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Amaral Leverages Virtual Cards to Reduce Risk & Save Tax Dollars

Business Travel News (BTN)·14 September 2018
"It started in 2014 when we were looking at a way to relieve the pain that many departments were feeling around reconciliation of the hotel direct bill process," said state of California business partnership and travel manager Bill Amaral. "We were in the middle of a procurement for travel payment, and virtual card rose to the top as a solution."

HB ON THE SCENE: Outlook Positive, Labor Costs a Concern for Asset Managers

hotelbusiness.com·Requires Registration ·14 September 2018
Hospitality asset managers have a positive outlook for the near future, with more than 60% forecasting that seven to 18 months remain in the current RevPAR growth cycle. More than 90% see rising labor costs as an issue.

NYC Human Rights Commission Proposes Broad Interpretation of Laws Protecting Gender Identity and Expression

Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog·14 September 2018
The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) recently proposed new rules (“Proposed Rules”), which, among other things, define various terms related to gender identity, re-enforce recent statutory changes to the definition of the term “gender,” and clarify the scope of protections afforded gender identity status under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). If the proposed rules are adopted, the Commission’s interpretation of the NYCHRL will establish broad protections for individuals covered by the law’s prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity.

Ahead of Merger with LaSalle, Pebblebrook to Sell $1B in Assets

Hotel F&B·14 September 2018
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust plans to sell off nearly $1 billion in assets as it nears an official merger with LaSalle Hotel Properties in a strategic move to reduce debt as a newly combined company. Prior to closing the merger, $750 million of property sales are expected to be completed—Park Central New York, WestHouse New York and Park Central San Francisco and more property sales will occur in the months ahead.

How a Cyber Attack Could Cause the Next Financial Crisis

harvardbusiness.org·14 September 2018
Ever since the forced bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered the financial crisis 10 years ago, regulators, risk managers, and central bankers around the globe have focused on shoring up banks’ ability to withstand financial shocks.

10 Years Later: How the Travel Industry Came Back From The Financial Crisis

Hotel F&B·14 September 2018
The 10-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy reminds us that travel was ravaged along with other industries in the ensuing global recession. How the industry coped and rebounded is instructive for the next downturn.

Timeshare Industry Fighting Back To End Exit Fraud

Hotel F&B Observer·14 September 2018
The timeshare industry, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and ARDA Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA‐ROC), have united to stop the misconduct of those deceiving timeshare owners into paying for illusory timeshare exit services through fraudulent means. Recently, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred attorney Judson Wheeler Phillips, founder of the Castle Law Group, on a myriad of charges relating to consumer fraud complaints.

The HFTP Middle East Research Center: August 2018 Bulletin

HFTP ·14 September 2018
The HFTP Middle East Research and Innovation Center at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has decided to briefly discuss two relevant topics: The Economic Influence of a Major Sporting Event on the Tourism Industry and the Young Professional Advisory Council. The HFTP Research and Innovation Center hopes this sparks conversation amongst HFTP Dubai Chapter members.

The HFTP Middle East Research Center: May 2018 Bulletin

HFTP ·14 September 2018
The HFTP Middle East Research and Innovation Center at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has decided to briefly discuss two relevant topics: the CHAE certification and the CHTP certification. The HFTP Research and Innovation Center hopes this sparks conversation amongst HFTP Dubai Chapter members.

The HFTP Middle East Research Center: April 2018 Bulletin

HFTP ·14 September 2018
The HFTP Middle East Research Center and Innovation Center at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has decided to briefly discuss two relevant topics: Airbnb and its influence on OTAs and Blockchain's influence on the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research and Innovation Center hopes this sparks conversation amongst HFTP Dubai Chapter members.

