10-K 1 chh1231201610-k.htm 10-K Document

 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
_____________________________________________________ 
FORM 10-K
 _____________________________________________________ 
(Mark One)
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the year ended December 31, 2016
OR
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from              to             
Commission file number 001-13393
 _____________________________________________________ 
CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
 __________________________________________________________ 

DELAWARE
 
52-1209792
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
 
1 Choice Hotels Circle, Suite 400, Rockville, Maryland
 
20850
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (301) 592-5000
  ___________________________________________________________ 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, Par Value $0.01 per share
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
___________________________________________________________ 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months.    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer, accelerated filer and smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act (Check one):
Large accelerated filer  x
 
Accelerated filer  o
 
Smaller reporting company  o
 
Non-accelerated filer  o
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act)     Yes  ¨    No  ý
The aggregate market value of common stock of Choice Hotels International, Inc. held by non-affiliates was $1,582,842,609 as of June 30, 2016 based upon a closing price of $47.62 per share.
The number of shares outstanding of Choice Hotels International, Inc.’s common stock at February 16, 2017 was 56,280,477.



DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.
Certain portions of our definitive proxy statement, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on April 21, 2017, are incorporated by reference under Part III of this Form 10-K.



CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Form 10-K
Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
Page No.
Part I
 
 
 
 
Item 1.
 
Item 1A.
 
Item 1B.
 
Item 2.
 
Item 3.
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
Part II
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
 
Item 6.
 
Item 7.
 
Item 7A.
 
Item 8.
 
Item 9.
 
Item 9A.
 
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
Part III
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
 
Item 11.
 
Item 12.
 
Item 13.
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
Part IV
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
Item 16.
 
 




PART I
Throughout this report, we refer to Choice Hotels International, Inc., together with its subsidiaries as "Choice," "we," "us" or the "Company".

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain matters discussed in this report constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Generally, our use of words such as "expect," "estimate," "believe," "anticipate," "should," "will," "forecast," "plan," "project," "assume" or similar words of futurity identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current beliefs, assumption and expectations regarding future events, which in turn are based on information currently available to management. Such statements may relate to projections of the Company’s revenue, expenses, earnings and other financial and operational measures, Company debt levels, ability to repay outstanding indebtedness, payment of dividends, and future operations, among other matters. We caution you not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors.
Several factors could cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from those expressed in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Such risks include, but are not limited to, changes to general, domestic and foreign economic conditions; changes in law and regulation applicable to the lodging and franchising industries; foreign currency fluctuations; operating risks common in the lodging and franchising industries; changes to the desirability of our brands as viewed by hotel operators and customers; changes to the terms or termination of our contracts with franchisees and our relationships with our franchisees; our ability to keep pace with improvements in technology utilized for marketing and reservations systems and other operating systems; the commercial acceptance of our SkyTouch division's products and services; our ability to grow our franchise system; exposure to risks relating to development activities; fluctuations in the supply and demand for hotels rooms; our ability to realize anticipated benefits of acquired businesses; the level of acceptance of alternative growth strategies we may implement; cyber security and data breach risks; operating risks associated with our international operations; the outcome of litigation; and our ability to effectively manage our indebtedness. These and other risk factors are discussed in detail in Item 1A. "Risk Factors" of this report. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Our SEC filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC’s web site at http://www.sec.gov. Our SEC filings are also available free of charge on our website at http://www.choicehotels.com as soon as reasonably practicable following the time that they are filed with or furnished to the SEC. You may also read and copy any document we file with the SEC at its public reference room located at 100 F Street, NE Washington DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on its public reference room. Information on or connected to our website is neither part of nor incorporated by reference into this annual report on Form 10-K or any other SEC filings.

Item 1.
Business.

Overview
We are one of the largest hotel franchisors in the world with 6,514 hotels open and 775 hotels under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development as of December 31, 2016 representing 516,122 rooms open and 62,547 rooms under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 40 countries and territories outside the United States. Choice franchises lodging properties under the following proprietary brand names: Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Clarion®, Sleep Inn®, Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn®, MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel®, Cambria® hotels & suites, and Ascend Hotel Collection® (collectively, the "Choice brands").
The Company's primary segment is the hotel franchising business, which represents over 99% of the Company's total revenues. The Company's domestic franchising operations are conducted through direct franchising relationships while its international franchise operations are conducted through a combination of direct franchising and master franchising relationships. With a focus on hotel franchising instead of ownership, we benefit from the economies of scale inherent in the franchising business. The fee and cost structure of our business provides opportunities to improve operating results by increasing the number of franchised hotel rooms and effective royalty rates of our franchise contracts resulting in increased initial and relicensing fee revenue, ongoing royalty fees and procurement services revenues. In addition to these revenues, we

