Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.

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Last month's feature articles...

Isaac-Daniel Astrachan

Modular construction is a hot topic in the construction industry and in particular for hospitality projects. Hotels, given their often-repetitive nature, are ideal for modular construction. The citizenM New York Bowery Hotel which opened a few months ago is a prime example. This new 19-story, 100,000 square foot building is located at 189 Bowery, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It consists of 300 guestrooms, double height lobby and lounge, as well as a rooftop lounge and outdoor deck with spectacular views of the city. The hotel won the 2019 World of Modular's First Place Award of Distinction and is the tallest modular hotel in the world. READ MORE

Matt Kavanagh

During the height of the "green design" craze, hotel RFPs fairly regularly required their buildings to receive some level of L.E.E.D. accreditation. As the general public became increasingly aware of the climate changes happening around them and their own carbon footprint, they started to consider how their own actions contributed to the environment they inhabited. Hotel owners quickly tried to capitalize on the growing market segment. New hotel brands, such as Element, were created specifically for the environmentally-conscious guest. After approximately 10 years or so, it seems like a reasonable time to step back and ask the question, was all the hype for "green design" worth it? READ MORE

Felicia Hyde

From self-driving cars to wearables and virtual reality, technology is infused into our everyday lives. Not only has it made our lives easier, but it has significantly shifted consumers' desire to an expectation for technological integration. Whether it's at the office, in an apartment community or their next hotel stay, consumers want the convenience and connection modern technology provides. This concept is already reshaping residential and multifamily communities nationwide and developers are integrating automations into their properties and design process that hoteliers may want to apply in order to curate a seamless and memorable guest experience. READ MORE

Clay Markham

From bespoke fashion to technology that adapts to individual biometrics to cars and homes designed to their owners' specific needs and wants, customization and personalization are synonymous with luxury and cutting-edge innovation. Increasingly, hotel brands and any company associated with travel are having to address this ever-growing trend. CallisonRTKL's Hospitality Sector Leader Clay Markham weighs in on the trend for customizable travel, how it works from a design perspective, what technology makes it all work, and what kind of personnel and skills the hotel of the future will need to succeed. READ MORE

John Tess

From their inception, historic hotels have played a defining role in uplifting a community. Beyond economic generators, they also serve as landmarks and as an expression of a community's larger sense of being. Despite the real estate market waning in some sectors, the hotel real estate market continues to thrive and grow. This continued growth has typically relied on historic preservation incentives and association with national hotel brands. This article talks about the evolution of the historic role of hotels in community revitalization and the ingredients of success. READ MORE

Christian Gonzalez

It wasn't that long ago that sustainability and luxury in hospitality seemed to be wildly at odds. While an eco-friendly consciousness was rapidly rising in our industry, it began with back-of-house changes that were aimed at efficiency and carefully made so as not to diminish the guest experience. But, a veritable green revolution has grown since those early days, and today being a leader in sustainable luxury isn't an oxymoron it's a commitment that we at Rosewood Mayakoba take to heart in everything we do. READ MORE

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Amenities continue to be a major focus as millennials and post-millennials become an increasingly economically influential demographic. To engender brand loyalty and social media buzz, developers and owners should make investments in design that create authentic experiences and socially activated spaces. Layouts and features that encourage social interaction among guests foster a sense of engagement and community, while the inclusion of biophilic design elements enhance the feeling of a restorative, relaxing and healthy stay. Design can also produce places and features that guests will immediately capture and share on social media – "Instagramable" moments that generate social media "word of mouth." READ MORE

Brian Murch

A culture of curiosity and thoughtful hospitality design has driven us as designers and creatives to constantly explore the guest journey and the creation of meaningful experiences. Today's tech-driven fast-paced world amplifies the need to take a step back and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Re-imagining spaces that utilize natural and organic design elements offers a moment of pause and contrast to the rich urbanistic surroundings of which we are accustomed. Nature-inspired design infusion creates balance and fulfills our inherent need to reconnect with nature and the outdoors; in the design world, this increasingly utilized approach is known as "biophilic design" and is adding another dimension to how we curate the hospitality guest experience. READ MORE

