Articles Posted in Hotel Finance − Hotel Debt & Hotel Equity

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By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
7 March 2014

Comfort letters are more important than ever as franchising continues to be a dominant form of branding hotels. As many of our recent articles have noted, there has been a sea change in the hotel world. Franchise agreements have become the dominant means of branding most hotels in the US, except for a few of the most upscale and luxury brands.

This popularity of franchising has made comfort letters more important than ever simply by the predominance of the franchise model, and lender’s desire to get certain protections that they feel comfort letters offer.

In today’s article, my partner, hotel lawyer Robert Braun, explains what comfort letters are and the kind of provisions they usually contain.

Comfort Letters – Comfort for Whom?

by
Robert E. Braun | Hotel Lawyer

If you are buying, building or refinancing a hotel, you’ll almost certainly be looking to a bank or other lender to finance the hotel, and when you do, you’ll need to negotiate dozens of documents, some long, some short, but all of them necessary to get your loan. In other articles, we have talked about the importance of subordination, non-disturbance and attornment agreements (SNDAs). SNDAs are used in the context of a hotel management agreement (HMA) — usually only long-term branded HMAs — to define the rights of lenders vis a vis the hotel operator in the event of the owner’s/borrower’s loan default, breach of the HMA, foreclosure by the lender or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

But what about franchised hotels? Lenders who take security in a franchised property will want a “comfort letter,” an agreement between the lender and the franchisor that defines the rights of lenders and franchisors if the hotel owner defaults on its loan obligations, the franchise agreement or other related arrangements. In other words, lenders seek SNDAs to deal with their rights and obligations with respect to HMAs. They use comfort letters to deal with their rights with respect to franchise agreements.

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Published on:

6 March 2014

Meet the Money® National Hotel Finance and Investment Conference will focus on hotel development and deals

LOS ANGELES–Meet the Money® 2014 will bring owners, operators, developers, consultants, investors, brands, lenders and other capital providers together in Los Angeles to explore the opportunities of what is predicted to be a breakout year for hotel development and deals. Held May 5-7, the annual national hotel finance and investment conference will focus on ground up development, expansion, repositioning and rebranding as well as the big increase in hotel acquisitions and financings, refinancings and recapitalizations.

“Now is a great time to be in the hospitality industry,” said Jim Butler, founder of the conference and Chairman of the JMBM Global Hospitality Group®, which hosts the two day event. “Improving economics for the last 4 years has laid the groundwork for an even bigger 2014, with a big increase in new development and transactional activity.”

Experts also expect to see a continuing increase in value appreciation in all hotel markets for at least the next three to five years, creating a wave of new development as it becomes cheaper to build new rooms than buy them.

Over 100 hospitality industry insiders are confirmed as speakers in Meet the Money® 2014 panel discussions on this year’s most urgent topics, new development, successful strategies for buying or selling hotels, Chinese investment, hotel-residential and other mixed-use projects, the ADA, labor and employment issues, and public-private partnerships. Separate panels will explore luxury, select service and full service hotels, as well as the ins and outs of financing large and small deals.

“Meet the Money® provides essential information for getting the most out of the upcoming year, and our attendees are able to network with some of the most successful leaders and creative minds in the industry,” said Butler. “The conference is a valuable resource for anyone looking to make smart deals or plan new development.”

Meet the Money® is held at the Sheraton LAX. Registration fees are $950. For more information about the conference and to register, please visit MeetTheMoney.com or contact Carol James at (415) 984-9654 or CJames@jmbm.com.

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
13 May 2013


Meet the Money® made the news again this year, with an article on the Wall Street Journal “Developments” blog. Written by Kris Hudson, the article discusses the return of hotel construction, what types of financing are available, and which markets will be able to support new hotels.