4


also collect marketing and reservation system fees to provide support activities for the franchise system. Our operating results can also be improved through our company-wide efforts related to improving property level performance.
The principal factors that affect the Company’s franchising results are: the number and mix of franchised hotel rooms in the various hotel lodging price categories; growth in the number of hotel rooms under franchise; occupancy and room rates achieved by the hotels under franchise; the effective royalty rate achieved; the level of franchise sales and relicensing activity; and our ability to manage costs. The number of rooms at franchised properties and occupancy and room rates at those properties significantly affect the Company’s results because our royalty and marketing and reservation system fees are primarily based upon room revenues or the number of rooms at franchised hotels. The key industry standard for measuring hotel-operating performance is revenue per available room ("RevPAR"), which is calculated by multiplying the percentage of occupied rooms by the average daily room rate realized. Our variable overhead costs associated with franchise system growth of our established brands have historically been less than incremental royalty fees generated from new franchises. Accordingly, continued growth of our franchise business should enable us to realize benefits from the operating leverage in place and improve operating results.
We are contractually required by our franchise agreements to use the marketing and reservation system fees we collect for system-wide support activities. These expenditures help to enhance awareness, increase consumer preference for our brands and deliver guests to our franchisees. Greater awareness and preference promotes long-term growth in business delivery to our franchisees and increases the desirability of our brands to hotel owners and developers, which ultimately increases franchise fees earned by the Company.
Our Company articulates its mission as a commitment to our franchisees’ profitability by providing them with hotel franchises that strive to generate the highest return on investment of any hotel franchise. We have developed an operating system dedicated to our franchisees’ success that focuses on delivering guests to our franchised hotels and reducing costs for our hotel owners.
Our capital allocation decisions, including capital structure and uses of capital, are intended to maximize our return on invested capital and create value for our shareholders. We believe our strong and predictable cash flows create a strong financial position that provides us a competitive advantage. We maintain a capital structure that generates high financial returns and use our excess cash flow to provide returns to our shareholders primarily through share repurchases, dividends or investing in growth opportunities.
Historically, we have returned value to our shareholders in two primary ways: share repurchases and dividends. In 1998, we instituted a share repurchase program which has generated substantial value for our shareholders. Since the program's inception through December 31, 2016, we have repurchased 48.7 million shares (including 33.0 million prior to the two-for-one stock split effected in October 2005) of common stock at a total cost of $1.3 billion. Considering the effect of the two-for-one stock split, the Company has repurchased 81.7 million shares at an average price of $15.38 per share. In December 2016, the Company's board of directors approved increasing the number of shares authorized for repurchase. As a result, at December 31, 2016, the Company had 4.0 million shares remaining under the current share repurchase authorization. We currently believe that our cash flows from operations will support our ability to complete the current board of directors repurchase authorization and upon completion of the current authorization, our board of directors will evaluate the advisability of additional share repurchases.
The Company commenced paying quarterly dividends in 2004 and in 2012 the Company elected to pay a special cash dividend totaling approximately $600 million. The Company currently maintains the payment of a quarterly dividend on its common shares outstanding; however the declaration of future dividends is subject to the discretion of the board of directors. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the board of directors announced a 5% increase to the quarterly cash dividend rate to $0.215 per share, beginning with the dividend payable in the first quarter of 2017. The projected annual dividend in 2017 is $0.86 per share. We expect to continue to pay dividends in the future, subject to quarterly declaration by our board of directors as well as future business performance, economic conditions, changes in income tax regulations and other factors.
The Company also allocates capital to exploring growth opportunities in business areas that are adjacent or complementary to our core hotel franchising business, which leverage our core competencies and are additive to our franchising business model. The timing and amount of these investments are subject to market and other conditions.
Our direct lodging property real estate exposure is limited to activity in the United States and consists of four parcels of real estate that the Company has acquired and intends to resell to incent franchise development in strategic markets or to pursue hotel development through joint ventures. In addition, our development activities that involve financing, equity investments and guaranty support to hotel developers create limited additional exposure to the real estate markets.
The Company was incorporated in 1980 under the laws of the State of Delaware.

