Hospitality Industry News Update: “Restaurant And Hospitality News For VARs”

This week the news includes a warning that hackers are using third-parties to gain access to data through vulnerable systems. Also, hotels and other retailers are adopting new mobile technology for check-in. Image And finally, in an interview with Forest Key of Buuteeq, we find out why hotel marketing is flying to the cloud.

Hackers Lurking In Vents And Soda Machines

This article from The New York Times discusses how your clients could be vulnerable to cyberattacks through solutions and devices be tied to a leaky third party, such as online menus, or even heating and cooling providers who now monitor and adjust office temperatures remotely, and vending machine suppliers who can see when their clients are out of Diet Cokes and Cheetos. Vendors are tempting targets for hackers because they tend to run older systems, and once hackers have found a way in, the devices offer them a place to hide in plain sight.

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Filed under Crime, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Hotel Hospitality: How to Stay on the Right Side of the Law”

“…No hotel firm wants to see their guests get hurt or for customer death to occur that they may have contributed to. Tragedies such as these are usually completely avoidable if the hotel Image follows health and safety and hospitality law guidelines for their guests. To keep on the right side of the law make sure you are fully up to date on your legal obligations towards your clients…?

The Hilton chain of hotels and its related businesses are being sued after the death of 27 year old Raul Hernandez Martinez, who was electrocuted after using a swimming pool at the Hilton Houston Westchase Hotel. According to, he and his relatives had been using the pool on the evening of August 31st 2013 when the pool lights turned on as it began to get dark.

People began to complain of being shocked by electrical current and a child that was swimming at the deep end began to get into difficulties. On swimming over to him to assist him, Mr. Martinez was shocked and began convulsing.  Although he managed to lift the child out of the water, he was unable to get out. When he was pulled out, he had gone into cardiac arrest. He died six days later in the intensive care unit of the local hospital.

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Hospitality Industry Conference Update” Southern California Hotel and Lodging Conference”

Hospitality Industry Conference Update” Southern California Hotel and Lodging Conference”

We just wanted to remind everyone to come check out Petra’s own Director of Risk Management, Todd Seiders, and Loss Control Manager, Marco Johnson, at the Southern California Hotel and Lodging Conference. We hope to see you there!

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Filed under Conferences, Risk Management, Management And Ownership, Hotel Industry

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Lawsuits to Recover Unpaid Wages and Damages For 89 Workers at Five Hotels Filed by US Labor Department”

“…Investigators from the division’s Columbus District Office found violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record keeping provisions for 61 workers jointly employed by Darpan Management and Fantastic Cleaning. Fantastic Cleaning, which provided housekeepers, attendants and laundry DOL staff for the hotels owned and operated by Darpan Management, misclassified the housekeepers, who were employees, as independent contractors. These employees were paid by the room and frequently did not earn enough to make the federal minimum wage…”

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed two lawsuits in the federal district court in Columbus against Darpan Management Inc.; five hotels the company owns and manages; and its owners, Darshan Shah, Vibhakar Shah and Prakash Patel.

One of the lawsuits addresses violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions for the hotel staff directly working for Darpan Management, and the other addresses similar violations for workers jointly employed by Fantastic Cleaning Ltd., a company that provided hotel staff to Darpan Management. The two lawsuits seek back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 89 workers.

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Filed under Claims, Employment Practices Liability, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Labor Issues, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Recent Hotel Incidents Serve as Cautionary Tales of Carbon Monoxide Health and Legal Risks”

“…Should a hotel have to contend with the unthinkable, a catastrophic incident, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, it is advisable to immediately conduct a detailed and thorough investigation. Preferably, counsel should be retained at the outset to shepherd the investigation, retain appropriate experts Image and serve as a liaison between the hotel and the investigating authorities. The benefit of counsel conducting the investigation is that everything learned during the course of the investigation falls under attorney client privilege in the likely event that a lawsuit is initiated…”

Recently media exposure regarding the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels, motels, and resorts has seemed to increase. The issue has garnered attention among such major media outlets as ABC News’ 20/20, USA Today, and CNN. With good reason – a 2013 USA Today Investigation showed that, “eight people have died and at least 170 others have been treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in the past three years in hotels.” A concerning statistic given that according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Comission, approximately 170 people die each year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products overall.

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a colorless, odorless, gas with toxic consequences for people and animals. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a risk that hotel, motel, and resort operators must take seriously, most importantly to ensure the safety and well-being of guests. But also because of the potential legal exposure carbon monoxide poisoning poses, both to business entities and individual owners, should the unthinkable happen in their hotel.

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Filed under Claims, Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Industry, Liability, Management And Ownership, Pool And Spa, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Insurance Update: “Insurance Recovery for Business Interruption & Slowdown”

“…When claims arise, insurance companies will often look for ways to deny coverage or diminish their exposure to the loss. After charging you premiums based on the entirety of your business operations, these insurance companies should not be so quick to deny coverage to you on the grounds that Image you merely suffered a slowdown or partial interruption. If your insurance company is not fully cooperating, you should engage the services of an insurance recovery attorney who can assist you in getting the insurance company to honor its obligations under the policy…”

What happens when a hotel suffers property damage, whether by natural disaster or man-made accident, and is forced to close some or all of its rooms, amenities or services? It is important to understand how insurance can protect you from the resulting financial loss. In addition to potential recovery for property damage from your property/casualty policy, you may be able to recover lost revenue from your business interruption coverage. If your operations are disrupted, whether completely or partially, the language of your policy will determine if, and for how long, your insurance company will cover such loss.

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Filed under Business Interruption Insurance, Insurance, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “Tiered Wi-Fi Emerges as New Industry Model”

“…major hotel companies that have offered free Wi-Fi for several years at limited- and select-service brands have recognized that free basic Wi-Fi is indeed now a consumer expectation. Wifi In response, they have begun developing tiered offerings that satisfy customer demands while also leaving open the possibility of revenue for premium service….” 

After seeing complimentary Wi-Fi service become ubiquitous at limited- and select-service hotels, owner-operators of full-service properties are now facing growing pressures from consumers and brands to provide a tiered program that features free, property-wide basic service while charging for premium broadband access.

 “What we’re seeing now is more brands responding to consumer demand, because there has been a clear indication from consumers that basic connectivity is something they now expect us to provide (at no cost),” said Bill DeForrest, president and CEO of Chicago-based Spire Hospitality, which manages 22 properties including two full-service hotels under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Technology