Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gabrielsen

Rick Gabrielsen

President, Kupuna Hospitality, LLC

Passionate involvement and infinite horizons are what defines Rick Gabrielsen — be it as an industry leader admired by his peers for a reputation of peak performance, a trusted advisor and loyal business partner, or a compassionate community volunteer. With 35 years experience in hospitality management for a variety of corporate, independent and bank owned hotels, he is one of the foremost experts in asset management and operations of boutique hotels and limited service properties. Prior to forming Kupuna Hospitality, Mr. Gabrielsen held the position of Area Vice President for Hilton Worldwide, managing company-owned and or managed brands of Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites hotels in the Mountain — West region and Mexico. He has opened 12 hotels and has transitioned 15 new hotels in the past ten years, and was responsible for a combined portfolio of 60 locations, with consistent recognition for team results in RevPAR, IBFC growth, Guest Service and Team Member Loyalty. Kupuna Hospitality's vision is to provide guidance and strength for dynamic growth to hotel owners and dedicated individuals able to implement sound strategic plans that yield optimum profits at hotels we manage. Mr. Gabrielsen is a C.H.O (Certified Hotel Owner) AAHOA Class of 2010-2011. He actively participates within various groups of sustainability and Green awareness and was recently awarded the EnergyStar certification for the Homewood Suites by Hilton, Oakland - Waterfront, a hotel within the portfolio of Kupuna. Passionate about the community and making a difference for others, Mr. Gabrielsen actively participates in Meals on Wheels and the Boulder Rotary Club. He has held Board positions in each and has been recognized as a “Silent Hero” and “Humanitarian of the Year” for his contributions in the community.

Mr. Gabrielsen can be contacted at 303-376-6313 or rick@kupunahospitality.com

Coming up in December 2019...

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.