Meet the Money® speakers Marty Collins of Gatehouse Capital, Anne Hampton of Wells Fargo Bank Hospitality Finance, Alison Cumberland and Abid Gilani of Marriott International, Kevin Mahoney of Stonebridge Companies and Paul Novak at Whitman Peterson Capital Partners were quoted in the story.

Conference speakers highlighted the CMBS market, gateway city locations, and upper-midscale hotels developments as factors that might help push construction financing in 2013, although some noted that lending standards are still strict and that many markets may not have a demand for more rooms.

If you haven’t read the article yet, you can find it here: Lenders Checking In? Hoteliers Say Construction Lending Is Reviving.

You can more great information from Meet the Money® 2013 at www.HotelLawyer.com on our RESOURCE CENTER, under “Hotel Industry Presentations.”

Published on:

www.MeetTheMoney.comBy Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
11 May 2013

Meet the Money® is one of the best places in the country for meeting the Who’s Who of the hotel world, getting financing and transactions done and catching up on the latest strategies and approaches. This year’s conference was held at the Sheraton LAX, May 6-8, 2013 and was attended by approximately 350 hotel industry leaders. Here’s a quick take on the mood of the conference and some information about
Mood of the hotel industry: optimism and sustainability of recovery

JMBM wrapped up its 23rd annual hotel conference this week amidst the strongest optimism for the hotel industry that hotel experts have seen for six years. The consensus was there is a lot of blue sky ahead. Some think the good times will only last for a couple of years, but many see a good run for at least 5 years!

Everyone at Meet the Money® seemed to be fairly comfortable that the recovery has significant sustainability, because the debt and equity markets have not gotten too frothy, and new supply has been very restrained.

Mark Woodworth of PKF summarized it well after presenting industry fundamentals by saying: “It is a great time to be in the hotel business!”
And Vail Brown gave the STR forecast that the outlook of continuing improvements is “Steady as she goes.”

Greg Hartmann of JLL sounded a slightly more cautious note. He agrees that everything looks pretty good for the next couple of years, but questions how long it can last, and suggests that investors might consider selling in the next year and a half to two years.

What inning are we in? Almost every panel gave its views, with the biggest consensus being that we are in the 4th or 5th inning — still early in the ballgame. John Alderson of Westfield thinks that the shopping center owners now getting active in adding hotels to their malls are way behind the rest of the industry (2nd inning?) and are likely to have their games continue as they implement strategic plans.

Hotel Industry Presentations from Meet the Money® 2013

Meet the Money® 2013 was buzzing with action and great information. We have decided to release some of the presentations for free download. Select presentations from Meet the Money® 2013 (described below) and are now available at www.HotelLawyer.com. Click on “RESOURCE CENTER” and then “Hotel Industry Presentations.”

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
01 May 2013

Meet the Money® 2013 is next week! Online registration ends this Friday, May 3, 2013 at 5 pm.

It is hard to believe but our 23rd annual Meet the Money® conference is less than a week away — May 6 to 8, 2013 at the Sheraton LAX.

We have an exciting program with the top providers and consumers of debt, equity and other pieces of the capital stack. We also have top industry leaders speaking and attending, plenty of opportunities for networking and deal making, and the best conference food and snacks in the industry.

Hot topics include all the latest on WHO is providing hotel financing and HOW the deals are being done — from small deals to big deals. Presenters are all active in providing capital or finding the best sources of it.

In addition to all the latest on hotel debt and equity, there will be some great panels on:

  • State of the Hotel Industry – industry fundamentals, capital markets,
    financing and market values, cap rates, transaction data and trends,
    state of the economy

    STR
    PKF Consulting
    HVS
    Jones Lang LaSalle
    Atlas Hospitality
    Richard Green, USC Lusk Center

  • Development: What’s Hot — What’s Not
    Where’s the money going for development?
  • EB-5 Update: Financing for New Construction
    Why do the EB-5 apps double each year?
  • Why the ADA matters to you.
    Comply now or pay later
  • CEO Panel: New Strategies for a New Economy
    Are you at the table or on it?
  • Hotel Retail-Mixed-use
    Why are people adding hotels to shopping centers?
  • State of the CMBS Markets
  • Workouts/Receiverships/Takeovers
    Strategies for distressed hotels
  • Maximizing Return & Value
    Branded vs. Independent Operators

And much more!

