After a few quiet weeks, last week produced a number of stories that caught our attention and made it into our weekly Update, including two interesting stories on customer reviews. Enjoy.
Booking.com Adds Loyalty Program Benefits
(“Booking.com Adds a Third-Level of Benefits to Its Loyalty Program,” April 1, 2022 via Hospitality Net - Latest Industry News)
Booking.com announced last week that it was adding a new, third tier to its Genius loyalty program. Members qualifying for this new level will enjoy discounts of up to 20 percent (as compared to discounts of 10 percent and 15 percent for first tier and second tier members, respectively), free upgrades (at participating properties), free breakfast (also at participating properties) and priority customer support (with live service agents). With this latest announcement, suppliers should again expect a big push by Booking.com to grow the number of properties in its loyalty program. Market managers will be busier than ever in trying to convince individual properties to offer deeply discounted “Genius” rates.
Yesterday, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (the “WSLCB”) announced that spirits, beer and wine restaurant licensees (“SBW Restaurants”) may sell pre-mixed alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Bulletin”). In other words, if you are a SBW Restaurant, you can sell cocktails to-go.
Given the recent attention paid by clients to local security issues (including the recent and well received Hotel Industry Security Forum sponsored with the Washington Lodging Association – see Ruth Walter’s recent post on this event), I thought it a good time to review the obligations imposed by law on hoteliers and restaurateurs in Washington and Oregon to protect their guests and customers from crimes committed by third parties. In other words, what responsibility does a hotel or restaurant owner have for guests or customers who are injured (or whose property is damaged or stolen) by criminals. As I explain below, the more a hotel or restaurant owners knows about potential criminal conduct at her establishment, the more likely it is that she may be held responsible for not warning and/or protecting her guests or clients against it.
For those of you that routinely purchase split cases of wine, December 8 is an important date. On December 8, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will hold public hearings in Olympia on proposed regulatory changes that would authorize wine distributors to collect handling fees from hotels, restaurants and other retail licensees that order and receive split cases of wine. As you may have already guessed, the newly proposed rule is the result of a request made by the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.
Given the number of questions I've received recently from clients who've heard rumors about tip pooling becoming legal, I thought it time to update everyone. The short answer is (at least for now) that employers in Washington and Oregon may initiate mandatory tip pools under certain circumstances.
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.