A look back on your year running hotels

For hotels operators there is never a time to rest on their laurels. The evolution of technology and changes in legislation ensure that operators have to stay on their toes and know when to adopt a change of ideas.

Some of the biggest news of the year included the pushback against the encroaching "sharing economy." What was a buzzword in 2014 blossomed into a full-on industry this year, an industry in need of regulation. While local governments are catching on to the actions and impact of services such as Uber, Homeaway and Airbnb, change is slow to come and currently only marginally effective.

In reviewing this year it is difficult to decide which development affected hotels the most, and so Hotel Management is arranging the most-read stories from our Operations newsletter by date. Some were part of a series, while others were standalone pieces.

Jan. 14: New California law creates new liability concerns for 'client employers'
Hotels in California were the first to encounter a new liability clause keeping them on the hook for wage-related concerns for outside workers. This is true even if the outside workers were employed by another company and are assigned tasks at the property, labeling hotels as "client employers." This law served to spread liability around, making hotels liable for the actions of companies hired in their stead.

March 10: Is Miami's Royal Palm the first in a new brand for independents from Starwood?
Hotel Management broke the announcement of what would eventually come to be known as Starwood's Tribute portfolio, which started with Miami's Royal Palm. Chesapeake Lodging Trust acquired the hotel for $278 million, and entered into a franchise agreement with Starwood' new independent hotel brand, which had yet to be revealed at the time.

March 13: Data theft: The greatest liability concern facing hotels today
Data theft can happen to anyone, at any time, because hackers go after everyone they can. Experts from the Beazley Group and the Radisson Blu Mall of America stepped in to spread awareness on the prolific nature of data theft and how to spot a breach before it becomes a larger issue.

March 16: PKF forecasts record occupancy in 2015
The news of booming occupancy in the industry began way back in March after PKF-HR's Hotel Horizons report laid out expectations of record-setting occupancy during 2015 and 2016. These forecasts were eventually proven to be true for this year, and the industry continues to have high hopes going into the new year.

April 29: The appeal of the human interaction vs. mobile check-in
With hotels fixated on catching up to current technology and preparing for the future, it can be easy to forget that this is an industry built on face-to-face interaction. Experts weighed in on the benefits of mobile check-in compared to speaking directly with guests. Sometimes, waiting in line can be worth it.

May 1: Hotel staffers move out from behind the desk
Removing the front desk is not a new concept, but it is new enough that we are just now seeing data on the effectiveness of roaming front office staff. GMs discussed the utility of a "barrier-free" lobby and how it can increase rapport between staff and travelers.

May 15: Controlling bed bug infestations
Unfortunately, bed bugs don't look like they are going away any time soon. Bug beaters at Sterifab and Terminix discussed the industry's most cutting-edge solutions to the pests, from prevention to elimination.

Aug. 17: Electronic locks as data-analysis tools
Today's locks no longer are just barriers to physical doors. Now they provide information on who is going where, streamlining lock maintenance, managing energy systems and more. One expert was quoted saying the locking mechanism of door locks is "secondary" to the data-collection.

Dec. 16: Industry welcomes more jobs, and more on the way
Hotels are in the midst of a wage-raising campaign from workers, but how has this affected jobs? For some areas of the country it is great news. For others, not so much.