Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Hara III

Robert J. O'Hara III

Attorney, Flaherty & O'Hara, PC

Robert “R.J.” O'Hara is president of Flaherty & O'Hara, p.c., a Pennsylvania-based boutique law firm with eleven attorneys and 20 support staff practicing exclusively in the alcohol beverage space. Mr. O'Hara received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Dayton in 1989 and his B.A. in English in 1985 from the same school. He served as Articles Editor of the University of Dayton Law Review and is a member of the National Honors Society in History. He co-founded the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants and is chair of its Board. He is an associate member of several national professional and alcohol regulatory organizations and is honored to be frequently invited to speak at national and regional conferences on alcohol-related topics, as well as on the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational uses.

Mr. O'Hara represents members of all three tiers of the alcohol industry, representing clients on general liquor licensing matters, complex ownership changes, in litigation and hearings, on multistate license acquisitions, and on administrative citations. Mr. O'Hara's clients include numerous private equity funds and institutional investors in the hospitality, restaurant and alcohol manufacturing spaces, and addressing their unique concerns. Flaherty & O'Hara is national liquor counsel to numerous national and regional chain hotels, restaurants and grocers. The Firm's attorneys also often counsel on tied house and trade practice matters, advise clients on the legality of national alcohol promotions and marketing programs, and frequently draft legislation. Mr. O'Hara is also a shareholder in a PA craft brewery, Erie Brewing Company in Erie, PA, maker of Railbender Ale, an award-winning Scotch ale, among others.


Mr. O'Hara III can be contacted at 412-456-2001 or rj@flaherty-ohara.com

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.