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Hospitality Lawyer Insights from MTM: #14 Brands

03 June 2009

Hospitality Lawyer Insights from Meet the Money® 2009: The hospitality lawyers of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® have presented an annual hotel conference for 19 years. On May 5-7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California, nearly 400 industry leaders gathered at the Sheraton LAX for Meet the Money® 2009.

Presentations from Hotel Industry thought leaders by JMBM’s hospitality lawyers

The PowerPoint presentations from a number of industry leaders at Meet the Money® 2009 are listed with hyperlinks at JEWELS from Meet the Money® 2009 — the “best ever” hotel conference.

Commentary and observations from the hospitality lawyers of JMBM and other industry experts on some of the critical industry issues are available at Hospitality Lawyer Insights.

Here is the latest in the Hospitality Lawyer Insights series on some of the most critical issues of our day.

#14 – Brands

Thomas Corcoran:


Thomas Corcoran
Chairman of the Board
Felcor Lodging Trust Incorporated

“This time around is really different, a change has taken place in many owner/operator relationships. It used to be a moral obligation for owners to complain about brands. But it is not so this time around because some franchisors are rethinking a lot of the things they have required in the past.”

Kevin Mahoney:


Kevin Mahoney
Stonebridge Companies

“The franchise community is under economic siege and the brands know it. The brands have a wealth of information and some are very proactive in providing operating guidelines during these challenging times. Their attitude is, “If you take care of your customer and your property, we will help you through these times.” The feeling at the recent Marriott franchisee meeting was positive.”
Tom Engel:


Tom Engel
T.R. Engel Group, LLC

“Interesting. We are seeing a different situation. We are seeing a number of cases where the owners are dying and the brands are not helping.”

Jonathan Falik:


Jonathan Falik
Chief Executive Officer
JF Capital Advisors

“So many owners are focused on liquidity — as they need to be — and we will look for assets with good bones that can be up-branded, or repositioned with an infusion of capital. We see several years of that coming. Some will be driven by the brands. When things start to improve, the brands will look for owners to put more money into the properties.”

Abid Gilani


Abid Gilani
Senior Vice President, Mortgage Banking
Marriott International, Inc.

“Marriott is creatively looking for management contracts with skin in the game. We might look at an underperforming asset flagged under a competitor as a conversion opportunity that can be branded as one of the Marriott full service flags. Marriott could come in with a mez piece — priced below market because of the value of the management contract — and reflag immediately. For other opportunities, Marriott can provide equity to recapitalize the structure. ”
Scott Brown:


Scott Brown
ABA Development, LLC

“The flag is imperative to financing. With regional banks being the lenders of choice right now, and you are a qualified buyer, look into their experience with various brands and do what has worked for them in the past.”

Morris Lasky:


Morris Lasky
Lodging Unlimited, Inc (LUI)

“Hotel flags almost always change during a repositioning, therefore it is important to analyze the market and where the demand is. Demand should determine where you reposition the property.”

Ralph Newman:


Ralph Newman
WTS International, Inc.

“Brands are taking notice of spas today like never before. Las Vegas may be severely discounting their rooms, but the spa and other ancillary revenue sources have been booming. Hotels are focusing on the total amount of revenue generated from a stay rather than ADR. an example of leveraging a hotel spa is building spa services into a wedding package. Hotels build F&B into weddings, why not spa? They are leaving money on the table, in our opinion.”

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $87 billion of hotel transactions and have developed innovative solutions to unlock value from troubled hotel transactions. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

Our Perspective. We represent hotel lenders, owners and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for 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 a founding partner of JMBM and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group®. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

JMBM’s troubled asset team has handled more than 1,000 receiverships and many complex insolvency issues. But Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. For example, they have developed some unique proprietary approaches to unlock value in underwater hotels that can benefit lenders, borrowers and investors. (GOOGLE “JMBM SAVE program”.)

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