White Lodging Celebrates Topping Off of Austin Marriott Downtown

USA, Austin, Texas. November 05, 2019

To celebrate the completion of its structural framework, Austin Marriott Downtown and White Lodging hosted a "topping-off" event in collaboration with local spirit masters Garrison Brothers Distillery.

In place of raising the "final beam," the Austin Marriott Downtown will raise three Garrison Brothers bourbon barrels via crane on the hotel's rooftop to commemorate structural completion. Just like bourbon takes on the characteristics of the barrel and its environment, the Austin Marriott Downtown is taking on the spirit of Austin and the surrounding neighborhood in its final construction stages. The barrels will remain on the roof throughout the duration of the construction period until opening in mid-2020, at which time the hotel's first guests will be treated to an exclusive Austin Marriott-inspired whiskey tasting.

"In less than a year, Austin will be home to the first Marriott Hotels-branded convention property to open since 2005, with a 31-story modern, locally-inspired design fit for the Texas capital's skyline," said David Meisner, general manager of Austin Marriott Downtown. "The hotel, along with White Lodging's other major convention hotels in the city, reinforce and support the city's attractiveness and growing demand for large meetings and conventions, as well as a strong tourism and business travel demand."

"When we were first approached by the Austin Marriott Downtown team, we were inspired by the hotel's idea of breaking boundaries of a typical convention center hotel," said Donnis Todd, master distiller at Garrison Brothers. "It felt very similar to what we had done when we became the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas and the first bourbon distillery outside of Kentucky - and we're excited to be a part of this monumental day."

Austin Marriott Downtown will feature 613 guest rooms, including 25 stunning suites, a rooftop pool and rooftop bar concept with breathtaking views, three bars and two locally inspired restaurant concepts on the ground level. The hotel will also offer more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space featuring an exhibit hall with floor-to-ceiling windows along a 170-foot glass wall. The hotel interior draws inspiration from Austin's surrounding environment, combining natural finishes with inspiring modern décor. A marquee design element of the hotel will be an exterior copper-colored elevator, allowing street access directly to the rooftop pool and bar concept. Additionally, the two-story lobby lounge will be a stylish and premium hot spot for locals and visitors alike.

Located across the street from the Austin Convention Center and in walking distance from famed 6th Street, the hotel is the ideal location for new meeting and stay experiences in one of America's top-rated cities. Parking with 257-spaces is available underground for easy commuter access.

White Lodging Loves Austin White Lodging currently owns and/or operates 12 other hotels and eight restaurants or bars in the Austin market. The company is also developing three other Marriott brand hotels in Austin's campus district: The Otis Hotel, part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the AC Hotel, and the Austin Moxy. The Otis and AC Hotel are scheduled to open in February 2020, and the Austin Moxy is scheduled to open late 2020.

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Coming up in December 2019...

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.