Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. d'Elsa

Laura d'Elsa

Regional Director USA / Canada, German Convention Bureau

Laura d'Elsa is the Regional Director USA/Canada for the German Convention Bureau (GCB). Based in New York City, she represents the GCB in the North American markets and promotes Germany as a leading meetings destination. Ms. d'Elsa serves as the main point of contact for U.S. and Canadian companies, associations and organizations interested in hosting events, meetings, and incentive programs in Germany. She also oversees all operations for the NYC office. Ms. d'Elsa is focused on educating clients and prospects on the benefits of hosting meetings in Germany, which include excellent value for money, a world class transportation system, exciting and historic cities, and many green venues and convention centers. A major theme she is responsible for driving in North America is Germany's expertise in key sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, finance and economics, logistics management, technology and more. In leveraging these expertise clusters the GCB and its German partners are able to create memorable and strategy-focused experiences that have made the country the #1 association meetings destination in Europe and #2 in the World. Ms. d'Elsa joined the GCB in 2011 from Sydney, Australia, where she worked for event agency DKC International. At that agency, which focuses on events in the government, non-profit, and association sectors, she was responsible for the public relations and marketing for all events, including strategy development and implementation, sponsorship management, collateral production, and media planning. Among other projects, Ms. d'Elsa managed and coordinated all media relations for the Australian lecture tour of Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph Stiglitz, which was extensively covered in national and international media outlets. Ms. d'Elsa's previous professional experience spans all areas of integrated communications. She started her career at the Coca-Cola Company in Vienna, Austria, working first in the company's public affairs and communications department and then for the Coca-Cola UEFA Euro 2008 project team, where she managed the company's Austrian hospitality activities surrounding the 2008 European Soccer Championships. Ms. d'Elsa has also worked as a freelance editor and translator in the fashion and media industry and as a public relations consultant in the non-profit sector and now serves as a source on the meetings industry and business travel in Germany in leading MICE publications.

Ms. d'Elsa can be contacted at 212-661-4582 or gcbny@gcb.de

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.