When Exclusivity Feels Familiar, Soho House Looks to Another Club: Wall Street

Hotel F&B·14 September 2018
As Soho House considers plans to go public, there's a lot of competition on the horizon at every turn. This, plus the inevitable struggle to balance aggressive growth versus exclusivity, and a less-than-stellar customer experience presents some problems on the horizon.
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New Partnership Gives Cloudbeds' Properties A Secure Payment Option in Latin America

Cloudbeds ·13 September 2018
SAN DIEGO -- Cloudbeds and PayU recently partnered to offer a secure electronic payment processing solution to hospitality properties located in Latin America. Properties that activate this integration will be able to receive online payments from guests whether they pay with a local or international credit card.Thousands of properties will benefit from the highest security protocols and a competitive promotional rate from PayU for six months if they open an account with PayU before Dec. 12, 2018. This payment gateway is available now to properties located in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, with Chile, Argentina, Panama, Colombia, and more countries coming online soon."This partnership with PayU provides state of the art security and payment automation to our properties and their guests," said Sebastien Leitner, Director of Global Partnerships at Cloudbeds. "It aligns nicely with our product and partnership strategy."Properties that use Cloudbeds' property management system will be able to process payments online directly from the Cloudbeds' interface without a physical point of sale device.In addition to Latin America, this technology will soon be available to properties located in India.About PayUPayU uses its history and experience in payment means to provide financial services in emerging markets. With operations in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, PayU is the main online payment services provider in 17 high-growth markets, offering a fast, simple, and efficient process for merchants and buyers in different channels (desktop, mobile devices, e-wallet, and physical retail). It currently operates more than 250 payment methods in more than 25 currencies, reaching nearly 2.3 billion potential consumers. PayU has more than 1,800 payment specialists who support more than 300,000 merchants and millions of consumers who make payments through the tool. The company is part of the online payments division of Naspers Ltd., which in Latin America has incorporated Pagosonline and DineroMail, and the Brazilian companies Bcash and Fcontrol, and is now one of the five leading companies of the sector in the region.

Labor, taxes headline hoteliers' agenda on Capitol Hill

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·13 September 2018
Hoteliers from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association will meet with Congress during their Legislative Action Summit to discuss issues facing the industry.

Q&A with HYP3R following $17m Series A funding

Hotel F&B·13 September 2018
Today, HYP3R announced $17M Series A funding to continue innovating location-based marketing for brands in travel, retail, and entertainment. We did a Q&A with CEO & Cofounder Carlos Garcia about the news, his background, the company, and what lies ahead. This is part of our martech company of the week series.

Scotland's capital looks to limit Airbnb

Hotel F&B·13 September 2018
In Scotland, the Edinburgh city council has called for a license limiting Airbnb rentals to 45 nights per year, in addition to a levy on tourists of £1 per person per night.

Pebblebrook Plans to Sell $1 Billion in Assets After Buying Hotel Real Estate Competitor

Hotel F&B·13 September 2018
Consolidation in the hospitality industry continues, as does the selling of real estate assets.

Selling your business? Find the emotional buyer

BERKONOMICS by Dave Berkus·13 September 2018
This is one of my favorite insights, since I lived this one in a positive exit from my computer business.

Steigenberger Hotels AG increases quality control of franchise partners

Deutsche Hospitality ·13 September 2018
According to information provided today by the Egyptian authorities, the circumstances concerning the tragic death of two British guests at the franchise Hotel Aqua Magic in Hurghada have been clarified. These results are based on a statement by the public chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek made on Wednesday."We are all deeply saddened and concerned by what has taken place at a Steigenberger franchise hotel in Hurghada," said Thomas Willms, CEO of Steigenberger Hotels AG. "Our thoughts are with the family members of the deceased couple. We offer them our heartfelt condolences in this difficult situation.""Wherever you see the Steigenberger brand, it is our commitment that uncompromised quality and safety are given top priority, irrespective of ownership or contractual structures. The findings of the autopsy published today do not match the stringent quality and safety standards that apply to all Steigenberger Hotels."Steigenberger Hotels AG has even increased measurements and quality checks that are aimed to prevent such a tragic event from being repeated. These actions are in addition to the constant investigations and quality checks which Steigenberger does in all hotels. The guidelines and safety specifications for all franchise hotels will be reviewed and updated where necessary. We will assure that the employees will receive even more detailed awareness training regarding possible risks and will attend appropriate courses for this purpose."We will continue to analyze the situation on site on an ongoing basis, and additional measures will be put in place as and when required", says Mr. Willms. "Since we haven't seen the full report of the prosecutor yet and considering the fact that controls and examinations at Hotel Aqua Magic are still ongoing, obviously we cannot confirm that the family was infected through food consumed on the hotel premises.""I will take personal charge of monitoring and ensuring that all measures are implemented," Mr. Willms went on. "We owe this to the family members, who are suffering unimaginable sorrow. We also owe the same to all our guests who place their trust in us on a daily basis. And we owe it to our employees.""All Steigenberger Hotels have to be safe. This is an area in which I am not prepared to make any compromises. We are in intensive discussions about our future relationship with our operating partners at the Hotel Aqua Magic and we urge definitely the absolute need of transparent results of all internal investigations."
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Oliver Companies Goes Mobile: Installs Aptech PVNG Enterprise Accounting for 18 Properties

