Hospitality

We Understand Your Business

As an industry that is closely tied to the ups and downs of the global economy, the hospitality sector is largely impacted by economic and social trends. In order to thrive, hospitality companies must adapt to current developments, such as:

  • Disputes between owners and brand operators have taken a turn where owners are ousting the operators in contravention of the management agreements and then choosing to fight in court, arbitration or bankruptcy proceeding. This is likely to result in a dramatic revision of the hotel management agreement business model.
  • Growth in all segments of the hospitality industry continues to be fueled outside the United States. Activity can be seen not only in Asia, but in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The Caribbean still lags, but is showing some signs of life. The world's economies are of concern, and that concern is restraining what would otherwise be pent-up demand dependent mostly upon availability of equity and debt money. In the U.S., the select service sector is growing in certain markets and through rebranding. Sales of existing upscale and luxury properties are also increasing among flagship and rebranding candidates.
  • The availability of capital for receivables financing and CMBS securitizations for timeshare and fractional developers has returned to the marketplace as the economy has generally improved. Increased liquidity for developers and a more optimistic outlook by consumer buyers may be a significant indicator of the start of a general industry recovery.
  • The fee for service model has become a significant source of revenue for established branded timeshare developers who desire to keep real estate assets off their balance sheets in the future; this "asset light" strategy of using existing sales, marketing and management personnel of branded timeshare developers to sell other developer's or lender's products for a fee has become very popular in the last year as a means if increasing revenues without the need to own the related real estate.
  • As a way to penetrate new markets and ensure brand expansion in the face of the continuing limited available of debt financing for new build hotels, major brands have recognized the need to put “skin in the game” through capital acquisitions, equity investment and increased key money in order to secure strategically important assets in key markets, with the understanding that they are in for a long-term hold as the market recovers. Further, market penetration led by rebranding in connection with acquisitions and existing portfolios are on the rise.
  • The changing dynamics of international travel trends, driven by the increased investment in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and the rapid increase in travel from emerging economies due to an expanding middle class, are creating new opportunities for investors and operators around the globe.
  • Foreign equity investors continue to view the U.S. as a relatively safe harbor to invest capital, looking primarily at major flags in key gateway cities where they can enjoy additional return on their investments if the U.S. dollar strengthens.

Is your company positioned to succeed?


We Can Help

Holland & Knight has a dedicated team of lawyers who have served the hospitality industry for more than 25 years. We work in collaboration to address all of the legal needs of developers, lenders and owners in every segment of the hospitality industry, including hotels, timeshares, gaming resorts, restaurants and more. Our services include:

  • Construction: Growth in the global hospitality industry continues to drive construction, and our team can provide you with comprehensive advice on legal issues surrounding the building, development, managing and financing of projects around the world. We can also advise you on current and emerging issues, such as indoor air quality.
  • Corporate Services: Our team has extensive experience providing business advice to participants in the hospitality industry on a wide range of issues, including contracts and joint venture agreements, hotel management agreements, mergers and acquisitions, corporate compliance and governance and U.S. and foreign taxation.
  • Data Privacy and Security: It is critical for hospitality companies to effectively manage data privacy and security matters and comply with the growing number of related regulations, best practices and regulator guidance. We can provide you with highly experienced technical and legal counsel on a wide array of issues, from managing your online data collection, mobile apps and devices, to handling your online, email and telephone marketing practices, to using social media platforms, to helping guide you through international data transfers. We can also help prevent or deal with data and security breaches, as well as respond to federal and state regulator inquiries and investigations.
  • Environment: Environmental concerns are present in virtually every hospitality project around the world. Our team can help you address the environmental issues that accompany the development and operation of your projects worldwide.
  • Financial Services: Financial capital is a common need among participants in the hospitality industry and our team can help you secure the funding necessary to support your operations. We have extensive experience with the documentation, due diligence and closing of all forms of financing, including commercial lending, project finance, structured finance, key money, private equity and venture capital. In addition, when market conditions impact your operations, we can assist with restructuring your debt, including workouts and bankruptcy.
  • Hospitality, Resort and Timeshare: Our hospitality team is experienced in the development and financing of hotels, mixed use resorts, timeshare and fractional products and private residence, ski and golf clubs. We advise developers, owners, operators, managers, marketers, lenders and homeowners' associations that range in size from small private companies to Fortune 500 companies. The reach of our hospitality practice covers both vacation and urban destinations in the U.S. and includes international transactions in Canada, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, Mexico and Latin America.
  • Indian Law: Gaming operations are accompanied by unique and often challenging legal issues. Our team has been involved in dozens of casino, hotel and resort developments and can represent you from the earliest planning stages through project opening, operations and regulation.
  • Insurance: Hospitality operations carry potential for a wide range of liability risks and insuring obligations. We can help you anticipate those risks and protect your interests through effective insurance planning, coordination with your risk manager and appropriate documentation of insurance and indemnification contracts.
  • International: As hospitality projects continue to develop throughout the world, so too does the need for coordinated global legal counsel. Our team can assist you with all of your transactional, real estate, tax and dispute resolutions needs across the globe.
  • Labor, Employment and Benefits: With the prevalence of large workforces and unionized employees, labor and employment issues are of great importance to hospitality companies. Our team can guide you through common employment issues such as policies, training and benefits as well as issues that are critical in your industry, such as OSHA and workplace safety. We can also represent your interests in labor relations and can defend against claims of discrimination and retaliation. 
  • Land Use and Zoning: Land use issues are a key concern for most companies engaged in the hospitality industry. Our team can help you with all of your land use needs, including obtaining land use and real estate development approvals, drafting zoning relief ordinances and negotiating agreements for improvements needed for development projects.
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Disputes are a common occurrence in today's business world and this is certainly true within the hospitality industry. We will aggressively defend your interests in any type of dispute so you can remain focused on your core business objectives. Our team also includes industry-experienced mediators and arbitrators who serve as "knowledgeable neutrals" as part of our Alternative Dispute Resolution practice.
  • Public Policy & Regulation: The hospitality industry is subject to a vast array of regulations at the state and federal levels in the United States and by various levels of government in foreign countries. Members of our team have extensive experience in state and federal policymaking and regulatory matters and can help you safely navigate the rules. In addition, we can also help you advance your interests through effective government relations and the drafting of legislation and negotiation of tax and development-related incentive agreements with governmental bodies and administrative agencies.
  • Real Estate: Companies engaged in the hospitality industry often require significant real property holdings to conduct their business. We can help you with the acquisition, development, leasing and sale of the real estate necessary for your operations.

Guidance You Can Trust

The combination of our thorough knowledge, our extensive experience and our sincere commitment to provide responsive service is why clients entrust our Global Hospitality Team to handle their legal needs. These attributes are also the reason why members of our team have been listed among the top legal professionals in the country by the American Resort Development Association as ARDA Registered Resort Professionals and by leading publications, including:

  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Real Estate Law, 2008-2014
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Food and Beverage Law, 2011-2014
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Leisure & Hospitality, 2008-2013
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Food & Beverages: Alcohol, 2008-2013
  • Golf, Inc., Best Attorneys in the Golf Industry, 2011, 2013
  • Super Lawyers magazine, Corporate Counsel, Florida, Massachusetts, Southern California and Washington, D.C. editions, 2005-2014