Legal Disputes Resolution in the Hospitality Industry

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Karen Patricia Molina Ornelas
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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is now becoming the more common option for resolving disputes rather than heading straight to the courts. As an industry that has existed from the earliest days when societies first came into being, not only has the hospitality sector continuously sought to improve its services but also it has never ceased its efforts to learn more effective methods of managing conflicts. Therefore, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate how the hospitality industry resolves legal disputes with their guests. In order to be able to provide a thorough picture of what has been researched in this topic, the literature review provides initially a general analysis of the hotel operation, handling complaints and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Then it focuses on a more detailed research on prevention and legal complaints in the hospitality industry. This study collected qualitative data from General Managers and Duty Managers working in different hotels in Dublin, Ireland. A narrative analysis was used as a method to analyse the findings of this research project. Semi-structured interviews were used as a data collection method to collect the outcomes. Considering the data collected, the researcher was able to categorize and analyse the most important findings to answer the main research question – “Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) currently being used in the Hospitality Industry to resolve legal disputes that are occurring between hotels and their guests?” Considering the literature review and the methodology used, it can be concluded that prevention is the key to avoid legal conflicts with guests. In addition, it was also found that General Managers and Duty Managers strenuously work to provide their staff members with good training, particularly regarding being prepared and having a knowledge base of the processes involved in dealing with incidents that can lead to legal action. The outcome of this research recommends that hotels look at other alternatives besides litigation to resolve legal conflicts with their guests.
Molina Ornelas, 2020