5






The Lodging Industry
Companies participating in the lodging industry primarily do so through a combination of one or more of the three primary lodging industry activities: ownership, franchising and management. A company’s relative reliance on each of these activities determines which drivers most influence its profitability.
Ownership requires a substantial capital commitment and involves the most risk but offers high returns due to the owner’s ability to influence margins by driving RevPAR, managing operating expenses and financial leverage. The ownership model has a high fixed-cost structure that results in a high degree of operating leverage relative to RevPAR performance. As a result, profits escalate rapidly in a lodging up-cycle but erode quickly in a downturn as costs rarely decline as fast as revenue. Profits from an ownership model increase at a greater rate from RevPAR growth attributable to average daily rate ("ADR") growth, than from occupancy gains since there are more incremental costs associated with higher guest volumes compared to higher pricing.
Franchisors license their brands to a hotel owner, giving the hotel owner the right to use the brand name, logo, operating practices, and reservations systems in exchange for a fee and an agreement to operate the hotel in accordance with the franchisor’s brand standards. Under a typical franchise agreement, the hotel owner pays the franchisor an initial fee, a percentage-of-revenue royalty fee and a marketing/reservation fee. A franchisor’s revenues are dependent on the number of rooms in its system and the top-line performance of those hotels. Earnings drivers include RevPAR increases, unit growth and effective royalty rate improvement. Franchisors enjoy significant operating leverage in their business model since it typically costs little to add a new hotel franchise to an existing system. Franchisors normally benefit from higher industry supply growth, because unit growth usually outpaces lower RevPAR resulting from excess supply. As a result, franchisors benefit from both RevPAR growth and supply increases which aids in reducing the impact of lodging industry economic cycles.
Management companies operate hotels for owners that do not have the expertise and/or the desire to self-manage. These companies collect management fees predominately based on revenues earned and/or profits generated. Similar to franchising activities, the key drivers of revenue based management fees are RevPAR and unit growth and similar to ownership activities, profit based fees are driven by improved hotel margins and RevPAR growth.
Similarly to other industries, lodging experiences both positive and negative operating cycles. Positive cycles are characterized as periods of sustained occupancy growth, increasing room rates and hotel development. These cycles usually continue until either the economy sustains a prolonged downturn, excess supply conditions exist or some external factor occurs such as war, terrorism or natural resource shortages. Negative cycles are characterized by hoteliers reducing room rates to stimulate occupancy and a reduction of hotel development. Industry recovery usually begins with an increase in occupancy followed by hoteliers increasing room rates. As demand begins to exceed room supply, occupancies and rates continue to improve. These factors result in increased hotel development.
Hotel room supply growth is cyclical as hotel construction responds to interest rates, construction and material supply conditions, capital availability and industry fundamentals. Historically, the industry has added hotel rooms to its inventory through new construction due largely to favorable lending environments that encouraged hotel development. Typically, hotel development continues during favorable lending environments until the increase in room supply outpaces demand. The excess supply eventually results in lower occupancies, which results in hoteliers reducing room rates to stimulate demand, and reduced hotel development. Over time, the slow growth in hotel supply results in increased occupancy rates and allows hotels to again raise room rates. The increase in occupancy and room rates serves as a catalyst for increased hotel development.

6


The following chart demonstrates these trends over the last fifteen years:
US Lodging Industry Trends: 2002 - 2016
 
Year
 
Occupancy
Rates
 
Average
Daily
Room
Rates
(ADR)
 
Change
in ADR
Versus
Prior
Year
 
Change
in CPI
Versus
Prior
Year
 
Revenue Per
Available
Room
(RevPAR)
 
