December FOCUS

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

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. 

Library Archives


Last month's feature articles...

Maureen Beacom Gorman

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that the domain is capable of functioning as a trademark. Over the objections of the United States Patent & Trademark Office, the decision opens the door to other domain holders seeking Federal trademark protection of otherwise potentially generic brand names. The ruling shows how powerful consumer brand perception can be in obtaining trademark rights. READ MORE

Michael Wildes

COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to immigration and travel into the United States, and in turn has had a profound effect on the hospitality industry. While the challenges are daunting, by changing current immigration policies and implementing new safety guidelines, we can re-energize travel for business and tourism and resurrect the industry. READ MORE

Todd Soloway

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the hospitality landscape, and its effects on the industry are far from concluded. Diligent market participants can be poised to navigate this uncertainty and stand to reap substantial returns when the sector rebounds. The allure of these healthy future returns, however, should not give way to lax diligence, and a skeptical and thorough diligence process is critical to ensuring that stakeholders are best positioned to weather the current upheaval and benefit from future market upswings. READ MORE

Howard Russell

Liability waivers and limitation forms are commonly used by recreational facilities and tour companies, due in large part to the risks inherent in the use of recreational equipment and engaging in adventure tourism. Hotels and resorts are forced to balance the desire to offer guests amenities with the potential liability exposure created by providing access to the equipment involved. Howard Russell, office managing partner at Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial, provides factors for hotels and resorts to consider when developing or using waiver forms, sign-in sheets or liability limitation clauses. READ MORE

Adrienne Scribner

COVID-19 has changed the way the travelers view hotel stays. With evolving requirements from jurisdictions, protocols from hoteliers, and enhanced expectations of guests and staff alike, Adrienne Scribner from Baskervill's award-winning hospitality studio offers three cost-effective strategies hotel owners can implement to help their guests feel comfortable and safe in our pandemic and post-pandemic world, while also saving on costs in the long run. READ MORE

Jamie Gregg

Since Cleopatra's reign, copper's antimicrobial talents have been protecting populations killing 99.9% of all bacteria it touches. What other piece of furniture or material can scientifically support such a claim? By incorporating copper products into the design of your spaces and sharing its story in your marketing, you will offer an extra level of confidence for today's safety conscious guests. READ MORE

Mary Alice Palmer

As states grapple with decisions and mandates around in-person gatherings, hotels across the nation have seen a major loss of revenue generated from conferences, trade shows, weddings, and other social events. Event planners have had to rethink their production strategies, while some have tried to pivot to virtual platforms. As restrictions ease the question remains on how to adapt to today's new world and move forward thoughtfully and carefully. READ MORE

Matt Kavanagh

The days of hotel lobbies full of mask-less people, overflowing restaurants, and packed fitness rooms are probably a thing of the past. How hotel Brands, owners, and operators adapt and the strategies they utilize to address the new norms for key elements such as lobbies, F&B, and building systems will determine if they survive and how to plan for the future. READ MORE

Tim Schroeder

Tim Schroeder, President and CEO of Duravit North America, explores how technology and design help shape the hotel guest experience. Focusing on his area of expertise, the bathroom, Schroeder shares insights on leveraging innovations in product development and materiality to offer guests an experience that evokes emotion and affords enhanced levels of trust and safety in the current and post-pandemic world. READ MORE

Brent Zeigler

Many older hotels in large cities are forced to invest in upgrades when new venues go up nearby at competitive price points. Now that COVID has impacted the sector as a major disruptor, those plans will almost certainly have to change. This article offers guidance for working with designers and architects to manage safety concerns, stay competitive, and finding appealing ways to re-imagine the hotel experience in the COVID era. READ MORE

Joshua Zinder, AIA

With hotels unlikely to see a return to pre-pandemic occupancy rates before 2023, savvy executives turn to consultants and designers for innovative approaches to reconfiguring and reimagining amenities and service offerings. Targeted approaches can reinforce brand loyalty and capture new revenue by appealing to the new traveler mindset, which revolves around the question of safety and the desire for a positive guest experience. READ MORE

Megan Wenzl

Remote work is only increasing. It's estimated that at least 16 percent of workers will be remote workers after the pandemic, according to Harvard Business School. When done right, a hotel can provide a lobby set up for the remote worker, including excellent customer service, delicious coffee, a place to spend the night, and an escape into leisure activities. READ MORE

Cristina Faedi

The pandemic has accelerated a broader conversation about the importance of designing hospitality spaces that support visitor health and wellness. To stimulate the travel economy, hotel properties must step up to the plate with effective design solutions that make people feel comfortable and excited to book their stay. Here are six areas of hotel interiors that will see the biggest changes. READ MORE

Monika Moser

Monika Moser, Regional Managing Director for Wilson Associates' New York, Paris, and London studios, offers her insight into the key role of architectural interior designers in a post COVID-19 world. She oversees three of the international firm's three offices and shares potential solutions for the evolving hospitality and food and beverage industry. READ MORE

Brian Stern

The events of the past 8 months have forced the hotel industry to reevaluate the notion of cost containment and efficiency vs. preparedness and prevention. When considering the future of travel and the hotel industry, the implications for hotel design and remodeling creates new opportunities for resiliency and survival in the months and years to come. Welcome UV light technology… READ MORE

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Coming up in January 2021...