The hospitality industry is constantly challenged with controlling high operating costs, optimizing real estate assets, managing a high-turnover workforce, and providing its guests outstanding experiences with minimal risk. The recent real estate downturn, however, coupled with heightened privacy regulations and a more migrant workforce, have created a new set of challenges.
Regarding real estate, some industry participants continue to deal with distressed assets, while others are pursuing new opportunities. Although the worst appears to be over, the lasting effects of the crisis, which hit most markets, will inevitably change the way hotels, resorts and other leisure projects around the world are conceived, developed, financed and operated in the future. We continue to work closely with our clients to better address, and take advantage of, these challenging strategic matters.
The industry has struggled for some time with human resources issues, with guest services compromised by staff reductions, high turnover and poorly trained workers. We continue to work with our clients not only to manage these traditional workforce issues, such as contracts, employment law requirements, compliance training, litigation, but also to address new legal issues arising from managing the “modern” workforce, such as immigration and I9 processes and documentation and alternative work arrangements and non-compete agreements.
Our privacy efforts also include working with clients to protect themselves against the threat of data breach liability and properly meet new regulatory requirements from the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, such as appropriate corporate procedures to ensure the safety and fair use of consumer information and proper procedures for preventing and responding to data breaches. Through our partnership with The Venza Group – a leading eLearning provider to the travel/hospitality and healthcare industries worldwide—we also have helped our clients train their workforce more thoroughly and cost-effectively on proper procedures in the increasingly important area of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance, to further safeguard consumer information, and on the prevention of sexual harassment within the hotel environment.
Overall, industry players will have to develop effective strategies for dealing with issues such as foreclosures, equity and debt financings, re-financings and workouts, structuring and restructuring of hotel and mixed-use projects, branding and re-branding, and taking advantage of strategic opportunities and making new and existing hotels and resorts operate profitably while at the same time meeting consumer expectations, generating acceptable financial returns and delivering on the brands’ “promise” as to their guests’ experience. Now, more than ever, it is important to have trusted advisors that not only understand the industry, but have the vision and singularity of purpose to help clients manage through these dynamic times.
AGG offers the breadth and depth of our core practice groups, including Corporate, Real Estate, Finance, Franchise, Employment, Litigation, Privacy, and Intellectual Property, to serve the needs of our clients in the hospitality sector. Our industry focus and experience, in combination with our legal, financing and eLearning partners, enable us to provide first-class service to our clients in connection with their local and international investments and operations.