Aptech ·13 September 2018
Aptech Computer Systems announced that Oliver Companies, Inc. upgraded its back office financial processes to PVNG Enterprise Accounting. Oliver Companies converted from Aptech's Profitvue hotel accounting software to web-based PVNG to enable mobile system access to company financials and property performance reports. Oliver Companies is based in Duluth, MN. It operates 18 properties across eight states that fly flags from Hilton, IHG, Choice and others. Aptech is the leading provider of hospitality business intelligence, budgeting and forecasting, and enterprise hotel accounting software systems. Click here for more on Aptech's products and services."Oliver Companies upgraded its accounting platform to Aptech's PVNG because it is a flexible, online enterprise solution that lets our team oversee operations while traveling," said Nicole Murphy, Oliver Companies assistant controller. "Mobile access is important to us. We have two offices and our CFO can log onto PVNG and work wherever she is. Plus, if we have a heavy snow day we can work from our homes." Murphy noted that Oliver's conversion to PVNG went well. "Aptech's team helped us build processes for our 18 properties to share a standard format. Our full-service conference properties have slightly different requirements than our limited service hotels. PVNG hotel accounting software handles them all very well."PVNG provides an easy to navigate architecture. Its robust functionality emerged from Aptech's legacy application, Profitvue, used by thousands of hotel accounting professionals. PVNG supports one property or a large multi-brand, multi-property portfolio. It uses the most current technology platform and incorporates AP, GL, AR, Statistics, Financials, and a Bank Reconciliation, all with familiar browser navigation. PVNG also makes it simple to become 11th Edition compliant by implementing its packaged chart of accounts and financial statements."PVNG is easy to use because each field is clearly marked so we get our work done faster," Murphy said. "The system's processes are self-explanatory and intuitive. We just started a new accountant; he learned the system quickly and got started right away." Oliver Companies also uses Aptech's Execuvue Business Intelligence System. "PVNG automatically uploads property data to our Execuvue system nightly so we have same-day information on property performance to help us manage better."System upgrades evolve effortlessly because PVNG is web-based and hosted at Aptech's secure data center. "I am pleased with how responsive Aptech has been with our conversion," Murphy said. "We had functionality requests to make the system fit Oliver's operations. Aptech made the changes quickly. Aptech values its customers, like Oliver Companies, and this shows by listening to our requests and implementing them to make our operation smoother."About Aptech Computer Systems, Inc.Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the only provider of a fully integrated enterprise accounting, business intelligence and planning ecosystem to the hospitality industry. All of its clients are companies like yours, which own or manage hotels. Its solutions help customers at both the corporate and property levels understand their financial and operational data for faster goal achievement.The company is renowned for introducing business intelligence into the hotel industry, and offers a solid resource of hospitality professionals. Aptech is an IBM Software Value Plus partner and Premier Solution Provider, as well as a Prophix Premier Business Partner.Incorporated in 1970, Aptech's state-of-the-art back office, true business intelligence and enterprise planning solutions are 100% hotel specific. Solutions include PVNG, Execuvue and Targetvue. Clients comprise over 3,500 properties - including large chains, multiple-property management companies and single-site hotels. Execuvue is registered to Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are owned by their respective holders. For more information please visit www.aptech-inc.com.

Seattle Delays I-124 Medical Requirements

Duff on Hospitality Law·13 September 2018
Pending the results of a lawsuit challenging the medical requirements under the Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative (“I-124”), the City of Seattle has agreed to delay enforcement of Part 3 of that law. Part 3 requires hotels with 100 or more guest rooms to provide insurance at no greater than 5% of medical costs to certain low wage workers, as defined under I-124. If a low wage employee does not enroll in insurance or pays more than 5% of wages toward insurance costs, the hotel employer is required to provide a healthcare subsidy to the employee.

