Library Archives

 
Steven D. Weber

A trademark can be a recognizable sign or design that defines a brand. Protecting that trademark can be crucial to a hospitality player attracting guests and maintaining a competitive edge. A hospitality player's success may lead to imitation from competitors. That imitation may lead to infringement of a hospitality player's trademark. Protecting any trademark should be a priority for hospitality players. Failing to protect a trademark can lead to waiving rights and claims that a hospitality player may use to enforce its trademark rights. Hospitality players should seek to understand whether any threats exist to their trademark rights and take appropriate action in response to those threats. READ MORE

John Mavros

Hotel Managers are on the frontlines of preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from occurring in the workplace. They are in the best position to spot warning signs that harassment may be occurring and they are most likely to be the first person an employee confides in with a complaint. As such, it is important that managers are equipped to stop harassment and any future harassment lawsuits in their tracks. This article details a "5 Step Plan for Managers" in the midst of the growing #MeToo movement to help them foster harassment free workplaces. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

In the hospitality industry it is crucial to have the right employees. The right employees may enable a hospitality player to provide an ideal environment for its customers that may leave a lasting impression that will lead to future business. To retain employees, hospitality players may consider entering into a no-poach agreement. A no-poach agreement between hospitality players may be, among other things, an agreement that two players agree not to hire employees from each other. Such agreements may be unlawful, and hospitality players should be wary of them and consult with legal counsel before entering into them. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

The past twelve months have seen a significant uptick in the volume of cases filed related to website accessibility issues, with the most recent trend being claims by disabled prospective employees for inaccessible online job search and application processes that allegedly render them unable to browse and apply for open positions. Attorneys Christine Samsel and Jonathan Sandler provide legal insight on this trend and what business leaders can do to protect their company from these types of claims… READ MORE

Luna Phillips

As fresh water supplies across the country stretch thinner due to a confluence of factors, hotel developers and managers are getting squeezed. An increasing focus on water conservation from consumers and both state and local regulators has its benefits, but also creates economic drawbacks for hotel executives by decreasing the supply and increasing the price of water. This added cost raises the price of admission for both owners and consumers, but armed with the correct information and tactics, hotel executives can shrewdly save valuable dollars while playing by these new rules. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Hoteliers in the Golden State better pay heed to a recent decision by the California Supreme Court and think twice before neglecting to pay workers for routine, albeit trivial, duties that are handled off the clock. The ruling in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation severely limits a hotel or resort operator's ability to rely on the so-called "de minimis defense," an argument that California employers have, for years, successfully asserted in wage and hour litigation brought by employees seeking compensation for brief tasks undertaken pre- or post-shift. As the author explains, hospitality employers, in the wake of Troester, are encouraged to leverage available technology to capture all of the time their employees actually work on any given day. READ MORE

John Mavros

This article discusses the top five ways hotels get served with disability discrimination lawsuits. Disability discrimination lawsuits are on the rise and one of the best ways to protect your hotel from getting served with a lawsuit is to assure that hoteliers fully understand obligations under the various leave laws and that their managers are trained properly on those obligations. Maintaining written policies, memorializing any verbal communications with employees, documenting analyses of possible accommodations, and recording any accommodations or leaves of absences ultimately provided are essential steps for avoiding costly litigation. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

Some people say that there is no such thing as bad press. However, in some cases, bad press could potentially damage a brand and continue damaging a brand now that information available on the internet may never be erased – or forgotten. A hospitality player’s response to bad press should include formulating a plan beforehand so that a hospitality player may respond to bad press in an organized manner. Once any bad press is discovered, the next step may be determining how best to respond. Certain bad press may be actionable to the extent that a hospitality player may seek relief from it through a lawsuit. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Looking to renovate? Make sure you consider the ADA when doing so. In this article, Christine Samsel, Jonathan Sandler and Allison Gambill of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck walk through ADA compliance considerations for renovations. They provide guidance on how to determine which Title III ADA standards apply to which portions of your facility, including how renovations may impact compliance requirements and common ADA compliance problem areas. This article builds upon their prior articles related to (among other things) website accessibility issues, including guidelines for making your website reservation system accessible to the disabled. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Airbnb, thought by some to pose an existential threat to hotels and resorts, continues to compete with them for market share. That being said, the off-the-charts growth that the short-term rental company experienced in years past seems to have leveled off, and it looks as though mainstream lodging has weathered the Airbnb storm. But how? With an eye toward an ever-expanding network of regulations, both here and abroad, that not only limit Airbnb’s inventory, but also hold its hosts accountable to hotel-like standards, hoteliers have staved off their (exaggerated) demise. In doing so, hotels and resorts have emerged stronger and more innovative than ever. READ MORE

Bruce Liebman

Most of the projected growth in the Caribbean region is expected to come from foreign visitor spending and the United States has remained the most important supplier of tourists to the Caribbean region. However, what happens when these foreign visitors return to the United States and bring lawsuits against the resort in their home states? Defending lawsuits throughout the 50 states is financially and logistically burdensome. This article offers best practices for hotels in the Caribbean to protect themselves from claims brought in the US, preemptive measures and how to get the lawsuits moved to their home turf. READ MORE

John Mavros

Wage and hour class actions are one of the biggest financial risks to employers. They can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and could require a multimillion dollar settlement. Employers should protect themselves from this risk by complying with federal and state wage and hour laws. However, the recent US Supreme Court decision in Epic Systems gives employers another critical line of protection: an arbitration agreement with a class action waiver. The Supreme Court affirmed that class action waivers are enforceable and do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. What is a class action waiver and how can your hotel capitalize on this ruling? READ MORE

Michael Starr

By mid-year, pay-equity statutes will be in effect in over 15 states, including key hospitality states like California, Illinois and Massachusetts. Other states will be coming on board to this trend soon. These statutes will force hotels to justify pay disparities across jobs that were never before regarded as comparable – like, possibly, kitchen stewards and room attendants. Unless hotel employers start preparing now to analyze and justify pay disparities across job classifications, they may confront large and unexpected legal liabilities. This article explains this emerging trend and gives guidance on how to prepare. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

When does your hotel remodel trigger an obligation to become ADA compliant? From ensuring the correct number of disabled-accessible guest rooms to pool and spa accessibility, attorneys with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Christine Samsel, Jonathan Sandler and Nick Santucci, address key questions and provide answers on making sure your updates are ADA-compliant. Read more in their latest article... READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

When disaster strikes in the hospitality industry or something bad happens, bad publicity almost inevitably follows. A hospitality player might try to take actions to mitigate the impact of this publicity. However, in today's day and age, once the information is out in the news or social media, it may never be erased - or forgotten. The information may sit there for years misinforming and causing damage to a brand. When does publicity cross the line from being merely damaging information about a hospitality industry player - or any business - to information that they might seek to rectify through a lawsuit. READ MORE

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Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.