New
Rooms
Added
(Gross)
2002
 
59.2
%
 

$83.15

 
(2.0
)%
 
1.6
 %
 

$49.22

 
86,366

2003
 
59.1
%
 

$83.19

 
0.1
 %
 
2.3
 %
 

$49.20

 
65,876

2004
 
61.3
%
 

$86.41

 
3.9
 %
 
2.7
 %
 

$52.93

 
55,245

2005
 
63.1
%
 

$90.84

 
5.1
 %
 
3.4
 %
 

$57.34

 
65,900

2006
 
63.4
%
 

$97.31

 
7.1
 %
 
3.2
 %
 

$61.69

 
73,308

2007
 
63.1
%
 

$104.04

 
6.9
 %
 
2.8
 %
 

$65.61

 
94,541

2008
 
60.3
%
 

$106.96

 
2.8
 %
 
3.8
 %
 

$64.49

 
146,312

2009
 
54.5
%
 

$98.17

 
(8.2
)%
 
(0.4
)%
 

$53.50

 
142,287

2010
 
57.5
%
 

$98.06

 
(0.1
)%
 
1.6
 %
 

$56.43

 
73,976

2011
 
59.9
%
 

$101.85

 
3.9
 %
 
3.2
 %
 

$61.02

 
38,409

2012
 
61.3
%
 

$106.25

 
4.3
 %
 
2.1
 %
 

$65.15

 
43,879

2013
 
62.2
%
 

$110.30

 
3.8
 %
 
1.5
 %
 

$68.58

 
54,020

2014
 
64.4
%
 

$114.92

 
4.2
 %
 
0.8
 %
 

$74.04

 
63,346

2015
 
65.4
%
 

$120.30

 
4.7
 %
 
0.7
 %
 

$78.68

 
85,596

2016
 
65.5
%
 

$123.97

 
3.1
 %
 
2.1
 %
 

$81.19

 
100,757


(Source: Smith Travel Research and US Department of Labor)
As a franchisor, we believe we are well positioned in any stage of the lodging cycle as our fee-for-service business model has historically delivered predictable, profitable, long-term growth in a variety of lodging and economic environments. We have historically benefited from both the RevPAR gains typically experienced in the early stages of recovery, as our revenues are based on our franchisees’ gross room revenues, and the supply growth normally occurring in the later stages as we increase our portfolio size.
The Company’s portfolio of brands offers both new construction and conversion opportunities. Our new construction brands typically benefit from periods of supply growth and favorable capital availability and pricing. Our conversion brands also benefit from periods of supply growth as the construction of hotels increases the need for existing hotels to seek new brand affiliations as their product moves through the hotel life cycle. Furthermore, the Company's conversion brands benefit from lodging cycle downturns as our unit growth has been historically driven from the conversion of independent and other hotel chain affiliates into our system as these hotels endeavor to improve their performance.

7


The lodging industry can be divided into chain scale categories or groupings of generally competitive brands as follows:

Chain Scale
 
Brand Examples
 
Room Count
 
% of Total
 
Avg. No. of Rooms Per Hotel
Luxury
 
Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, W Hotel, JW Marriott
 
112,286

 
2.2
%
 
334.2
Upper Upscale
 
Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Sheraton
 
591,054

 
11.6
%
 
353.7
Upscale
 
Cambria hotels & suites, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn
 
706,653

 
13.8
%
 
150.7
Upper Midscale
 
Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn
 
922,503

 
18.0
%
 
97.9
Midscale
 
Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, La Quinta, Baymont
 
475,256

 
9.3
%
 
83.7
Economy
 
Econo Lodge, Super 8, Days Inn, Motel 6
 
782,220

 
15.3
%
 
75.7
Sub-Total Brand Affiliated
 
 
 
3,589,972

 
70.2
%
 
111.8
Independents
 
 
 
1,523,362

 
29.8
%
 
67.8
Total All Hotels
 
 
 
5,113,334

 
100
%
 
93.7
According to Smith Travel Research, the lodging industry consisted of approximately 54,600 hotels representing approximately 5.1 million rooms open and operating in the United States at December 31, 2016. During the year ended December 31, 2016, the industry added approximately 101,000 gross rooms to the industry supply and net room growth was approximately 2.0%. Approximately, 49% of the new rooms opened during the year were positioned in the Upper Midscale, Midscale and Economy chain scale segments in which we primarily operate.
The lodging industry consists of independent operators of hotels and those that have joined national hotel franchise chains. Independent operators of hotels not owned or managed by major lodging companies have increasingly joined national hotel franchise chains as a means of remaining competitive with hotels owned by or affiliated with national lodging companies. Over the years, the industry has seen a significant movement of hotels from independent to chain affiliation, with affiliated hotels increasing from 46% of the rooms in the market in 1990 to 70% of the market in 2016. However, the pace of this increase has moderated over the last several years and in 2016 the percentage of rooms in the market affiliated with a chain increased by approximately 60 basis points from 69.6% to 70.2%.
Due to the fact that a significant portion of the costs of owning and operating a hotel are generally fixed, increases in revenues generated by affiliation with a franchise lodging chain can improve a hotel’s financial performance. The large franchise lodging chains, including us, generally provide a number of support services to hotel operators designed to improve the financial performance of their properties including central reservation and property management systems, marketing and advertising programs, training and education programs, revenue enhancement services and relationships with qualified vendors to streamline purchasing processes and make lower cost products available. We believe that national franchise chains with a large number of hotels enjoy greater brand awareness among potential guests than those with fewer hotels, and that greater brand awareness can increase the desirability of a hotel to its potential guests. Furthermore, we believe that hotel operators choose lodging franchisors based primarily on the perceived value and quality of each franchisor’s brand and its services, and the extent to which affiliation with that franchisor may increase the hotel operator profitability.

Choice’s Franchising Business
Choice operates primarily as a hotel franchisor offering 11 brands. This family of well-known and diversified new construction and conversion brands competes at various hotel consumer and developer price points.
Economics of Franchising Business. The fee and cost structure of our business provides opportunities for us to improve operating results by increasing the number of franchised hotel rooms, improving RevPAR performance and increasing the effective royalty rates of our franchise contracts. As a hotel franchisor, we derive our revenue primarily from various franchise fees. Our franchise fees consist primarily of an initial fee and ongoing royalty, marketing and reservation system fees that are typically based on a percentage of the franchised hotel’s gross room revenues. The initial fee and on-going royalty portion of the franchise fees are intended to cover our operating expenses, such as expenses incurred in business development, quality assurance, administrative support, certain franchise services and to provide us with operating profits. The marketing and reservation system fees are used for the expenses associated with marketing, media, advertising, providing a central reservation system, property management systems, e-commerce initiatives and certain franchise services.

