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Posts from August 2013.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has released its Fiscal Year 2014 per diem rates.  While the standard continental U.S. per diem is up to $83, per diem rates in the Northwest have largely remained unchanged.  For more information on the new rates, visit the U.S. General Services Administration website.

Tags: per diem

Cloud Burst: 10 Steps to Reduce Risks from Cloud Failure

Everywhere you look consultants and industry experts are making the case that businesses of all stripes should be moving their IT services to the cloud. This applies to the hospitality industry more than most given the features of the industry, including high infrastructure costs, data-heavy applications, consumer demand for access to cutting-edge technology, pressures of customer service, and the need to share resources across dispersed properties. And there’s good reason to heed this advice. After all, the cloud is no longer an experiment; it is a well-established solution with some pretty compelling benefits: cloud users reduce their IT spend and labor costs, increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. Not to mention that more than half of U.S. businesses are now using the cloud, with that number expected to increase substantially by 20152... Read the full article here.

Please email or call me if you have any questions.

The travel industry is experiencing a technology renaissance. Long gone are the days of checking in at the airline counter or calling for a hotel reservation. Where is the future of travel going and how are emerging technologies changing the landscape? Our second annual TNT Conference will showcase emerging Northwest companies with cutting edge technologies, as well as three expert panels featuring industry users, suppliers, and consultants to explore how these new technologies will affect the industry, and to discuss the value and use of data/content and distribution. View the 2013 agenda here.  

October 1, 2013 at Bell Harbor Conference Center

12:30pm-5:00pm TNT Program

5pm-7pm Reception

Registration is open!

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Event Sponsors



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Who should attend?

  • Anyone in the travel and tourism industry who would like to explore industry trends and learn about new technologies.
  • Entrepreneurs and investors who are engaged in travel, tourism or technology.

Participating companies include:

Opportunity for Entrepreneurs to Pitch

There will be an opportunity for 5-6 companies seeking funding in the travel, technology and hospitality business sectors to pitch in front of the expert panels, and around 150 angel investors and business professionals in attendance.  Each presenting entrepreneur will have the chance to gain feedback from expert panelists following their 5 minute presentation.  The cost to apply is $100, which includes attendance at the event.  To be eligible for investment consideration in the ZINO Annual Angel Investment Fund-2013, LLC, entrepreneurs will be required to become ZINOpreneur Members which in addition to pitching at TNT, will also include an opportunity to pitch at an upcoming ZINO Society investment forum plus additional screening, coaching and networking opportunities.  Please contact Meg Landies, or 206-686-3768 for details.

The TNT Explosive Idea Awards

The Judges’ Award for Best Investment Opportunity and People’s Choice Award for Best Presentation will be presented at the conclusion of the Conference.

Interested in sponsoring the event? Please contact cdann(at)gsblaw(dot)com for more information.

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The U.K.'s Office of Fair Trade (OFT) is currently evaluating and accepting public comments on whether formal commitments proposed by B.V. (, Expedia Inc (Expedia) and InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG) sufficiently address its competition concerns regarding the online offering of room only hotel accommodations by Online Travel Agents.  The OFT is soliciting feedback on whether the proposed commitments offer an immediate and effective means of injecting meaningful competition into the online bookings.

Read full Press Release and Notice

Hotel sign with white background.

What these commitments will mean for pricing parity in the future remains to be seen. Stay tuned for more updates in the weeks ahead.

Tags: OFT

Please welcome new author and GSB attorney, Julia Holden-Davis, to the Duff on Hospitality blog! She has over 15 years of experience in the legal aspects of design and construction and works out of our new office in Anchorage, Alaska. Welcome, Julia, and thank you for today’s recommendations on selecting an appropriate contractor. – Greg 

Selecting the “right” contractor is one of several key steps in ensuring a hotel project has a strong likelihood of success.  At times, the selection of the contractor might seem obvious – for example, a developer entering a new geographical market might bring with it a contractor with whom it already has extensive experience in other markets.  However, contractor selection should consider a broader number of criteria, tailored to the particular needs of the project, to maximize the likelihood of success.

1) Pick the right people to make the selection

Consider first with whom to place the responsibility of making the selection, recognizing that within the typical hotel ownership and management structure, not to mention other project participants such as an architect or designer, not everyone has the same priorities, experience, or end goals.  For example, one person (e.g. franchisor) might care the most for the aesthetic-related capabilities of a contractor.  Another might prioritize timely performance (e.g. operator), yet another lowest cost (e.g. owner/developer).  An outside architect may have a relationship (be it good or bad) with certain contractors.  Selecting an individual or a team who understands the needs of the facility, the critical points, and the overall goals can lead to a much better evaluation process – and ultimately, identification of the most suitable contractor.

Construction workers shaking hands making a deal.2) Consider industry dialogue

Consider discussing the project or portions of the project with a variety of contractors or other industry professionals before actually evaluating or selecting a contractor.  The information gleaned in early discussions can play a significant role in defining realistic expectations, developing innovative ideas, selecting new products, and improving the overall quality of the project.  For example, a franchised property whose intended aesthetic is cutting edge, top of the line, with new and fresh ideas may want to carefully consider the use of new materials which may not yet have a proven service record.  Similarly, contractors with a depth of building experience with the chosen brand may have good suggestions to the design, phasing, or to other aspects of the project that could improve the overall quality or decrease the time or cost of construction.

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Greg Duff
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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