Hotel employees serve myriad purposes. Their functions include physical and abstract roles. Considerations when calculating the value of a hotel employee include the overall aim of a hotel as a business, actual role of the employee in question and nature of the hospitality industry. Employees prove particularly important to small, independently owned hotels with limited budgets, locations and client bases.
As with any business, hotel employees serve the basic function of ensuring the business runs smoothly. From part-time front desk employees, laundry room attendants, vendors and porters to the upper echelons of the management structure, each employee serves some role in the continual and perpetual operation of a hotel. Employees generate capital by ensuring the possibility of constant business. Like other businesses, each department or aspect of a hotel depends on many others in doing its job. A breakdown in function of any of these areas disrupts the flow of operations and causes a ripple effect that inhibits the organization’s ability to optimize its business.
Each employee of a hotel performs a function specifically related to the job that individual holds. For instance, a porter transports luggage of hotel guests from the front entrance or lobby to a room and back in a timely manner. A manager makes and implements decisions for the improvement of the business, while someone in human resources supplies adequate employee coverage within an organization’s budget. In a small hotel, one employee often serves multiple functions. Such organizations may employ one person to run the front desk, serve as porter and handle room service, while employing another person to clean rooms and common spaces and do all the laundry.
Hotels make up an important part of the hospitality and tourism industry. As such, the actual function of a hotel lies not only in providing a place for people to stay but creating an enjoyable experience for guests and seeing to all their wants and needs. This proves especially true for hotels in high-volume destination areas such as Cancun, New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Employees try to provide the optimal experience to every guest. Positive experiences increase the likelihood of repeat business
The Importance of Employee Function on Small Hotels
Employees serve an essential function to hotels operated as small businesses, particularly when these hotels find themselves in competition with large chains in tourist-heavy areas. Unlike a large hotel or chain, or those with large operating budgets, small hotels often depend completely on customer satisfaction for longevity. While a chain or large institute can absorb potential losses incurred by bad word-of-mouth reviews or publicity, a small hotel may require word-of-mouth reviews to attract new customers. Employees who fail in their function of hospitality may prevent good word-of-mouth reviews and press, thus causing a business to fail. Further, a hotel with a limited number of employees depends exponentially more on each individual than a hotel with thousands of employees. Thus, the failure of one employee in a job-specific or overall function places strain on the business.
Things Every Hotel Manager Should Do to Ensure Information Security
Every traveler has different needs when searching for a hotel, but there is one factor that seems to be a unanimous requirement — data security. The growing concern over data security has become a deciding factor for consumers when choosing a hotel, with 77% of Americans saying that data protection is important to them when deciding which hotel to book. However, despite the growing concern over security when traveling, one in three hospitality businesses admit to having never trained their staff on information security policies, or do not even have information security policies in place. To ensure information security for guests and to mitigate the risk of a data breach within your hotel, there are important aspects hotel managers need to consider.
Your employees are your information security guards – train them as such
The hospitality industry is known for its high employee turnover – a rate of 73.8 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics – and this can hinder the ability of a solid front-line defense. In order to establish a culture of information security, hotel managers should offer ongoing training opportunities for employees at all levels of the business, from housekeeping to management to operations. Conducting regular training, especially for new employees, is a great way to ensure that new hires are immediately aware of your hotel’s security standards. Hosting seasonal informational sessions will also serve as an opportunity for long-term employees to refresh their knowledge of how to handle the sensitive information they interact with regularly, especially ahead of busy travel seasons like the summertime and holidays. In addition to training employees on how to handle work documents and devices, they should also be taught what to do when handling information left behind by guests. From boarding passes to credit card receipts, guests frequently leave physical information behind without knowing the associated security risks. Employees should understand what type of guest information, if left improperly stored or disposed of, can lead to a breach. An additional security risk hotels often neglect to consider when training staff is their association with external vendors, including airlines, car rental companies, restaurants and retail organizations. Hotels are constantly exchanging information with external organizations, which become access points to sensitive guest and hotel information. It’s important to make sure employees are vetting all third-party partners and ensuring that they have similar standards when it comes to data security. For example, hotels are increasingly demanding that third party partners become Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant – the PCI Security Standards Council fights hotel credit card fraud by maintaining global payment card industry standards. Before sharing any sensitive information or partnering with an external organization, this is just one element to check for.
Think twice before tossing
As daily functions and procedures continue to digitize, physical data security is slowly becoming an afterthought, with 32 percent of hospitality businesses admitting they have no known policy for storing and disposing of confidential paper documents. This is despite the fact that as Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) smart payment chip card processes are increasingly adopted, attackers are targeting hotel reception desks where the concierge will often write down phoned-in reservation information. Not only that, dumpster thieves have long always been able to obtain sensitive information from garbage that has been inappropriately thrown away instead of shredded. Implementing a document management process is a great way to create standard protocol for handling physical data, including how to securely organize documents for storage, retrieval and record-keeping. Additionally, the document management process determines a standard lifespan for physical documents, helping employees efficiently identify which documents should be stored and which need to be securely discarded. Materials that need to be filed should be stored and locked in secure filing cabinets, while all other items should be properly shredded before being discarded.