8


Our fee stream depends on the number of rooms in our system, the gross room revenues generated by our franchisees and effective royalty rates under our franchise contracts. We enjoy significant operating leverage since the variable operating costs associated with the franchise system growth of our established brands have historically been less than incremental royalty fees generated from new franchises. We believe that our business is well positioned in the lodging industry since we benefit from both increases in RevPAR and unit growth from new hotel construction or conversion of existing hotel assets into our system. In addition, improving business delivery to our franchisees should allow us to improve the effective royalty rate of our franchise contracts.
Our family of well-known and diversified brand offerings positions us well within the lodging industry. Our Cambria hotel and suites, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel and MainStay Suites are primarily new build brands which offer hotel developers an array of choices at various price points for transient and extended stay business during periods of supply growth. Our Ascend Hotel Collection, Clarion, Quality, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands offer conversion opportunities during both industry contraction and growth cycles to independent operators and non-Choice affiliated hotels who desire to affiliate with our brands and take advantage of the services we have to offer.
Strategy. Our mission is a commitment to franchisee profitability by providing our franchisees with hotel franchises that strive to generate the highest return on investment of any hotel franchise. Our business strategy is to create franchise system growth by leveraging Choice’s large and well-known hotel brands, franchise sales capabilities, effective marketing and reservation delivery efforts, training and education programs, RevPAR enhancing services and technologies and financial strength created by our significant free cash flow. We believe our brands’ growth will be driven by our ability to create a compelling return on investment for franchisees. Our strategic objective is to improve profitability of our franchisees by providing services which increase business delivery, enhance RevPAR, reduce hotel operating and development costs, and/or improve guest satisfaction. Specific elements of our strategy include: building strong brands, delivering exceptional services, reaching more consumers and leveraging our size, scale and distribution to reduce costs for hotel owners. We believe that by focusing on these elements we can increase the gross room revenues generated by our franchisees by increasing the business delivered to existing franchisees and expanding our market share of franchised hotels in the chain scale segments in which we operate or seek to operate. Improving the desirability of our brands should also allow us to continue to improve the effective royalty rate of our contracts.
Building Strong Brands. Each of our brands has particular attributes and strengths, including awareness with both consumers and developers. Our strategy is to utilize the strengths of each brand for room growth, RevPAR gains and royalty rate improvement that create revenue growth. We believe brand consistency, brand quality and guest satisfaction are critical in improving brand performance and building strong brands.
We have multiple brands that are positioned to meet the needs of many types of guests. These brands can be developed at various price points and are suitable for both new construction properties and existing hotels. This flexibility ensures that we have brands suitable for creating room growth in various types of markets, with various types of customers, and during both industry contraction and growth cycles. During times of lower industry supply growth and tighter capital markets, we can target conversions of existing non-Choice affiliated hotels seeking the awareness and proven performance provided by our brands. During periods of strong industry supply growth, we expect a greater portion of our room growth to come from our new construction brands. We believe that a large number of markets can still support our hotel brands and that the growth potential for our brands remains strong.
We strive to maintain the strength of our brands by enhancing product consistency and quality. We attempt to achieve consistency and quality for new entrants into the franchise system by placing prospective hotels in the appropriate brand based on the physical characteristics, performance and amenities of the hotel and by requiring property improvement plans, when necessary, to ensure the new hotel meets the quality standards of the brand. Furthermore, we may require hotels currently in our franchise system to execute property improvement plans at specified contractual windows to ensure that they continue to maintain the product consistency and quality standards of the brand.
We believe each of our brands appeals to targeted hotel owners and guests because of unique brand standards, marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, reservation delivery, revenue enhancing programs, service levels and pricing.
Delivering Exceptional Services. We provide a combination of services and technology based offerings to help our franchisees improve performance. We have field services staff members located nationwide that help franchisees improve RevPAR performance and guest satisfaction. In addition, we provide our franchisees with education and training programs as well as revenue management technology and services designed to improve property level performance. These services and products promote revenue gains for franchisees and improve guest satisfaction which translate into both higher royalties for the Company and improved returns for owners, leading to further room growth by making our brands even more attractive to

