How Hotels May Mitigate Bad Publicity

By Steven D. Weber Managing Partner, Stark Weber PLLC | September 02, 2018

In an age where so many players are competing to be noticed, it is easy to understand why some people say that there is no such thing as bad press.  But, is there an area where good press ends and bad press begins? Hospitality players would be well served to plan in advance for any instance of bad press.  In this article we consider a basic potential primer for responding to bad press.

Developing a plan for responding to bad press before bad press arises is one of the most important steps. The plan should include such elements as knowing who is in the response team, developing relationships with designated points of information that might counter bad press, and understanding legal ramifications of certain bad press.  Developing dedicated communication lines before bad press strikes may expedite a response to any bad press.

When a hospitality player develops their response plan, the hospitality player should consider reviewing existing policies and determining what, if any, policies it additionally requires.  As part of this process, the hospitality player should determine what policies apply to which of its contractors or employees.  For example, given the prevalence of electronic document systems, it may be crucial to have the person with knowledge of those systems take a lead role in developing a policy to preserve documents in accordance with the applicable law.  It is important that all contactors or employees with information that may need to be preserved pursuant to law be aware of those policies.

Hospitality players should consider putting together the appropriate response team.  The exact composition of a response team will depend upon the hospitality player. A hospitality player may want to include a Chief Technology Officer or other individual who has sufficient knowledge of the electronic systems used by the hospitality player.  This person may work to provide access to important systems, to ensure that systems are maintained, that the hospitality player can comply with any preservation requirements, and more.  A hospitality player should include a person with knowledge of the internal dynamics of the hospitality player or who knows which team member has the requisite knowledge needed to respond to the bad press. A hospitality player may also want to consider adding legal counsel to its response team. 

In some cases, bad press may be actionable.  Legal counsel may allow a hospitality player to assess its options for seeking relief in response to bad press.  Legal counsel may also assist in seeking immediate injunctive relief, if necessary.  Not acting promptly in response to an event could prevent any injunctive relief. 

In some cases, bad press may give rise to a lawsuit.  The exact claims that are available to a hospitality player related to the bad press will depend upon the specific facts that relate to the bad press.  Such claims may include, but are not limited to defamation, trade libel, or business disparagement.  Vetting of the bad press is essential to determine the possible merits of such an action.  In many cases, this will involve a strong understanding of the available facts.  When bad press features facts that are disputed, it is essential that an investigation be conducted into the allegations in the bad press and that the hospitality player know which facts are true and which appear to be false.  Knowing which facts are true and which appear to be false will allow a hospitality player to determine the feasibility of maintaining a cause of action related to that bad press. 

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Ken Hutcheson
John T. Bowen
Paul Feeney
Richard Dahm
Brett Tabano
Adria Levtchenko
Sam Small
Hillary Bressler
Joy Rothschild
Kelly McGuire
Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.