Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Donnell

James O'Donnell

Chief Operating Officer, Vail Resorts Hospitality

James O'Donnell joined RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality in 2002 as Corporate Director of Finance, and became Regional Director of Operations in 2004. In 2006, he became Vice President of Strategic Development, where he was responsible for the acquisition of new management contracts and developments for RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the acquisition and growth of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division and other lines of business, including ski resorts and online media. Mr. O'Donnell was named Chief Financial Officer in August 2011 and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Before joining RockResorts, Mr. O'Donnell was an assurance and business advisory services manager for Arthur Andersen LLP, in both the Miami and Denver offices. While at Andersen, he specialized in the hospitality and real estate industries. Mr. O'Donnell received his Bachelor and Master in Business Administration degrees from the University of Miami, in Miami, FL. He regularly speaks on industry expert panels at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the NYU Lodging Conference and various other conferences

Mr. O'Donnell can be contacted at 303-404-1800 or jodonnell@vailresorts.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.