9


prospective franchisees. We develop our services based on customer needs and focus on activities that generate high return on investment for our franchisees.
Reaching More Consumers. We believe hotel owners value and benefit from the large volume of guests we deliver through a mix of activities including brand marketing, reservation systems, account sales (corporate, government, social, military, educational and fraternal organizations), and the Company’s loyalty program, Choice Privileges®. Our strategy is to maximize the effectiveness of these activities in delivering both leisure and business travelers to Choice-branded hotels.
The Company intends to continue to increase awareness of its brands through its national marketing campaigns and its Choice Privileges loyalty program promotions. These campaigns are intended to generate a compelling message to consumers to create even greater awareness for our brands with the ultimate goal of driving business through our central reservation system. Local and regional co-op marketing campaigns will continue to be utilized to leverage the national marketing programs to drive business to our franchised properties at a local level. We expect our efforts at marketing directly to individual guests and corporate customers will continue to be enhanced through the use of our customer relationship management technology and programs; as well as, our field based sales agents that are focused on increasing our share of business travelers. Our continued focus on overall brand quality coupled with our marketing initiatives is designed to stimulate room demand for our franchised hotels through improved guest awareness and satisfaction.
Our central reservations system is a critical technology used to deliver guests to our franchisees through multiple channels, including our call centers, proprietary web and mobile sites, global distribution systems (e.g., SABRE and Amadeus), on-line travel agents ("OTAs") (e.g. Expedia and Bookings.com) and internet referral or booking services (e.g., Kayak and Trip Advisor). We believe our well-known brands, combined with our relationships with many internet distribution web sites benefits our franchisees, by facilitating increased rate and reservations delivery, and reducing costs and operational complexity.
Leveraging Size, Scale and Distribution. We continually focus on identifying methods for utilizing the significant number of hotels in our system to reduce costs and increase returns for our franchisees. For example, we create relationships with qualified vendors to: (i) make low-cost products available to our franchisees; (ii) streamline the purchasing process; and (iii) maintain brand standards and consistency. We plan to expand these relationships and identify new methods for decreasing hotel-operating costs by increasing penetration within our existing franchise system and enhancing our existing vendor relationships and/or creating new vendor relationships. We believe our efforts to leverage the Company’s size, scale and distribution benefit the Company by enhancing brand quality and consistency, improving our franchisees returns and satisfaction, and creating procurement services revenues.

Domestic Franchise System
Our standard domestic franchise agreements grant franchisees the non-exclusive right to use certain of our trademarks and receive other benefits of our franchise system to facilitate the operation of their franchised hotel at a specified location. The majority of our standard domestic franchise agreements are 10 to 20 years in duration with certain rights for each of the franchisor and franchisee to terminate their franchise agreement, such as upon designated anniversaries of the agreement, before the 20th (or 10th, as applicable) year. Our franchisees operate domestically under one of eleven Choice brand names: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Cambria hotels and suites, Quality, Clarion, Ascend Hotel Collection, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay Hotel.

10


The following table presents key statistics related to our domestic franchise system over the five years ended December 31, 2016.
COMBINED DOMESTIC FRANCHISE SYSTEM
 
 
As of and For the Year Ended December 31,
 
2012
 
2013
 
2014
 
2015
 
2016
Number of properties, end of period
5,083

 
5,180

 
5,221

 
5,276

 
5,362

Number of rooms, end of period
396,102

 
400,585

 
398,661

 
400,372

 
404,498

Royalty fees ($000)
$
236,336

 
$
242,887

 
$
262,675

 
$
281,100

 
$
300,383

Average royalty rate(1)
4.33
%
 
4.33
%
 
4.28
%
 
4.30
%
 
4.41
%
Average occupancy percentage(1)
55.6
%
 
56.4
%
 
59.5
%
 
61.1
%
 
61.7
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)(1)
$
73.69

 
$
74.76

 
$
77.03

 
$
79.86

 
$
82.64

Revenue per available room (RevPAR)(1),(2)
$
40.94

 
$
42.20

 
$
45.80

 
$
48.78

 
$
51.00

____________________________
(1)
2012 through 2015 amounts exclude operating statistics from Cambria hotel and suites properties open during these periods as the operating statistics are not representative of a stabilized brand which the Company defines as having at least 25 units open and operating for a twelve month period.
(2)
The Company calculates RevPAR based on information as reported to the Company by its franchisees.
Currently, no individual domestic franchisee accounts for more than 1% of the Company's total revenues.