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
21 February 2013

Hotel Lawyers with Lodging Industry assessment: Demand is strong, supply is weak. RevPAR is healthy. What’s not to like?

We continue to receive calls from hotel owners, developers, investors, lenders, and members of the media asking, “What is the hospitality investment outlook for 2013 and beyond?”
There is a growing optimism among industry veterans and many of them are revitalizing acquisition (and a few development) projects. The level of activity has kicked up a notch or two.

One thing that everyone likes: barring unforeseen events, the stage is set for continuing improvement in hotel industry fundamentals and hotel valuations for at least 5 years – through 2017.

This presents a very attractive backdrop for investors, and experienced investors are already putting their plans in motion.

1. Fundamentals: What the numbers say

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
13 December 2012

Financing or refinancing a hotel. Some issues every borrower should understand. As we said in introducing part 1 of this article, most hotel buyers will want financing. Some of the big REITs or other cash rich players will buy for all cash and then find financing at their leisure. That gives them an advantage in bidding on hot properties. But most buyers will want financing to pay for their acquisition.

Either way, there are some things your mother may not have told you, but as a buyer (and a borrower) in a hotel purchase, you really should know these 10 things that my partner, hotel lawyer Jeffrey Steiner, lays out for us in his article.

Because of the length of this article, it is presented in 2 parts. Here is part 2.

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
9 December 2012

Buying hotels is in vogue right now. But financing hotel purchases has some twists every borrower should understand. The industry fundamentals continue to go from good to better, and values are increasingly favorable compared to alternative investments. Many think that this is the time to jump in, before it is too late.

Most hotel buyers will want financing. Some of the big REITs or other cash rich players will buy for all cash and then find financing at their leisure. That gives them an advantage in bidding on hot properties. But most buyers will want financing to pay for their acquisition.

Either way, there are some things your mother may not have told you, but as a buyer (and a borrower) in a hotel purchase, you really should know these 10 things that my partner, hotel lawyer Jeffrey Steiner, lays out for us in his article.

Because of the length of this article, it is presented in 2 parts. Here is part 1.

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
22 May 2012

At JMBM’s recent hotel finance conference in Los Angeles, a panel of experts talked about how well joint ventures are working to provide financing for hotel development and acquisitions.

The hotel joint venture experts

The Joint Venture Panel from Meet the Money® 2012 featured 5 veteran hotel investors and operating partners, and was moderated by Guy Maisnik, hotel lawyer and Vice Chair of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. The panelists were:

Picture of Guy Maisnik Guy Maisnik, Vice Chair, JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® works extensively on hotel joint ventures and financings, as well as acquisitions.

  • Mark Burden, CEO, Rim Hospitality
  • Lamont Meek, SVP and COO, Circa Capital
  • Rick Frank, SVP Hospitality, Behringer Harvard
  • Jonathan Martin, VP, AEW Capital Management
  • Kam Babaoff, Managing Director, Ensemble Hotel Partners

Each of these participants has a long history of investing in and operating hotels, and they represent the spectrum of views currently prevailing in the industry. While each has been successful, each has taken a different road to achieve success. The individual strategies and approaches of each stands out, as does the talent and vision necessary to navigate some of the toughest years in the hotel industry.

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Published on:

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
13 March 2012

Hotel investment through buying hotel notes As the economy and hotel fundamentals continue to improve, hotel note purchase opportunities will be one of the most attractive hotel investments for savvy investors.

My partner and Vice Chair of our Global Hospitality Group®, Guy Maisnik, has been working a lot on note purchases lately, and I asked him to share some insights with us, which he graciously consented to do with his article today.

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