Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McGuinness

Brian McGuinness

Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Brian McGuinness is the Senior Vice President of Starwood's Specialty Select brands, including the Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton brands. McGuinness is responsible for development, strategic and creative direction, and overall performance of each of Starwood's select-serve lifestyle brands. Mr. McGuinness leads an integrated team, charged with ensuring the successful global launch of Starwood's first new brand introduction, Aloft Hotels, since the 1999 premiere of W Hotels; establishing Starwood's new green trailblazer, Element Hotels, as the extended-stay category leader and Starwood's green innovation lab; and re-launching the newly reinvented Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness began his career with Starwood in 1997. His tenure started at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers as Towers Manager, later transitioning to Reservations and Revenue Management Director. Successfully advancing through his hotel career, he was eventually tapped by Starwood corporate to roll-out a new property management technology platform and joined the creative team to launch the highly successful Starwood Preferred Guest Program. Continuing in marketing, he created the Global Marketing Operations group where he oversaw the execution of marketing programs globally. In 2002, furthering his entrepreneurial desires, Mr. McGuinness left Starwood to personally oversee the restoration of a charming bed and breakfast located on Cape Cod. After the successful completion of the restoration, Mr. McGuinness returned to Starwood's Manhattan-based offices to take on the challenge of leading one of the most exciting brand introductions in the hotel industry's history - Aloft Hotels. He relocated to Starwood's corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY in 2007 to lead the launch of both Aloft and Element Hotels worldwide, and has recently taken the reins on the Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness grew up in New England, the youngest of seven children. His passion for the hospitality business started at a young age during annual international trips with his family to everywhere from Canada to Europe.

Mr. McGuinness can be contacted at 914-640-8100 or brian.mcguinness@starwoodhotels.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.