Industry Positioning
Our brands offer consumers and developers a wide range of options, including economy hotels, mid-scale, upper mid-scale and lower upscale properties. Our brands are as follows:
Cambria hotels and suites: Cambria hotels and suites is predominantly a new construction select service hotel chain that operates in the upscale lodging category, targeting primary market locations. The brand has recently expanded to target growth through conversions and adaptive reuse projects in markets where new construction has an extremely high barrier to entry.  For medium frequency business travelers who seek an upscale, yet reasonably priced hotel experience, Cambria treats every guest as a high value guest by offering options for guests to personalize their stay, and unexpected service delighters through "approachable indulgences" throughout their travel journey. The brand is designed to provide guests with the freedom to explore and unveil the potential to create new memories. The environment is intended to match guests' casual lifestyle but tailored to their business traveler needs. Public spaces are designed with options that invite guests to hang out and connect, including a restaurant and bar, which focuses on simple, yet interesting food and craft beers. Cambria offers guest rooms that “feel like an upgrade.” In-room amenities include pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV(s), mini-refrigerators and microwaves. Principal competitor brands include Courtyard by Marriott, Aloft, Hotel Indigo and Hilton Garden Inn. The Cambria hotels and suites brand was launched in January 2005 and the first properties opened during 2007.
Ascend Hotel Collection: Ascend Hotel Collection is an innovative membership program that is not positioned as a traditional franchise concept. Ascend includes individual hotels that are historic, boutique and/or unique and desire to retain their independent brand identity but have access to Choice’s marketing and distribution channels. Ascend Hotel Collection offers the best of both worlds: independence backed up by a powerful global distribution network. Principal competitors include Sterling Hotels, Summit Hotel & Resorts, Small Luxury Hotels and Historic Hotels of America. The Ascend membership was launched in October 2008.
Comfort Inn: Comfort Inn and Comfort Inn and Suites hotels are primarily upper mid-scale limited service hotels that offer a warm and welcoming guest experience designed to help travelers feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. One of the original brands in the limited service category, Comfort Inn has built a reputation for consistent high-value accommodations for both business and leisure travelers. Comfort Inn hotels offer complimentary hot breakfast with hearty and healthy options, a swimming pool and/or fitness center, and free high-speed internet access. Comfort Inn has joined Comfort Suites in going 100% smoke-free, making Comfort the largest smoke-free hotel brand in the United States and Canada. Principal competitor brands include Holiday Inn Express and Country Inn & Suites.
Comfort Suites: An extension of the Comfort Inn brand, Comfort Suites hotels deliver all the extras to help guests feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. All hotels are 100% smoke-free with oversized suites featuring separate areas for working and relaxing to meet the demands of today’s business traveler. In addition, each suite has a sleeper sofa, refrigerator and microwave. Comfort Suites hotels offer a complimentary hot breakfast with healthy and hearty options, fitness center and

11


swimming pool, business center, marketplace and free high-speed internet access. The brand competes with Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, and Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Sleep Inn: Sleep Inn is a new construction brand that operates in the moderate tier of the mid-scale lodging category, offering developers a lower cost to build with competitive mid-scale average daily rates. Sleep Inn delivers a simply stylish, contemporary guest experience, providing both business and leisure travelers with free high-speed internet access, a complimentary Morning Medley hot breakfast, and an exercise room and/or pool. Sleep Inn’s competitors include Microtel and La Quinta.
Clarion: Clarion helps owners of existing mid-scale assets with food and beverage capabilities achieve strong returns with reasonable investment. Clarion allows a more focused and efficient food and beverage operational model that works well with a variety of conversion property configurations.  Clarion helps business and leisure guests "get together" by providing meeting/banquet facilities with catering, hot breakfast, a simplified menu of basic evening meals and lounge with at least beer and/or wine selections. Amenities include free high-speed internet access, a pool or fitness center, and a business center.  Principal competitor brands include Four Points by Sheraton and Radisson.
Quality: Quality helps both guests and owners "get your money's worth" in the mid-scale category.  Quality hotels provide clean, comfortable, and affordable accommodations, as well as the "Value Qs:"  Q Bed, Q Breakfast, Q Shower, Q Service, and the Q Essentials including free high-speed internet access, coffee, local phone calls, and a daily newspaper. Principal competitor brands include Best Western and Ramada.
MainStay Suites: MainStay Suites competes in the mid-scale extended stay category. Complete with a "feels like home guest experience" and value-added amenities, the MainStay brand is designed as a more practical lodging option for guests whose stays are longer than a few nights. Typically, longer hotel stays involve relocation, training, or temporary job assignments. MainStay guest rooms feature free high-speed internet access, fully equipped kitchens with a two-burner range, dishes, utensils, dishwasher, sink with disposal, microwave, and full size refrigerator. All suites include a sleeper sofa, comfortable work area with ergonomic chair and large walk-in closets. MainStay Suites' principal competitors include TownePlace Suites and Candlewood Suites.
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel: Suburban Extended Stay Hotel suites are built with today’s value-conscious extended stay guest in mind. All suites provide well-equipped kitchens, internet connections, and access to on-site laundry facilities. Suburban’s “just what you need” philosophy matches attractive weekly pricing with weekly housekeeping to provide extended stay guests with the all-suite accommodations they want without the cost of services they do not need. All hotels offer complimentary high-speed internet access. Principal competitors include Extended Stay America, InTown Suites, Studio 6 and WoodSpring Suites.
Econo Lodge: Econo Lodge is the premier brand in the economy hotel category that is an easy stop on the road for value-oriented travelers. Free high speed internet, a premium movie channel and complimentary continental breakfast are just some of the amenities that position Econo Lodge as a great value in the economy category. The brand competes primarily with Days Inn, Super 8 and Red Roof Inn.
Rodeway Inn: Rodeway Inn is a brand that also serves the economy segment and offers sensible lodging for travelers on a budget. Rodeway offers a welcoming environment at an affordable rate. With free coffee to get guests started in the morning, free high-speed internet and a free premium movie channel, Rodeway is a great option for practical travelers. Principal competitor brands include Americas Best Value Inn and Motel 6.
The following table presents key statistics related to the domestic system for our brands over the five years ended December 31, 2016: 

