Check-in - October 2019

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Welcome to your quarterly newsletter from Bird & Bird's Hotels & Leisure team

We are delighted to share the third edition of Check-In - Bird & Bird's quarterly newsletter for Hotel & Leisure businesses.

The newsletter focuses on hot topics and legal developments impacting on various aspects of the sector. Each edition also features a Market Spotlight, where we provide insight into a particular international market, highlighting local trends and industry updates.

At the end of the newsletter, you can also find details of some of our upcoming events and recent news, which we think might be of interest to you and your team.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in these articles, or visit our webpage for more information about Bird & Bird's Hotels & Leisure team.

In this Newsletter


Implications of a no-deal Brexit for hotels: what do employers need to know?

Although the likelihood of the UK exiting the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 has diminished due to the passage of a law aimed at blocking a no-deal exit, UK employers should remain cautious and be ready for changes to immigration regulations in this turbulent time.
On 5 Sep 2019, the Home Office updated their policy paper on their no-deal plan. The policy paper re-affirms their commitment to implement a transition period until 31 December 2020 if we leave the UK without a deal. This is great news for the hotel industry.

Read more >


Workplace harassment and the impact of the #metoo movement on the hospitality sector

Since news broke of the Weinstein scandal in 2017, the #metoo movement has exploded on social media and has become something larger than just an internet movement. The spotlight has placed the often taboo subject of workplace harassment front and centre, and has sparked an upheaval of the predominant culture of silencing victims and sweeping problems under the rug. What started as a hashtag has encouraged thousands of people around the world to speak up against mistreatment at work, and the hospitality sector has experienced one of the highest workplace harassment reporting rates according to the NAVEX 2019 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report.

Read more >

HR data: GDPR and beyond

In the run up to 25 May 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (or GDPR for short) came into force, it was clear that data protection compliance and the level of priority given to HR data varied significantly between employers. More than a year on, what have we learnt and what should employers focus on over the next twelve months? Below, we make some suggestions.

Read more >

Big brother is (probably) watching: top tips and pitfalls for staff monitoring

The concept of employee monitoring is nothing new. Ford Motor Company's attempts at worker monitoring is a high-profile historical example. But what is new is the extent to which electronic methods of monitoring and surveillance are being used in the workplace, and this raises new complications and matters for employers to consider.

Read more >

Real Estate

New rules on short term leases in Italy

The Italian Parliament has converted Law Decree n. 34 (the 'Growth Decree') into Law n. 58 with amendments, with effect from 30th June 2019. This introduced a range of provisions for short term rental properties.

The aim of these provisions is to stem the problem of tax evasion in the tourist property rental sector by introducing new tax reporting obligations for short term rentals, especially for rental contracts through agencies and online portals such as Airbnb. The database, identification code and requirement to communicate data aim to create a more transparent tax system for short term rentals.

Read more >


Case update: HMRC v Fortyseven Park Street

Timeshare apartments are not always exempt from VAT according to a recent decision from the Court of Appeal. In the past, suppliers have treated timeshares as supplies of land which are exempt from VAT. By finding that timeshares can be subject to VAT, this decision means that the supply of timeshares could become more expensive.

Read more >

Market Spotlight: Germany

The German hotel industry continues to grow

It's not a secret that the hotel industry in Germany is booming. The past years have seen top figures in terms of the number of guests and overnight stays. Moreover, the German hotel market has become one of the most lucrative for both domestic and international investors and, as a consequence, Germany’s position as a travel destination has been reinforced year after year.

Read more >

News & Events

Is your influencer marketing campaign compliant?

Influencer marketing has revolutionised the marketing and advertising landscape. But with new opportunities come new challenges, and influencer marketing has attracted increased levels of regulation, resulting in legal and commercial risk to those involved.

With travel influencers owning some of the most popular social media accounts, it is crucial for hotels and hospitality businesses to understand consumer law and local advertising regulations in the relevant jurisdictions in order to run a successful influencer marketing campaign.

We have created a guide to influencer marketing regulations across the globe, to help you navigate the key obligations in each jurisdiction.

New joiners in our international Hotels & Leisure team

We are delighted to welcome two new joiners to our team:


Sebastian Bergenthal recently joined Bird & Bird as Counsel, strengthening the firm's increasingly recognised German real estate finance practice. Sebastian is based in Frankfurt, and has more than seven years’ experience in the real estate industry having acted for a variety of real estate lenders, investors and developers across a range of sectors, including retail and commercial, distribution and logistics, hotels and student accommodation. He has experience on a broad range of real estate finance transactions including senior and mezzanine debt and development funding.

Hong Kong:

Mark Bennett recently joined Bird & Bird's Hong Kong office as Counsel. Mark has over 20 years' experience in the real estate sector across Asia-Pacific and Europe, having been based in Sydney, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong. Mark has experience in leasing, acquisitions & disposals, joint ventures, construction, infrastructure and major projects, digital infrastructure and data centres, and hospitality & leisure. In the hospitality & leisure space, Mark has advised on the creation and development of Hong Kong Disneyland, the redevelopment of the Furama Hotel Hong Kong, the negotiation of various hotel management agreements across Asia, and the acquisition of a casino in Mayfair London.

Please join us in London on 9 October 2019 for our annual Retail & Consumer update event, with an agenda designed for all consumer-facing businesses

During a time of unprecedented change and disruption across the sector, we will provide an update on the key commercial and legal issues impacting the food & beverage, hotels, hospitality & leisure, fashion, luxury, retail & consumer goods and wellness markets.

Our legal experts will be joined by industry representatives from a number of well-known brands to explore key issues impacting on each stage of the supply chain, including sustainability, blockchain, data, consumer law and influencer marketing.

Click here for more information and to register.

An Evolution in Hotels - please join us in London on 29 October 2019

We will be hosting a conference in partnership with HVS, EHMA and EP to explore what's next in the evolution of services in hotels.
It is often noted how new technology is taking over, with some hotels becoming AI-led as many people are adapting in the way that they travel. It is also counter-argued that many customers today want a personal connection to hotels, and there are hotels all across the world developing individual new services to build a deeper connection with their customers.

This will impact directly on service levels, culture, F&B offerings and even the design of hotel rooms. How does one humanise a hotel in the modern environment to build a personal connection? What are the expectations of the modern customer?

Please join us in our discussions on 29th October at Bird & Bird's London office. Click here to register.

Heading to EXPO REAL? So are we!

Members of Bird & Bird's international Hotels & Leisure and Real Estate teams are heading to EXPO REAL - the biggest trade fair for real estate and investment in Europe - taking place on 7-9 October in Munich.

Members of our team from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Spain will be attending, and would be delighted to see you there and discuss recent trends and developments.

Please get in touch and let us know if you would like to catch up during the event.

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