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Hotel Lawyer with GREEN GEMS from the Los Angeles Hotel Investment Conference

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31 January 2008
Hotel Lawyer with GREEN GEMS from the Los Angeles Hotel Investment Conference.

Hotels are going green (really)! And sustainability is the hot issue in the hotel industry.
Although hotels have been the last real estate asset class to embrace sustainability, it looks like things are really changing. At the ALIS conference, recycling trash containers were a welcome sight, and the program featured a full panel on green hotels, a keynote, and lots of mentions about sustainability by many of the speakers.

I thought some of the most interesting comments came from the Hotel Leaders Outlook panel. Here are a few of the gems from hotel industry leaders on the greening of hotels and sustainability in the hospitality industry — is it here to stay or just a fad?

This is not [just] a cost issue. It is a revenue issue as well.

We need to raise consciousness about sustainability. In the hospitality business, we touch millions of people every week.

I absolutely believe this is here to stay. And we need to dedicate a lot more resources to it.

Mark Hoplamazian
President & CEO
Global Hyatt Corporation

It is good for the environment, it is good for business.

I see it as an opportunity. It is a revenue and an expense issue. Amex says that 50% of their corporate customers consider this in making reservations.

On expense, we are looking at light bulbs, water use, trash. There are huge ROIs associated associated with green.

As a business proposition, green can be can be rewarding.

As time goes on, the investment community is becoming more sensitive to this issue.

Companies on the leading edge of this will have an advantage.

For all those reasons, it is here to stay. To deny that is to put your head in the sand.

Christopher J. Nassetta
President & CEO
Hilton Hotels Corporation

Economically — most important to us as an owner — we are seeing replacement of air conditioning units with those that use less electricity and are economically justified.

In marketing, the consumer is confused because there is no standard of what is green.

Monty J. Bennett
President & CEO
Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.

The customer is dictating that the hospitality industry go green. If you don’t see it today, you will tomorrow. Get ready. Every group meeting planner is going to check your carbon emissions.

You better build it green or convert it. Because if you don’t the customers won’t come.

Laurence S. Geller
Chairman & CEO
Strategic Hotels & Resorts

The Travel Association’s research shows that 50% of travelers say that they are more likely to book travel at a green hotel.

As an industry, we need to embrace sustainability. Consumers, will insist on it
“It is here forever.”

Jay Rasulo
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

What is clear to these industry leaders it that the market is driving the change toward sustainability – and where there is demand, supply is sure to follow. While some in the industry will hop on the green bandwagon to maintain their position in the marketplace, others will use the change to identify new opportunities, re-position their properties and portfolios, and create profitability for their companies and their investors.

I am looking forward to the new opportunities this change will bring to the industry!
It is possible that we will look back on 2007-2008 as the “tipping point” for the greening of the hotel industry. To be sure, many owners and operators have gone beyond the “what if” debate and are now engaged in the “how to” dialogue. What are the hard numbers? For new builds versus conversions? How do new green practices affect operating costs and how are new operation practices implemented? How will “green” issues impact valuation? Get financed? Where are the case studies? Who has been in the trenches? Who are the real experts?

These are the questions and hard economic issues that provide the focus for The UNLV-JMBM Hotel Developers Conference™, March 11-13, 2008 in Las Vegas. Our panelists and speakers are industry trailblazers who will share their hard-won experience and knowledge.

If you are determining how to participate in GREEN HOTEL development and operations, you will not want to miss this opportunity to stay ahead of the curve.

Please join me in Las Vegas for this important conference!

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $87 billion of hotel transactions and more than 100 hotel mixed-used deals in the last 5 years alone. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

Our Perspective. We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $125 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 4,700 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers 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 $87 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 3,900 properties located around the globe. In the last 5 years alone, Jim and his team have assisted clients with more than 100 hotel mixed-use projects, all of which have involved at least some residential, and many have also involved significant spa, restaurant, retail, office, sports, and entertainment components — frequently integrated with energizing lifestyle elements.

Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right “fit” for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.

Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim’s books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed-use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.

Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm’s Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit

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