Dewey

Earlier this year, the travel company Webjet announced it was in the process of converting a blockchain pilot it had developed into a commercial grade application. The blockchain-based application will be able to provide accurate information about hotel inventory, on a real-time basis, for hotels around the world. This article will discuss these and other possible use cases important to the hospitality industry, including their business justification. Beyond the explanation of use cases, the article highlights several legal considerations that hotel counsel will need to confront and consider as the technology is deployed, including intellectual property, privacy laws in the United States and the European Union and FinCen's current guidance on convertible virtual currencies and the potential relationship between money laundering and blockchain-based loyalty programs. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

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...

Dana Kravetz

Hoteliers may ask: "isn't cannabis illegal under the federal law?" The short answer is yes, but that is a qualified response at best. As the scale tips toward marijuana becoming legal throughout the country, pot continues to be against the law federally. The resulting dichotomy between the relaxed view of cannabis and its extracts at the state level and the current federal position on marijuana is an interesting one. According to the Controlled Substance Act, by which the federal government regulates drugs, there is no recognized difference between cannabis, cocaine, heroin or LSD. Likewise, the CSA does not distinguish between the medical and recreational use of marijuana. So technically, pot is illegal and users (even those with valid prescriptions for the substance) can be arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail under the federal law as it stands. Read on...

Leon Fresco

There are two main challenges the hospitality industry faces from the new Administration's immigration policies - increased labor costs and decreased demand. With regard to labor, policies are likely to be promulgated that may remove millions of non-U.S. citizen workers from the U.S. workforce and make it far more challenging for the hospitality industry to obtain the labor needed operate its facilities. With regard to demand, policies have already been put in place, and are likely to continue to expand, that will reduce the demand from foreign visitors to enter the United States and consume hospitality resources. Read on...

Lynn K. Cadwalader

It is important during this exciting time of innovation to seize the moment and creatively adapt to the changing concept of hospitality, capitalize on new trends and expand market share. While the new hospitality market disrupters may threaten traditional hotel business models, they also present an opportunity for the entry of new products into an industry which has always prized itself on innovation and creativity. Business travelers, vacationers and millennials have all begun to demand inclusion of new hotel products into their travel. It will be up to the hospitality industry to join the movement and incorporate these concepts into their platforms and brands. Read on...

Francesca A. Ippolito-Craven

Cities and counties throughout the United States have enacted regulations in an effort to balance individual property rights with protecting the character and viability of neighborhoods and communities. There is also a mandate to also stimulate the housing economy, maintain property values, and promote fair competition within the hospitality industry. While the future of such efforts remain uncertain, it is clear that the interests of the hospitality industry would be best served by way of the industry's involvement in the legislative process. Read on...

Theodore C. Max

The surge in mergers and acquisitions in the hospitality industry presents a great opportunity for companies to take advantage of advances in technology and innovation to create transactions afford competitive advantages and returns due to the enhanced scale and scope of the resulting entity by acquisition or merger. In order to succeed on the national or global stage, the acquiring company must take advantage of its skill and talent to effectively and expeditiously integrate the target company with its own operating systems, methods and culture. Read on...

John R. Hunt

In the past several years, the pace of mergers and acquisitions in the hospitality industry has accelerated greatly. The scale of these transactions has ranged from the merger of multinational corporations to the purchase and sale of numerous businesses of varying sizes. At the same time, the risk that an acquiring company may find itself liable for its predecessor's employment and labor problems has increased steadily. As a result, any company contemplating the purchase of another hotel or restaurant business should review the current law in this area and in certain circumstances, conduct an audit or thorough review of the seller or target company's employment practices. Read on...

Robert E. Braun

Over the past decade, hotels have consistently been cited as one of the most likely sources of data breaches - a dubious honor for an industry that relies on confidence. This is a particular challenge because hotels and hotel brands rely on loyalty and trust, and consistent publicity about the insecurity of hotel systems creates the opposite perception in the public. Much of the vulnerability of hotels can be traced to the structure and business needs of hospitality properties, as well as the implementation of new technologies and consumer demands. What can hotel owners and operators do to counteract the trend? Read on...

Christian Hardigree

Our industry is the most dynamic industry on the planet - one that is constantly changing, often at a frenetic pace. Our industry resides in every corner of the world, and attracts individuals (our guests) from across the world to spend time with us. One area that will see significant changes over the next five years relates to state minimum wage laws in the US. While the federal law remains at $7.25 per hour for most positions (less for employees in tipped positions if the states recognizes the tip credit wage), many states are implementing minimum wage laws that exceed the federal floor. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

Competitive intelligence is a powerful tool used to maintain an advantage over competitors. A wealth of competitive intelligence can be obtained through public documents like public filings, earnings reports, and legal documents. Compiling, reviewing, and extrapolating the competitive intelligence from those documents takes time and money. Succumbing to the temptation to shortcut the necessary effort can have costly legal consequences. Hospitality industry companies must thus be wary of engaging in methods that cross legal and ethical boundaries. Companies must also be watchful of any efforts by their competitors to gather intelligence from them. Read on...

Nelson Migdal

Don't do it! At least not without some serious thought to be sure there is simply no other way to go. With some very high profile cases of a hotel owner removing the hotel manager founded on common law principles of agency that give a hotel owner the power to revoke the agency, hotel owners and hotel managers might be tempted to rely on agency law as a "Plan B" if the owner-manager relationship sours despite what is in the hotel management agreement. Consider that this might not be the best laid plan as between an owner and manager. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

The matters weighing on the minds of hotel and resort owners and operators are many: average daily rates, occupancy levels, market penetration, revenue generation, operating costs, growth trajectories, tourism trends, customer service demands, real estate concerns, budget constraints, inventory management, cyber security and effective marketing strategies are a few of the major ones. Labor and employment issues are an unusually significant source of concern for hotel executives as well, demanding a disproportionate amount of their attention given the burdensome legal requirements imposed upon employers. Read on...

John Mavros

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...

Michael B. Newman

Imagine you are a hotel executive for a large, regional hotel chain and on the brink of closing a significant transaction for the purchase of another hotel chain with locations throughout the United States. You receive a frantic telephone call from the general manager of your outside management company. "Is the seller prepared to make the requisite change of control notifications for the alcohol beverage licenses with the various state and local alcohol beverage agencies?" This is the type of question that is best planned for in advance of any merger or acquisition transaction involving an alcohol beverage-licensed hotel business. An analysis of this question will be covered in this article. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.