Hunter Clayton

When it comes to hospitality design experiences, we know that the best hotels support the business traveler, the leisure traveler, and the growing blur between them. The business traveler, specifically, is the most active and engaged guest when it comes to hotel amenities and usage. This is largely due to the fact that they are often spending the bulk of their time in hotel meeting spaces, business centers and conference rooms. So what can be done to make these typically enclosed spaces a source of task, social, entertainment, discovery and aspiration? The answer is likely beyond the walls. READ MORE

Mary Alice Palmer

As global discussions around climate change become more prevalent, so do conversations around human connection to nature. Incorporating nature and its elements by way of biophilic design is occurring everywhere – throughout our cities, workplaces, hospitals, academic institution and more. Exploring where the hospitality industry fits into these discussions is not only timely, but extremely relevant for hotel operators. Through their decades of industry knowledge and research, HKS Principals Mary Alice Palmer and Sergio Saenz, will discuss how biophilia can influence the psychographics of the guest, transform their hotel experience and guide them to making better decisions for the natural environment. READ MORE

Amanda Hertzler

Hotel owners and operators, exploring newer and better ways to improve guest experiences and profitability, are turning to an exciting new design approach, Biophilic Design. Based on the idea that humans crave connections with nature, biophilic hospitality design seeks to create hotel ecosystems that mimic the positive effects that nature has on humans. In nature-rich locations, biophilia harnesses the natural elements. In urban locations, however, where tech-centric lifestyles are common, architects and designers must harness both the natural elements and technology to create integrated and functional biophilic habitats that support the human desire to connect with the earth. In this article, MKDA Executive Managing Director Amanda Hertzler examines how to strike the perfect balance with technology in biophilic hotel design. READ MORE

Adrianne Korczynski

The wellness industry is projected to be worth nearly $919 billion by 2022, according to a 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute. The travel and hospitality sectors are beginning to catch on to these trends consumers are craving. To keep up with competitors, it's critical for hoteliers to evolve their environments to accommodate well-being needs and wants. Being in tune with wellness trends and reflecting that in the environments where people sleep, eat, work, and lounge will keep guests coming back and create a special feeling of ultimate relaxation, reflection, and peacefulness. READ MORE

Patrick Burke

As the experience-based economy continues to drive hospitality business, there is a parallel and growing trend toward biophilia, people's innate connection with nature. For over 35 years, American architect Patrick Burke, AIA has led Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create unique hospitality experiences for hotel operators and travelers around the globe, in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. Citing expert knowledge in the field of biophilia, he discusses the many ways that hospitality design can respond to the natural world, incorporate natural features at every scale, and enhance the guest experience. READ MORE

Tammy S. Miller

How do hoteliers, real estate management companies, asset managers and the like attract the traveler and make their property unique, desirable and sought after? Hotels have been curating a guest experience for years and have discovered that a more personalized, interactive and authentic experience delights their guests. An important part of hotel design is creating a strong narrative for each hotel. What is the hotel's story? Designers should create a design story for each hotel touching on the history of the hotel, the surrounding neighborhood, the mission of the property, the dedication to its guests. This story leads to better understanding of the goals of each project and builds trust, comprehension, receptivity and more. READ MORE

Monika Moser

The term Biophilic design comes from the word biophilia, meaning "the love of life." First used by an American biologist named Edward O. Wilson decades ago, the phrase has just recently emerged as a popular subject of discussion in the hospitality design world. In our modern society, especially amongst those living in urban environments, we have witnessed an increasing demand to reconnect with nature to maintain health and well-being. While companies quickly embraced the idea of employee wellness in response, hotels have fallen behind in adopting biophilic design to improve guest satisfaction and operational revenue. READ MORE

Anna Kreyling

There's no doubt biophilic design is on the rise, and with good reason. With health and wellness top of mind for customers, and a proven link between biophilic design strategies and increased well-being, the implementation of such features can not only enhance guest experience but add tangible value to a hotel's bottom line. Yet popular design elements like green walls have a high initial cost and require continued maintenance, which can be a limitation. So how can hoteliers split the difference and get smarter about biophilic design? We'll share key considerations to successfully implement biophilia without busting the budget. READ MORE

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.