Aspen hospitality industry pays more than $500,000 after federal wage probe
The Aspen Skiing Co. and numerous other businesses in the Aspen-area hospitality industry have paid more than $500,000 to settle federal violations related to minimum wage and overtime compensation for employees after the companies were accused of using outdated federal wage guidelines.
The U.S. Department of Labor contacted 45 local service-industry businesses in 2013 about potential violations. A total of $500,000 in back wages has been paid to more than 1,000 workers, not counting penalties, as a result of the settlements.
The ski company was fined $108,796 for wage violations that affected 300 employees, company spokesman Jeff Hanle said. The payments followed a yearlong investigation by the federal government.
"We accept responsibility, and we are pleased this issue is resolved and the payments are now in the hands of our employees," Hanle wrote in an emailed statement. "It is our strong desire and commitment to pay our employees properly," he said.
The investigation targeted businesses such as hotels and restaurants that "employ many low-wage workers," according to a statement issued by the federal agency.
Officials from the labor department's division of hours and wages contacted the businesses, asking to review employment and payroll records. Investigators also interviewed some businesses' employees, most of them low-income workers.
Hanle said the audit revealed that the calculations the company used for overtime pay were out of federal compliance. The financial numbers were calculated using long-established payroll software and mostly concerned employees paid on a commission or tipped basis.
Hotel association confirms: Tablets set to replace traditional guest directories
As tablet-PCs in hotel rooms become more and more commonplace, the German hotel classification association recently reacted by allowing hotels to replace traditional guest directories, and other items in hotel rooms with tablet-PCs. In some cases, hotels are even awarded additional points in the classification process for offering guests digital services via tablet.
Tablet-PCs in hotel rooms made their first appearance roughly one year ago. Since then, the number of hotels switching to the in-room devices has increased substantially.
The German hotel classification association took this recent trend into account when revising its guidelines for hotels nationwide. Hotels are now able to replace a number of objects in hotel rooms, such as guest directories, TV channel lists, radios, etc. with tablets and administrate the information on the devices centrally.
"We're excited to see the classification guidelines now accommodating our vision of a paperless hotel room", says Moritz v. Petersdorff-Campen, co-founder and MD at SuitePad. SuitePad's clients can even look forward to earning extra points with their tablets, as the devices offer not only guest information, but also internet access, games, and daily newspapers. All of which count as extra digital services rewarded by the classification association with additional points.
The "guest directory 2.0" has come a long way since its launch one year ago, and is now widely regarded as the replacement for paper-based guest information. Increasing guest demand and plummeting prices for hardware are likely to contribute their share to the spread of this concept.
Re-designed Hotels.com app for iOS7
Hotel booking website, Hotels.com, has re-designed its iPhone and iPad app for iOS7 to provide a new interface which makes the mobile booking experience even quicker and easier for its customers.
The new app puts an easy-to-use map at the heart of the hotel search, enabling users to find a hotel in the right location almost instantly. It is even easier than before to find local deals for last minute bookings. The new app makes extensive use of high resolution imagery, and the booking process is now even smoother, with the app remembering customer details and securely storing payment information.
With the Hotels.com app, customers are given the choice to pay for their hotel at the time of booking or once they arrive at the hotel, enabling customers to manage their travel budget and preferences. Further functionality means that Hotels.com customers can access their account to check future, current and past bookings without needing to be online.
Other upgrades to the app for iOS7 include improvements to the user experience when it comes to in-app access to Welcome Rewards, Hotels.com's customer loyalty programme. Since its launch in the US and Latin America in 2008 and the extension to all Hotels.com sites worldwide in 2011, Welcome Rewards has attracted more than 10 million members, who have collectively redeemed over 1 million free nights.
The Hotels.com apps offer customers access to more than 260,000 hotels worldwide in more than 25,000 destinations, more than 20,000 last minute deals, more than 10 million user reviews and last-minute hotel rooms close to their location and is available to download for iOS7 now.