Editorial Board   

Ms. Bhattacharyya

Rani Bhattacharyya

Community Economics Extension Educator , University of Minnesota Extension- Center for Community Vitality

Rani Bhattacharyya serves as the Community Economics Educator in northwest Minnesota by supporting communities located in the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau in the discovery and implementation of development opportunities. Through her work Ms. Bhattacharyya is also studying how company and community performance benchmarking can be integrated into long-term city, and community development planning processes. Ms. Bhattacharyya has facilitated local business-government partnerships and public consensus building activities concerning sustainable tourism planning and hospitality management in the U.S. and internationally. Past projects have included comparative studies in environmental certification programs for hotels and communities at Green Seal, Inc., a 25 county agri-tourism industry study for Western Illinois, marketing surveys for sustainable tourism destinations in Asia, and facilitation of sustainable destination development in the southern border region of Bulgaria. Ms. Bhattacharyya completed her MS graduate degree in the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development at Western Illinois University, where her studies focused on the integration of sustainable tourism destination management and marketing with local economic development programs.

Ms. Bhattacharyya can be contacted at 218-275-3444 or rani.a.bhattacharyya@gmail.com

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.