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Julie Eisenhauer is a guest author and a CPA at Clark Nuber PS.

Revenue is an important indicator of a hotel property’s financial health. It is used to analyze and interpret financial results using key industry operating metrics ( i.e., average daily rate [ADR] and revenue per available room [RevPAR]).

Revenue may also drive the calculation of certain costs, such as management fees, franchise fees, capital improvement reserves, marketing fees and business taxes, as these are often calculated based on a percentage of revenue. As a result, owners and operators need to be aware of changes coming in financial reporting standards related to revenue recognition effective January 1, 2018 (public companies) and January 1, 2019 (private companies).

The digital world is a vast, Amazonian river of intellectual property (IP) – software, brands, photos, video clips, music, guest information, guest reviews – flowing quickly in every direction. Almost any significant issue arising in this space highlights the juxtaposition between an IP owner’s desire – in some cases legal obligation – to control and protect its content (i.e. intellectual property) with the desire to have content exposed to more and different consumers and potential consumers, across ever proliferating channels.

In HOTEL Yearbook Special Edition – Digital Marketing 2017, I will provide valuable legal insights and advice pertaining to the hotel world.

The full article is available for download on HOTEL Yearbook 2017’s website (login or registration is required.)

By now, nearly every revenue manager, electronic distribution manager and sales and marketing manager is familiar with the significance of keywords and the need for brand owners to manage third parties’ use of keywords in search-based Internet marketing.  Every negotiation of an online distribution agreement (whether direct-to-consumer, wholesale or otherwise) should include careful consideration about reasonable restrictions or conditions a hotelier will place on a distributor’s use of keywords.

As technology continues to evolve and to disrupt many traditional travel sales, marketing and distribution channels (Tnooz alone seems to report on new search-based tools weekly), owners and operators must reconsider their historical (and by now standard) approaches to critical contract provisions that address how and to what extent a distributor may use the hoteliers’ trademarks, trade names, logos and other intellectual property, including use as keywords.  The recent and much publicized launch of Promoted Hotels by Google served as an important reminder of this fact.

Promoted Hotels is Google’s new search-based marketing tool that allows hoteliers, OTAs and anyone else interested in securing a preferred booking position over other channels to bid for the right to be the primary (and sometimes, sole) booking option in ads that appear at the top of the Google Hotel Finder search results.  As you might expect, nearly all of the searches that I ran for hotels in various locations across the U.S. featured ads and links placed by OTAs and not the featured properties themselves.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Additional details regarding Promoted Hotels and sample search results can be found in these three articles.

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Greg Duff, Editor
Greg Duff founded and chairs GSB’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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