Noncompliance could mean legal consequences
Hotels are considered financial institutions when they are collecting and storing customer’s financial information, which means that they have a responsibility to their customers to follow legislative guidelines to protect against unauthorized access to the personal information of their guests. There are a range of rules and regulations that hotels need to be mindful of, including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for those with international guests. It’s helpful to create a security policy handbook that can be used as a reference for employees. In addition to GDPR, the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are just a few privacy laws that apply in this sector, and the employee handbook could serve as a useful resource to house this information. At the end of the day, widespread damage can make or break a business, especially in the hospitality industry when consumers have limitless options to choose from. Hotels must be proactive in addressing the growing consumer concern over data security and privacy, as their livelihood depends on it.
The hospitality industry consists of hotels, resorts, private clubs, restaurants and other travel amenities. A lawyer that specializes in hospitality provides advice and legal representation to those in the hospitality industry. Owners, operators, and developers in the hospitality industry use hospitality lawyers from time to time to discuss things such as licensing, branding, resolving disputes, financing, operating and planning. There are many reasons to use a hospitality lawyer and most of them are well-versed in all areas of hospitality law.
Benefits of Using a Hospitality Lawyer
Many issues can arise in the hospitality industry, but hospitality lawyers also help with planning and more. The right hospitality lawyer will focus on offering safety and security solutions when needed, assist in travel and tourism issues along with mitigation incidents and injuries when they occur. When changes occur in the company, for example, if a hotel is going to merge with another hotel, a hospitality lawyer will offer education and advice at the beginning of the process all the way through to the end.
Of course, contracts are going to pop up from time to time. A hospitality lawyer will walk you through all of the legal contracts that come your way. Most contracts are full of jargon that can be difficult to understand. The expertise of a lawyer who knows all about contracts and the hospitality industry will ensure that all contracts contain the proper information and that all parties involved are on the same page. A hospitality lawyer will also be extremely helpful during contract negotiations.
Assist with Licensing
Many businesses that look to expand or make additions to their company will require extra licensing. This isn’t always a simple task. A hospitality lawyer will walk you through the entire process to ensure that everything is in order for a smooth and successful process. As a hotel owner or restaurant manager, you might not be aware of all the things that are required for licensing. This is where a lawyer will help to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row.
Advice with Human Resources and Employment Issues
The hospitality industry is responsible for a number of jobs. This makes employment and human resource issues a big deal when they arise, often requiring the best solutions. A hospitality lawyer will be able to offer you these solutions and will also give you the advice you need before any issues arise. The goal is to prevent any of these issues from occurring and a hospitality lawyer will help you with this. A hospitality lawyer can also assist during liability cases. With the hospitality industry being so vast, there is more room for accidents and injuries to occur. If something does happen on your property, a hospitality lawyer will assist you during the legal claim to prevent the issue from escalating.
Finances and Bankruptcy
One of the most important reasons to use a hospitality lawyer is for financial advice. More than likely, you will have an accountant and finance team to help with the numbers, but a lawyer will help with the legal side of financial issues such as bankruptcy. From land development to investor relations, if there is money and legal aspects involved, a hospitality lawyer will understand and know how to help you through these transitions.
Does My Employer Have to Pay Me Even If I’m Illegal?
Undocumented workers, however, will not be able to recover back pay for time not actually worked or be reinstated to jobs if they sue for discrimination, unfair labor practices, or under other employment laws. While employers still can’t discriminate based on race, age, sex, etc. the remedies undocumented workers can receive under many employment laws are limited. Even though undocumented workers have legal rights, filing suit or complaining to the Department of Labor can be risky. There have been reported cases of undocumented workers who stood up to thieving employers only to face deportation. Employers who use this strategy put themselves at risk. Homeland Security is cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers. Employers who break the law face sanctions including jail time. You might point this out to an employer who tries to blackmail you out of your pay.
As an undocumented worker, what are my rights under wage and hour laws?
Undocumented workers generally have the same wage and hour rights as other workers. Thus, the same Federal and hour laws that apply to authorized workers generally apply to persons working without legal immigration status. These laws establish your right to minimum wage, overtime pay, breaks, tips, and other forms of wages. For example, an employer cannot refuse to pay you by saying that you should not have been working in the first place because you have no “papers.” (However, if you have been fired because you have a wage complaint, it’s less clear whether you can recover the income you lost due to being fired.)
• Filing a Wage Claim: If you choose to file a wage claim, you can either file or sue your employer in court. You can also contact the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Neither of these agencies should question you about your immigration status, nor report your lack of status if it is somehow revealed.
As an undocumented worker, can I receive workers’ compensation benefits?
Yes. All workers who are injured on the job, including undocumented workers, are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Utah to cover the cost of medical treatment and, in some cases, lost wages. However, undocumented employees may not be eligible for some job retraining benefits. In addition, if you have been fired because you have a workers’ compensation claim, it’s less clear whether you can recover the income you lost due to being fired.
• Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim: If you choose to file a workers’ compensation claim, you should contact the employer to get and file a claim form. If your employer refuses to give you a claim form, then you should contact the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). If your claim is approved, you may be entitled to reasonable medical expenses, disability benefits, and rehabilitation benefits.
When you need a Hotel Lawyer, call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506