Prism's "Fishing for Solutions" Lender Conference Brings Together Hotel & Lending Industry Heavy-Hitters; Highlights Maturing Debt Issues, Property Improvement Plans & Other Issues

Hotel management firm provides "post mortem" on its annual distressed assets conference

Nov 03, 2011, 14:55 ET from Prism Hotels & Resorts

DALLAS, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Last month, hotel industry leaders and heavy-hitters in hotel lending came together in Grapevine, Texas, for Prism Hotels & Resorts' "Fishing for Solutions" conference, the only conference in the country that brings together these two groups to talk openly and candidly about distressed hotel loans. The high-powered, invitation-only meeting has taken place each fall for the past eleven years.

Two hot topics surfaced throughout this year's conference: maturing debt on performing assets and property improvement plans (PIPs).

Many panelists and speakers, including Prism CEO Steve Van, expressed concern that many commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) loans coming due have already been extended and cannot be extended again due to limitations with the Pooling & Servicing Agreements (PSA) that govern the loans. According to many attendees, there's no positive action that can be taken and pain will need to be shared by both the borrower and the lender to remedy the situation.

"Owners can no longer kick the can down the road in hopes for a better economy. The recession has outlasted the loan terms and we're now left figuring out how to pay the piper," said Van.

Additionally, much of the conversation centered on Property Improvement Programs (PIPs) and how some franchisors are having to push for PIPs to be completed by franchisees in order to maintain their brand standards and integrity.

"For the most part, the brands have been lenient on maintaining their brand standards since the economy started to slow down, but now many of the properties that already needed upgrades three years ago are in serious need of improvement," said Van. "The brands are growing increasingly impatient with franchisees and are beginning to enforce PIPs, adding additional financial pressure for the property owner."

While much of the conversation seemed to focus on the challenges facing the industry, there was some optimism - specifically, the strong summer season with high occupancy rates that the industry just experienced, as well as the productivity benefits of low employee turnover due to the tight job market.

"For many, this conference is a must-attend event on their schedules, with some attendees having been with us for all eleven years," said Van. "Each year there's a new set of challenges and opportunities to be discussed and, regardless of whether it's someone's 11th conference or their very first, every attendee comes away with a fresh perspective on the industry."

Jim Butler of the Hotel Law blog ( calls the conference "probably the best lender conference in the country...if you are a special servicer, you want to be at this meeting."

A date has not yet been set for the fall 2012 conference. Interested parties can contact Prism Hotels at (214) 987-9300 for invitation consideration.

SOURCE Prism Hotels & Resorts