Lakeland Hospitality Group Celebrates Topping-Out of SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Lakeland, Florida

USA, Lakeland, Florida. October 31, 2019

Lakeland Hospitality Group announced today the topping out construction milestone of the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in downtown Lakeland. The topping out signifies the completion of the building's preliminary structural framework with the placement of its final steel beam. The hotel broke ground on October 1, 2018 and is slated to open in mid-April 2020.

"We are thrilled to bring the first SpringHill Suites by Marriott to downtown Lakeland, creating jobs and economic growth for the area," said Wesley Barnett, manager of Lakeland Hospitality Group, and grandson of Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins. "Its ideal location coupled with excellent amenities are guaranteed to provide guests with a great stay."

Upon completion, the five-story hotel will feature 126 spacious rooms, 4,000 square-feet of meeting space, a full-service bar and lounge with tapas-style light bites, outdoor pool and patio with fire pit, and 24-hour fitness room. Along with an inviting atmosphere and impeccable customer service, the hotel will offer guests all the SpringHill Suites brand amenities they are accustomed to, including free hot breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24/7 market with "grab and go" options, and furniture packages from the modern home brand, West Elm.

SpringHill Suites Lakeland is located on the corner of W. Lime St. and Sikes Blvd. neighboring the RP Funding Center. The hotel will help attract events and visitors to the convention center, arena, and theater. Additionally, the hotel is located just minutes from the heart of downtown, with a variety of eateries, bars and local shops easily accessible.

Tomlinson Construction is serving as the project's development manager, overseeing the build and day-to-day construction efforts provided by general contractor Rodda Construction. McKibbon Places, an Atlanta-based company focused on hotel development and renovations, is consulting on the development of the hotel, which will be managed by Tampa-based McKibbon Hospitality.

"We're excited to join our partners in bringing new, modern accommodations to downtown Lakeland with the addition of the SpringHill Suites brand," said McKibbon Hospitality President Randy Hassen. "We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Lakeland community through our greatest asset, our people."

SpringHill Suites by Marriott, the largest all-suites brand in the upscale hotel tier, offers a refreshing and stylish take on the travel experience. The brand consistently ranks among the top Marriott brands in guest satisfaction and has won numerous J.D. Power awards for service. SpringHill Suites participates in Marriott's travel rewards program, Marriott Bonvoy, offering guests unparalleled benefits including loyalty points.

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Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.