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Hotel Lawyer on the Gridlock: Can it be unlocked? Holy Zoley! How do you cope with a complete paradigm shift in the hotel industry?

15 April 2009

Hotel Lawyer with questions, and perhaps some guidance, on how we make this all work. Today, the Fed announced that for the first time in 50 years, the US economy has experienced deflation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Labor Department reported that the March consumer-price index slipped 0.4% below its year-earlier level — the first decline in more than 50 years.

How bad is it?

State and local sales-tax revenues fell more sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008 than at any time in the past 50 years, and have continued to erode through the first part of 2009, according to a report released yesterday.

The 21 largest TARP banks — the largest bank recipients of U.S. Bailout funds — lent 2.2% less across all consumer and commercial categories in February than in the prior month.

The New York Times has now christened our current financial crisis as “The Great Recession of 2008” and the pessimists are predicting a modest “recovery” in 2014!!!

What does this mean to the lodging industry? How do we survive? Where are the opportunities? Where are the flaws in the analysis?

I think these are some of the most important questions we will have to answer in the coming months, or years. To be honest, I do not know the answers. And I believe that anyone who claims to do so is lying.

The best we can do is to gain as many insights and perspectives as possible, analyze them for ourselves, and see what makes sense.

Why you should want to be at Meet the Money®

Gaining new insights and perspective, and seeing how the most creative minds in the country analyze them is the most compelling reason for all our industry friends to attend this year’s Meet the Money® — our 19th annual hotel conference. (see

Ironically, Meet the Money® began 19 years ago with two years of conferences focused on “bankruptcies, workouts, and receiverships” and then moved on to better times for most of the last 2 decades.

What to do in a paradigm change.

I believe that our current situation is not a “correction,” but a change in paradigm. The value perception is different. Our business has changed in fundamental ways.

Just as my father, who grew up in The Great Depression, had a very different view of the importance of cash purchases, and debt, these times will change forever how consumers and businesses react to one another.

Get the “new vision.”

We need a new vision of economics, business, consumerism, and what we all provide to one another. It is a new world.

That’s what Meet the Money® is all about this year. We have never had more economic experts, economists, analysts and industry pundits join us as speakers and panelists. It’s never been more critical to understand their analyses, approaches and predictions.

If you haven’t signed up already, please go to For one more week, the Sheraton LAX will still give you a great rate, and you don’t want to miss this conference.

See you at Meet the Money® 2009!

I hope to see you soon. Please give me any thoughts or comments.

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $50 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

Jim Butler is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” or “hotel mixed-use” or “condo hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® — a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $50 billion of hotel transactional experience on more than 1,000 properties located all over the world.

Matters handled range from hotel workouts, restructurings and bankruptcies to public-private partnerships, mixed-use development and foreign investment.

JMBM’s troubled asset team members have more than 1,000 receiverships under their belts, along with the often related bankruptcies and restructurings. Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors with a virtual database of current “market” business terms. They are deal makers. They know who to call and how to reach them.

Contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit