“Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight.”

Sun-tzu, Chinese Military theorist (c. 500 BC)

In part 1 of this article, A Different Type of Conference for Hotel Owners and Operators, I shared why I find this particular conference to offer atypical and valuable insights and value for hotel owners. I outlined there the general sessions and some of the main topics covered.

  1. Sessions for Corporate Counsel to meet with peers in facilitated conversations.
  2. The Owner Management Summit which brings together hotel owners, hotel management groups, hospitality finance executives and attorneys in open discussions about the changing issues on branding, hotel development, hotel management contracts, and financial characteristics of owning and operating a hotel.
  3. The Hospitality Insurance and Loss Prevention Summit which reviews the top claims that have occurred over the last twelve months and the best practices to prevent them from occurring.

The Hospitality Law Conference also features break-out sessions and roundtable discussions in Lodging, Food & Beverage and Human Resources & Labor Relations.

There are unique Hospitality Forums added this year that follow the successful approach of the popular Ted Talks. In brief, 9 minute presentations, subject-matter experts will deliver focused and convincing presentations on many of the most pressing challenges alarming hotel/restaurant owners and operators, developers, and attorneys involved in hospitality.


Food and Beverage Forums

Produced and presented in coordination with the National Restaurant Association, this track focuses on food illness and other food safety claims, liability challenges when serving beverages containing alcohol, premises liability claims, and the essential financial aspects of restaurants.

Estimating Blood Alcohol Concentrations at a Given Time Point

Through case studies, this presentation describes how mathematical modeling can be used to retrospectively determine blood alcohol concentrations at a given time point for forensic analyses. Using this approach, which combines modeling of alcohol metabolism and post-mortem alcohol generation considerations (when necessary), one can

  • Accurately back-calculate BAC at a given time point using real-life consumption patterns (e.g., multiple drinks over time, different types of drinks)
  • Accurately estimate BAC based on individual characteristics (e.g., age, sex, height, weight)
  • Estimate the contribution of alcohol generation to the measured BAC after death

Thank You for (Not) Smoking: Legal Consideration for the On-Premise Consumption of Marijuana in the Hospitality Industry

The results of the 2016 Election represent a potential tipping point in the legalization of marijuana. Now that consuming marijuana and cannabis-derivative products -whether for medicinal or adult use -legal in more than half of the United States, you may have already encountered a marijuana-related issue.

Questions you may already be facing are:

  • Can patrons legally consume cannabis products inside or outside your property? If so, will you implement a corporate policy to ban or restrict this use?
  • Does your state’s Clean Indoor Air Act apply to prohibit smoking marijuana on site? What if a patron is vaping or dabbing or otherwise consuming cannabis-derivative products in a way that does not produce combustible smoke?
  • What are the legal implications for consuming marijuana-infused edible products on the premises?
  • How are states and localities responding to the marijuana tourism problem associated with transient guests desiring to engage in on-premise consumption for recreational purposes?
  • How does cannabis use impact your dram shop liability policies for intoxicated individuals who have consumed cannabis or alcohol or a combination of both to excess?

This talk will provide a general update on the state of cannabis law and offer insights on how to implement best practices and structure corporate policies to address these concerns.

Active Shooter Incidents: Recognition and Reaction

The course provides basic familiarization of the active shooter phenomenon, from inception of the event through resolution and takes participants through simulated scenarios allowing them to test their level of knowledge and preparedness.

  • Segments include recognizing the potential active shooter mindset through a study of actual shooting events.
  • Additionally, attendees will learn how to react when police arrive as well as measures to adopt during a workplace or public shooting which may speed resolution, reduce the risk of injury and save lives.

HR & Labor Relations Forums and Roundtables

The US Department of Labor set its sights on the Hospitality industry. Lessons learned in human resources from pop culture’s 2015 memorable moments, changing laws in privacy and data security in the Hospitality industry, are all included in the Labor and Employment track in 2016.

An Update on Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Case Law and Agency Matters and Practical Implications for Hospitality Employers

  1. This session will provide an overview of recent notable case law and agency matters (EEOC, etc.) in the discrimination, harassment and retaliation areas.
  2. Practical takeaway points for hospitality employers to minimize risk as it relates to the types of claims will be discussed

How Hospitality will be affected by the Trump Administration’s Labor and Employment Agenda

Lodging Forums

Management agreements including key negotiating points, traps to avoid and provisions to include in settling hospitality claims, trends in discrimination including the ADA claims arising out of FMLA, distribution and the world of parity, trending issues in hospitality regulation are highlights of this year’s Lodging track.

Hotel Foresight: A Hotel Terrorist Attack Playbook

  • This forum will showcase a new and innovative method to help protect hotels from terrorism and similar violence while helping safeguard ROI. This method entails using hotel attack data, statistics, and maps. Topics include “how to”:
  1. upgrade liabilities policies
  2. calculate underwriting risk
  3. write insurance policies,
  4. hone hotel development strategies, and
  5. improve security across an entire hotel chain.

Direct Booking Campaigns

  • A “BIT” About Protecting Foreign Investments

This presentation will explore bilateral investment treaties (BITs), which are treaties between two countries that can protect a hospitality company’s international investments and help manage political and counter-party risk. This presentation will explain what hospitality companies can do to benefit from BIT protections

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this article, I have attended the annual Hospitality Law Conference in Houston 4 of the last 5 years. While I am not an attorney, I have always found these hospitality law conferences to be focused and ideal for networking because of the intentionally smaller size of the group. I find this to be a worthwhile program in that I always learn at least a half dozen new insights or approaches that I can use in my work as an expert witness, a keynote speaker or as one who helps hotel owners to identify and solve problems.

I hope to see many of you this year: April 24-27, 2017, Doubletree Suites- Greenway Plaza, Houston, TX