The Top Legal Issues Facing Hotel Associations

The hotel industry is much like any other industry in that it can find itself embroiled in its own unique legal battles from time to time. A hotel is a place where people sleep, eat, and try to relax, but are provided those services by the hotel and its staff. This means that the hotel is on the hook for any liabilities that may arise. From food poisoning to slips and falls to hotel theft, their liabilities are far and wide.

One way hotels can avoid costly penalties and payouts is by investing in comprehensive insurance. Insurance programs for resort hotels, such as Directors & Officers Liability insurance, can provide coverage for legal costs, and will also include coverage for independents who may not be technically board members who were acting as a member of the board.

Another way is to be aware of the different legal issues that hotels face on a daily basis throughout the year. Here’s a better look at them.

Hotel Hygiene

A major issue that hotels and resorts face are related to the health of the people staying there as well as the surroundings of the property. Hotels can be sprawling resorts that take up a lot of land or high-rises that may not spread city blocks but still come with a lot of square footage. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that a lot of ground needs to be covered, cleaned and maintained. However, this isn’t always done to completion, opening the door to a number of claims of uncleanliness or other sanitary issues. Whether it’s a hotel bathroom or the kitchen downstairs where food is prepped, there needs to be attention to detail in cleaning duties.


The age-old idea that the hotel staff steals items from guests’ drawers has been proven in some instances. While it should be a hotel’s goal to strive for transparency and trust with guests, there are some bad apples that slip through the cracks. But this isn’t a defense that can hold up in court.

In order to prevent theft, background checks need to be highly stringent and come with a list of references to vouch for the potential staff member. It’s important for hotels to keep in mind that there is a limit to their liability in a situation regarding theft. For example, if a valuable item is taken from a guest or is lost due to the hotel’s negligence in some way, the hotel may be responsible for the full value of the item.

Identity Theft

In 2018, major hotel chain Marriott was at the center of a widespread global cyber attack where sensitive information of more than 500 million guests was stolen. While hotels are increasingly going more tech-friendly, offering guests the option to take care of everything digitally, the potential for more cyber threats is on the horizon.

The problem with checking in to a hotel is that it includes having to deal with sensitive personal data. This includes credit card information, address, phone number, email, and a guest’s ID upon arrival. Most hotels keep all this information stored in digital form, which makes them a major target for sophisticated and hard to find attacks. Failure to protect even one guest’s information can put a hotel in the same legal trouble Marriott found itself in.

Onsite Crimes

A hotel can only control so much that’s going on. Hotels are well-oiled machines with lots of moving parts, so keeping an eye on every aspect is nearly impossible. This includes physical crimes that can take place onsite.

There could be moments where someone off the street comes in with ill intentions meaning to cause harm to someone or something outside the hotel making its way in, like a terrorist situation or hostage issue. While these risks are rare, they can still happen, so it’s important to be aware of them.

Hotels should hire responsible and effective security systems to keep an eye out for potential outside crime problems. While this can’t stop or deter all crimes from happening, they can at least give hotels an eye in the sky and limit risks.

About Kevin Davis Insurance Services

For over 35 years, Kevin Davis Insurance Services has built an impressive reputation as a strong wholesale broker offering insurance products for the community association industry. Our president Kevin Davis and his team take pride in offering committed services to the community association market and providing them with unparalleled access to high-quality coverage, competitive premiums, superior markets, and detailed customer service. To learn more about the coverage we offer, contact us toll-free at (877) 807-8708 to speak with one of our representatives.