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Tara K. Gorman

Viva Las Vegas - "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" - not anymore, at least not when it comes to hotel security in the aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States by an individual. Hotel owners, operators and brands are taking a hard look at their security policies and procedures with an eye on balancing the safety and privacy of their guests, and safety of members of the community surrounding their hotel, with the comfort and "hospitable" environment that guests expect in hotels. This article will explore whether the Las Vegas shooting will significantly change the way hotel owners, operators and brands approach their security procedures. READ MORE

John Mavros

Local legislatures in states, counties, and cities across America are implementing new Paid Sick Leave laws to build a healthy workforce, but employers have no simple task in making sense of them. What is the difference between an accrual cap, a use cap, and a rolling cap? What are the pros and cons of the accrual method versus the frontload method? How does a PTO plan interact with new Paid Sick Leave laws? Check out this article for guidance from employment attorneys to help understand and successfully implement these viral laws. READ MORE

Michael Pryor

Dialing 911 will soon became easier for guests staying at hotels because of a bill signed by President Trump on Feb. 16, 2018 called, Kari's Law. Michael Pryor, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, dissects Kari's Law and how its requirements apply to businesses that operate or manage multi-line telephone systems, including, of course, hotel owners and operators. Technically, the law became part of the Federal Communications Act and in particular, its enforcement provisions. So what is required? Read more... READ MORE

William Shepherd

Marriott recently announced the implementation of global anti-human trafficking policies and a training program for all employees. The company's efforts highlight the growing national and international trend toward requiring companies to proactively weed out trafficking from their business and supply chains. Both domestic and international laws are making fighting trafficking a business imperative for hotels who want to avoid brand and liability risks. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

No contemporary workplace challenge is more immediate for employers than sexual assault and harassment. Such wrongdoing, once veiled in secrecy, denial and inattention, is now receiving the consideration it deserves, thanks, in part, to the #MeToo movement. Employers from every business imaginable have taken notice and are making an effort to eliminate inappropriate behavior on the job. Still, there is much work to be done. For their part, hotel and resort owners, operators and management face a particularly acute crisis with respect to sexual misconduct in the workplace, and must take affirmative steps to address this growing epidemic which uniquely impacts their industry. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

A cyberattack, a natural disaster, an injured guest - bad things can happen in the hospitality industry. Hospitality industry players should not have their heads in the sand when it comes to bad events. Instead, hospitality industry players should take steps to prepare for the bad event and practice their response to the bad event. This preparation might include training, preparing a response team, and understanding any legal obligations that may apply in light of any such bad event. Aside from risking bad publicity, a failure to prepare may have legal ramifications. Preparation may mitigate those risks. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Is your hotel website accessible to those with disabilities? If you don't think this will impact your property, think again. More than 800 federal lawsuits claiming lack of website accessibility were filed in 2017, including many against hospitality companies and hotels. Christine Samsel and Jonathan Sandler, shareholders at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, dive into what the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) has to do with websites and why the hospitality industry is particularly susceptible to individuals filing claims against them. READ MORE

Josias Dewey

Earlier this year, the travel company Webjet announced it was in the process of converting a blockchain pilot it had developed into a commercial grade application. The blockchain-based application will be able to provide accurate information about hotel inventory, on a real-time basis, for hotels around the world. This article will discuss these and other possible use cases important to the hospitality industry, including their business justification. Beyond the explanation of use cases, the article highlights several legal considerations that hotel counsel will need to confront and consider as the technology is deployed, including intellectual property, privacy laws in the United States and the European Union and FinCen's current guidance on convertible virtual currencies and the potential relationship between money laundering and blockchain-based loyalty programs. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

There is a growing shortage of qualified and skilled hospitality employees. This shortage may lead hospitality brands to hire from competitors. While the idea of hiring a skilled employee with access to a competitor's information may be tempting, hiring from a competitor may have negative repercussions for the employee, the employer, and for the hospitality brand that is hiring them. To mitigate the risk of such a repercussion, a hospitality brand may wish to consider the below when hiring from a competitor. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Hoteliers may ask: "isn't cannabis illegal under the federal law?" The short answer is yes, but that is a qualified response at best. As the scale tips toward marijuana becoming legal throughout the country, pot continues to be against the law federally. The resulting dichotomy between the relaxed view of cannabis and its extracts at the state level and the current federal position on marijuana is an interesting one. According to the Controlled Substance Act, by which the federal government regulates drugs, there is no recognized difference between cannabis, cocaine, heroin or LSD. Likewise, the CSA does not distinguish between the medical and recreational use of marijuana. So technically, pot is illegal and users (even those with valid prescriptions for the substance) can be arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail under the federal law as it stands. READ MORE

Leon Fresco

There are two main challenges the hospitality industry faces from the new Administration's immigration policies - increased labor costs and decreased demand. With regard to labor, policies are likely to be promulgated that may remove millions of non-U.S. citizen workers from the U.S. workforce and make it far more challenging for the hospitality industry to obtain the labor needed operate its facilities. With regard to demand, policies have already been put in place, and are likely to continue to expand, that will reduce the demand from foreign visitors to enter the United States and consume hospitality resources. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

Competitive intelligence is a powerful tool used to maintain an advantage over competitors. A wealth of competitive intelligence can be obtained through public documents like public filings, earnings reports, and legal documents. Compiling, reviewing, and extrapolating the competitive intelligence from those documents takes time and money. Succumbing to the temptation to shortcut the necessary effort can have costly legal consequences. Hospitality industry companies must thus be wary of engaging in methods that cross legal and ethical boundaries. Companies must also be watchful of any efforts by their competitors to gather intelligence from them. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

The matters weighing on the minds of hotel and resort owners and operators are many: average daily rates, occupancy levels, market penetration, revenue generation, operating costs, growth trajectories, tourism trends, customer service demands, real estate concerns, budget constraints, inventory management, cyber security and effective marketing strategies are a few of the major ones. Labor and employment issues are an unusually significant source of concern for hotel executives as well, demanding a disproportionate amount of their attention given the burdensome legal requirements imposed upon employers. READ MORE

John Mavros

Given the increasing number of disability discrimination lawsuits, it is imperative that employers know and understand an employee's rights to leave and reasonable accommodation when injured or disabled. A workers compensation injury is not only covered by rules in the workers compensation system, but is typically also governed by requirements, obligations, and limitations under other important statutes. The Family Medical Leave Act, the American with Disabilities Act, and worker's compensation provide employees that are injured or disabled with various rights to leave or reasonable accommodation. This article will explore each law's parameters and the interplay among them. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Pro-employer stars are aligning in Washington, D.C., that can only benefit the hospitality industry. What began with President Donald J. Trump's appointment of conservative Alexander Acosta as the United States Secretary of Labor, has been followed by his nomination of Republicans Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board - moves that are decidedly a boon to business. Under Secretary Acosta, the Department of Labor withdrew guidance put in place by the Obama administration on the joint employment issue, a positive step for hotel and resort owners, operators and franchisors. If confirmed, Messrs. Kaplan's and Emanuel's presence on the NLRB is certain to lead to the unraveling of various labor-related actions also deemed unfavorable to employers, hoteliers included. 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.