Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Sheridan

Martha Sheridan

President & CEO, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Martha Sheridan is president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB). In her role she leads an organization whose mission is to create vibrant growth for the local hospitality economy by promoting, developing, and expanding a united visitor industry. She oversees all day to day operations at the PWCVB, leading a staff of 20 destination sales and marketing professionals. In 2010 Ms. Sheridan spearheaded efforts to form the Rhode Island Sports Commission, now a division of the PWCVB. Ms. Sheridan has over 25 years experience in destination marketing. Prior to her current position she served as Vice President of Sales at the Newport County (RI) Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was recently named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings magazine. Ms. Sheridan just completed a term as Chair of the Destination Marketing Association International, the world's largest association of destination marketing professionals. She has held leadership positions with several local, regional and national organizations including the RI Hospitality and Tourism Association Education Foundation, Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter (MPINE) and the New England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Ms. Sheridan is the recipient of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association's (RIHA) Mary Brennan Tourism Award for outstanding achievement in tourism promotion and in 2010 was named RIHA Woman of the Year. She is also the recipient of the MPINE President's Award and the MPINE Supplier of the Year Award. In 2013, Ms. Sheridan was presented the Morris J. Gaebe Profile in Excellence Award from Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and lives in Wakefield, RI with her husband, Arthur and three children.

Ms. Sheridan can be contacted at 401-456-0224 or msheridan@goprovidence.com

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.