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Keys to Success:

Be Aware of and Work with the Law; Do Not be Afraid of it

by Dr. John Hogan,
December 21, 2010

In my professional work as a consultant, author, speaker and service as an expert witness for both plaintiffs and defendants, I grow more aware of what a litigious society we are.

I was recently asked to share “Lessons I learned in 2010”.  At first, it was a bit challenging but on reflection, I found it was a positive activity and one I would recommend to others.

2010 has been different from the two previous years. On the positive side:
  • While still in an overall down market, the industry has begun to recover in certain markets. 
  • There are some upbeat signals relating to meetings and business travel. 
On the negative side:
  • Despite government stimulus assistance to many business sectors, there are still too many hotels that are being returned to lenders in the USA.
  • Even with low interest rates and credit allegedly being available, business is still recovering with polls reflecting cautious optimism at best.

With that in mind, my thoughts turned to areas to share with readers on ways they might be able to continue to learn on how to both improve operations and protect their businesses and assets.   There a large number of conferences and online resources available addressing these two issues, and one needs to be aware of the options and choices.  

For the first time, I am going to provide readers with background information and an overview of a program that discusses both of those sensitive issues of legal protection and operations.   From alcohol and food liability to labor and employment, the latest trends and issues in hospitality law are included at the 2011 Hospitality Law Conference, February 9-11, 2011.

I find this conference differs from many others in its organization, structure, audience and more intimate size.  It was created for and continues to evolve as an excellent forum for in-house counsel, attorneys practicing in the hospitality industry, CFOs, comptrollers, accountants and IT professionals.  It also has specific discussions of interest to those involved with risk management, security and loss prevention. This year’s program includes a number of discussions on franchise services from involved parties.

Major topic areas for Restaurant and Hotel In-House Counsel include discussions on:

The impact of Bankruptcies and receiverships on Brands, Franchise and Management Agreements
  1. The details of government audits and inspections
  2. Corruption Risks in the Hospitality Industry
  3. Updates on national government trends and proposals for the future
  4. The Selection and ongoing relationships with external counsel
There is a segment on Real Estate Transactions that covers a wide range of topics not usually found in many industry conferences.  Discussions planned include:
  1. Joint Ventures
  2. Property tax appeals and approaches in different kinds of markets
  3. Restructuring Equity and Debt in Challenging Economic Periods
There are additional sessions for people who are either looking for a refresher or an overview of certain operational reports and their meaning:
  1. Key Business Terms and  Concepts in Hotel Agreements
  2. Fully grasping the range of Hotel Valuation Methodologies and Investment Analysis
  3. Understanding Hotel Financial Statements and Pro Formas and how the differences are resolved (including key reports and operational metrics)
In Operations, there is a substantial range of topics in both Food & Beverage and Lodging Activity and Profit Centers:
  1. Health Care Reform and What are the Next Steps for Hotel Owners and Managers
  2. Understanding Federal Menu Labeling Requirements in the future
  3. Addressing Investor Questions and Concerns relating to Liquor Licensing\
  4. Negotiating and Using Distributions Agreements and Systems
  5. Working with the relatively new service and amenities in Spas, including Compliance Issues, Operational Practices and dealing with Spa Claims
  6. Addressing the Problems in Non-Compliance relating to tipped employees and Tip Credit Statutes
  7. New ADA Accessibility laws now in effect
  8. Privacy and IT responsibility with 3rd Party Site
As mentioned earlier, the market place continues to see large numbers of legal claims that use time, staff and financial resources. Many of these are in Human Resources and/or other areas in Risk Management and Loss Prevention.
Sessions scheduled here include:
  1. Dealing with Hospitality Immigration Issues
  2. Understanding the Benefits and Concerns in Seasonal Staff, Contractors and other contingent staff
  3. Investigations in Hospitality and How to Deal with the,
  4. Wage and Hour Court Cases
  5. Understanding Arbitration
  6. Dealing with complex property claims
  7. Insurance Litigation trends
  8. Addressing safety in Spas, Workout Area and Pools
  9. Understanding Insurance for Business Interruption and Lessons Learned from the past 5 years
  10. Dealing with your staff and the impact of Social Media
One of the best segments that is always enjoyed by participants are the Hospitality Law Case reviews that are shared.  These usually include Food & Beverage Liability cases, Franchise disputes and resolutions and how to avoid negative publicity and liability by learning what “not to do.”

I have attended and participated in literally hundreds of programs in my career to date. I offer Four Key Benefits to attending this particular conference:
  • This is an independent symposium, not organized or branded by a specific hospitality company.  This independence, as coordinated by founder, Stephen Barth, clearly avoids the restraints that the branded meetings must address.
  • Attendees receive current and detailed information on urgent concerns in the hospitality industry including franchising, legislation, premises liability, financial options, as well as changes in employment and management contracts.
  • Sessions are led by hospitality industry counsel, hospitality faculty and business leaders that are personally involved in the every day and long term components of the business.
  • This is an intimate conference, with attendance aimed at no more than 400.  This allows excellent opportunities for one-on-one discussions, Q&A sessions that are meaningful, networking and real world scenarios.  The participation of a limited number of hospitality law faculty and students adds to the blend of activity.
The conference will be held at the Omni Houston Hotel, in Houston, Texas. For more information, go to

In an article next month, I will highlight a number of international programs offered by university sponsored hospitality programs that reach out to management at various levels.  If you would like to share examples of such a program, contact me @ [email protected]

Keys to Success 
Hospitality Tip of the Week:

Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #5

“Establish a Mission Statement that includes a Pride and Credo of what your purpose is.” 

Dr. John Hogan, CHA CHE CMHS
Part of the 15 Timeless Philosophies In Hospitality
A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop

Contact me for ideas and discussions

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS, Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success

Feel free to share an idea for a column at [email protected]  anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to [email protected].  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.


Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
[email protected]

Also See: Keys to Success: Make Your Hotel More Profitable and Successful – 2011 is the critical time to invest in Your Talent and Your Team / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Keys to Success: A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry; 13 Best Practices for Hospitality Training Managers & Directors / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Looking Ahead! / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Learning from The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Five Considerations in Hiring a Hospitality Consultant; Understanding the Qualifications for Effective Hospitality Consultants / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Half Luck and Half Brains - Kemmons Wilson's 20 Steps for Success / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Ten Quotes Addressing the Topic of SERVICE / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations - Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance (Part 2 of 2) / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance Part 1 of 2 / Dr John Hogan

Hospitality Conversations: Examining the Learning Options Available in the Hospitality Field / Dr John Hogan / July 2010


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