From a hotelier to a banker

EHL Blog·13 September 2018
It may sound absurd to you if a hospitality student wants to work for banks such as UBS? However, it is feasible and indeed happened in the past.

Hall Structured Finance closes $53M construction loan for Arizona Autograph

Hotel Management·12 September 2018
Dallas-based Hall Structured Finance closed a new construction loan totaling $53 million to finance the expansion, redevelopment, flagging and rebranding of the existing 32-room CopperWynd Resort into the boutique Autograph Scottsdale Resort. Upon completion, the property will be a 177-room luxury resort flagged as part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. Bill Hinz is redeveloping the resort, which is planned to open by Q4 2019.

Australia's asset shortage drives acquisition spree

Hotel F&B Observer·12 September 2018
A shortage of suitable real estate for hotel developments in key cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Canberra, Auckland and Queenstown is behind a boom in acquisitions by top- and mid-tier hotel groups. According to second-quarter results from iPG’s quarterly Hotel Market Analysis report, these groups are now acquiring existing hotel businesses and established brands.

Hoteliers To Meet With Lawmakers at 2018 Legislative Action Summit in Washington, D.C.

Lodging Magazine·12 September 2018
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) kicked off their two-day 2018 Legislative Action Summit (LAS) today, as nearly 400 hoteliers from across the country gather to meet with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill. During the summit, hoteliers will discuss the strength of the lodging industry, issues affecting it, and its significant impact on communities around the country. This is the fourth year AHLA and AAHOA are partnering to highlight the lodging industry’s strength and unity.

Three Transactions to Know

hotelbusiness.com·Requires Registration ·12 September 2018
Hotel Business is tracking transactions. Real Hospitality Group and Aspect Investment Partners Ltd.; HFF; and HREC Investment Advisors have all arranged deals.

Jail time for review fraudsters: TripAdvisor heralds landmark legal ruling in the fight against paid review fraud

TripAdvisor ·12 September 2018
In one of the first legal cases of its kind, the Criminal Court of Lecce ruled that writing fake reviews using a false identity is criminal conduct under Italian criminal law. The owner of PromoSalento, which sold fake review packages to hospitality businesses in Italy, was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay approximately 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.Paid review fraud - when companies or individuals 'sell' fake reviews to business owners - is a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, but this is one of the first cases of enforcement resulting in a criminal conviction.TripAdvisor supported the prosecution of PromoSalento as a civil claimant by sharing evidence from its extensive in-house fraud investigations and providing support from its Italian legal counsel. Review fraud is something TripAdvisor takes extremely seriously, employing advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of investigators to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on the site. More information on TripAdvisor's in-house investigation into PromoSalento can be found here.TripAdvisor welcomes the opportunity to work with enforcement authorities, including the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the US Federal Trade Commission, to share information and support their efforts to tackle online fake reviews.Brad Young, VP, Associate General Counsel, TripAdvisor, said: "We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet. Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we've seen someone sent to jail as a result.""We invest a lot in fraud prevention and we're successful at tackling it - since 2015, we've put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid review companies worldwide. However, we can only do so much alone, which is why we're eager to collaborate with regulators and law enforcement authorities to support their prosecutions.""Online reviews play a major role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, but it's important everyone plays by the rules," said Mr Pascal Lamy, Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO. "Fake reviews clearly contravene the World Committee on Tourism Ethics guidelines, which we published last year to guide the responsible use of ratings and reviews on digital platforms. The recommendations were developed in collaboration with TripAdvisor, Minube and Yelp and we know that industry collaboration has an important role to play in tackling review fraud."The global travel community is a vital partner in the fight against paid review fraud and evidence shared by business owners approached by paid review companies is particularly valuable. Anyone approached or contacted by companies or individuals offering fake reviews should not engage with them but share that information with TripAdvisor directly at paidreviews@tripadvisor.com. All reports made to our Content Integrity team will be investigated and any information, no matter how minor, can help.TripAdvisor has recently launched a new online information resource where people can learn more about how the company moderates reviews and protects its content. New articles will be added regularly addressing popular topics such as how TripAdvisor moderates reviews, or determines whether a review is biased. The site also features a behind-the-scenes series profiling the vital work of our review fraud investigators, with new investigation cases studies added regularly.

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