Our Practice

Around the clock and around the globe, Snell & Wilmer understands the hospitality industry. Bottom line – our lodging and leisure clients count on us to help achieve their business objectives while also meeting legal and regulatory obligations. Hospitality clients benefit from our full-service approach and extensive industry experience. Our attorneys understand the legal issues that may arise in the hospitality industry and guide our clients to address them proactively and strategically, whether we are involved in development, purchase, sale, tax, or management operations. 

Snell & Wilmer is proud to represent hospitality industry clients of all shapes and sizes. Our hospitality practice provides a broad range of legal services and proven experience to owners, operators, developers, real estate investment trusts (REITs), family-owned businesses, suppliers, and capital sources engaged in the hospitality, lodging, and leisure industries. This includes developers, suppliers, hotel chains, leading resorts, casinos, restaurants, championship golf courses, sports clubs, athletic and gaming facilities, amusement parks, other entertainment destinations, capital resources, and related vendors. 

Our Areas of Service 

We provide a full range of multi-disciplinary practices that the resort and hospitality industry confronts, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Development, structuring, and joint ventures
  • Acquisition and sales 
  • Finance, including equity finance arrangements
  • Tax
  • Labor and employment
  • Immigration and compliance
  • Construction and engineering
  • Timeshares and condo-hotels
  • Securities
  • Gaming
  • Restructuring and bankruptcy
  • Environmental compliance and permitting
  • Water Rights and Water Supply Issues
  • Registrations
  • Franchise
  • Hotel Management Agreements 
  • Private Clubs 

Our Experience

Our experience in the hospitality industry includes:

  • Real Estate: Our real estate attorneys represent national and international hotel companies and resort owners, developers, and operating companies in every phase of real estate transactions. Our attorneys prepare and negotiate purchase and sale agreements for the acquisition and disposition of hotels and resorts. They help clients navigate these complex transactions, with respect to due diligence, title matters, tax, and risk management. We negotiate management agreements, franchise agreements, and other controlling documents. We also prepare and negotiate ground leases, air rights leases, easements, restrictive covenants, parking and concession agreements, and major amenity packages. Our team can document golf course amenity agreements, licenses, technical services agreements, equity club membership programs, and other types of agreements associated with major resort properties. 
  • Corporate, Finance & Tax: Our corporate and finance attorneys prepare and negotiate joint venture agreements, development agreements, management agreements, and other agreements and arrangements related to the development and operations of hotels. They will guide clients in organizing and advising on corporate and tax structures of their entities, investment vehicles, equity and debt arrangements, and financing facilities. We have broad finance experience, representing lenders and borrowers in acquisition loans, land development loans, interim and permanent loans, construction loans, and letters of credit. We help guide clients with respect to the tax implications of their entity structures, portfolios, acquisitions, and dispositions.
  • Construction: Our construction attorneys help clients in the resort and hospitality industry navigate a broad range of legal issues. They have the depth of experience required to meet a variety of needs – contracts, labor, safety, claims, bid protests, insurance, registrar of contractors’ issues, tax, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation – simple or complex.
  • Indian Gaming: Our Indian Law attorneys have represented casinos and gaming organizations, resorts and recreational businesses, development and management companies, financers, gaming vendors, and others that do business on Indian lands.
  • Intellectual Property (IP): Our intellectual property attorneys represent national and international hotel and resort owners, developers, and operating companies in all aspects of protecting, leveraging, enforcing, and transferring IP. Our attorneys help clients develop and implement broad strategies for copyrights and patents. Our trademark team advises and defends hospitality clients in connection with IP infringement through the misuse of their advertising, signage, website content, and other marketing collateral. 
  • Licensing and Franchising: Our attorneys are experienced in areas that are critical to hospitality franchise businesses and the industry’s licensure needs. Our experience ranges from structuring start-up franchise programs; to working with established national or international programs on regulatory and relationship issues. Throughout the process, members of our group work closely with each client to develop efficient programs and comprehensive business strategies. Additionally, we assist clients with respect to the acquisition of food safety and liquor licenses regarding the production, importation, and distribution of spiritous liquors.
  • Environmental: Our natural resources attorneys assist a vast range of hospitality clients with resolving environmental issues. We have key relationships with national and state regulatory agencies allowing effective representation of clients in negotiation or litigation with EPA, USDOJ, and other federal, state, and local regulatory agencies with oversight authority.
  • Water Rights and Water Supply Issues: Our water attorneys have experience addressing a broad range of water rights and water supply issues that typically impact the hospitality industry. For example, we have secured water rights for golf courses, ski resorts, and other amenities at properties in multiple western states. We have negotiated water supply contracts for hotels and resorts, secured water right transfers and permits, and conducted due diligence on water rights for clients considering acquisition of properties. We maintain strong relationships with regulatory agencies responsible for administering water rights programs and with municipal and private-sector water utilities that supply both potable and non-potable water to our clients.
  • Litigation: Our litigation attorneys have experience in business related state and federal litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Experience pertinent to the hospitality industry includes hotel construction disputes, contract claims, franchise litigation, event and booking controversies, media activities, and disputes arising from management/operating agreements.
  • Bankruptcy: We have the West’s leading bankruptcy attorneys, with our team of bankruptcy, insolvency, and reorganization attorneys. Our clients benefit from the team’s extensive experience of debt collection, credit relief, debtor-creditor litigation, and asset transfers. We work closely with our hospitality clients to understand their business, their legal issues, their financial challenges, and assist them in developing and implementing an effective strategy to help accomplish their objectives. 
  • Immigration: Our immigration and compliance attorneys and paralegals are experienced in all areas of business immigration ranging from managing the process of obtaining non-immigrant work visas through obtaining green cards for our clients’ employees.  Experience in the hospitality industry includes assisting national hotel chains, boutique hotels, time share companies, golf resort communities, gaming companies and related vendors with their immigration needs. Our immigration practice includes handling E-3, H-1B, L1-A, L1-B, O, P, R, and TN non-immigrant visas, along with handling the PERM process and I-140 filings for permanent residency. We also routinely advise our clients on I-9 and E-verify issues and handle I-9 audits and other worksite enforcement issues.  Our attorneys also counsel clients on immigration “best practices” and advise clients on the impact corporate takeovers, restructuring and layoffs can have on the immigration status of their employees.
  • Labor and Employment: Our labor and employment attorneys support and guide our hospitality clients through all phases of employment litigation and general counsel needs. We routinely provide advice on all aspects of employment, including sexual harassment training, workplace diversity initiatives, performance management, hiring, termination, workplace investigations, the interactive process and reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence, wage and hour audits, compensation audits, OSHA compliance and litigation, and staying compliant with ever-changing employment laws. We work with hospitality clients to make sure their policies and practices maintain employees as assets instead of liabilities. Yet, when clients face litigation, our employment team has the bench strength to lead them to a resolution that fits their needs and objectives, whether that means early resolution or litigation and trial. Our labor and employment attorneys have extensive experience in all areas of employment litigation, from single plaintiff actions related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation to wage and hour class actions and Private Attorney General Act matters, and everything in between.