 
As of and For the Year Ended December 31,
 
2012
 
2013
 
2014
 
2015
 
2016
COMFORT INN DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
1,349

 
1,302

 
1,240

 
1,156

 
1,113

Number of rooms, end of period
105,471

 
101,673

 
95,862

 
89,545

 
86,310

Royalty fees ($000)
$
90,360

 
$
88,774

 
$
93,630

 
$
96,546

 
$
96,497

Average occupancy percentage
59.5
%
 
60.1
%
 
63.3
%
 
65.0
%
 
65.6
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
81.70

 
$
83.27

 
$
86.08

 
$
89.68

 
$
92.56

RevPAR
$
48.60

 
$
50.05

 
$
54.50

 
$
58.25

 
$
60.70


12


COMFORT SUITES DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
597

 
589

 
577

 
569

 
565

Number of rooms, end of period
46,045

 
45,451

 
44,632

 
43,949

 
43,610

Royalty fees ($000)
$
44,835

 
$
44,717

 
$
48,278

 
$
51,114

 
$
53,057

Average occupancy percentage
61.9
%
 
62.9
%
 
66.5
%
 
68.3
%
 
69.3
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
85.58

 
$
86.99

 
$
90.24

 
$
93.89

 
$
96.32

RevPAR
$
52.96

 
$
54.75

 
$
60.01

 
$
64.16

 
$
66.74

QUALITY DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
1,152

 
1,223

 
1,284

 
1,379

 
1,447

Number of rooms, end of period
98,078

 
101,143

 
104,454

 
110,116

 
114,582

Royalty fees ($000)
$
42,409

 
$
47,471

 
$
52,589

 
$
59,554

 
$
69,799

Average occupancy percentage
51.6
%
 
53.1
%
 
56.1
%
 
58.2
%
 
59.1
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
69.45

 
$
70.22

 
$
71.98

 
$
75.06

 
$
77.80

RevPAR
$
35.86

 
$
37.27

 
$
40.39

 
$
43.69

 
$
45.99

CLARION DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
191

 
190

 
178

 
175

 
167

Number of rooms, end of period
27,441

 
27,501

 
25,049

 
24,449

 
22,941

Royalty fees ($000)
$
10,369

 
$
10,953

 
$
11,480

 
$
11,479

 
$
12,137

Average occupancy percentage
49.6
%
 
51.2
%
 
54.5
%
 
57.2
%
 
58.3
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
74.99

 
$
75.15

 
$
77.65

 
$
79.85

 
$
82.35

RevPAR
$
37.18

 
$
38.46

 
$
42.34

 
$
45.63

 
$
48.01

SLEEP INN DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
387

 
382

 
371

 
377

 
379

Number of rooms, end of period
28,087

 
27,623

 
26,811

 
27,047

 
27,097

Royalty fees ($000)
$
17,202

 
$
17,447

 
$
18,914

 
$
20,226

 
$
21,925

Average occupancy percentage
56.6
%
 
58.7
%
 
62.5
%
 
63.9
%
 
65.1
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
72.54

 
$
74.39

 
$
77.13

 
$
80.41

 
$
82.08

RevPAR
$
41.03

 
$
43.66

 
$
48.24

 
$
51.41

 
$
53.47

MAINSTAY SUITES DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
41

 
43

 
45

 
52

 
56

Number of rooms, end of period
3,165

 
3,331

 
3,568

 
3,846

 
4,108

Royalty fees ($000)
$
2,218

 
$
2,259

 
$
2,608

 
$
2,693

 
$
2,909

Average occupancy percentage
70.1
%
 
68.1
%
 
71.4
%
 
67.1
%
 
65.2
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
69.73

 
$
72.44

 
$
74.82

 
$
77.02

 
$
76.29

RevPAR
$
48.84

 
$
49.36

 
$
53.40

 
$
51.71

 
$
49.70

ECONO LODGE DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
817

 
830

 
856

 
856

 
857

Number of rooms, end of period
49,951

 
50,694

 
52,878

 
52,978

 
52,791

Royalty fees ($000)
$
16,539

 
$
17,189

 
$
18,896

 
$
20,784

 
$
22,598

Average occupancy percentage
48.5
%
 
48.8
%
 
51.6
%
 
53.5
%
 
54.1
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
55.89

 
$
56.51

 
$
57.85

 
$
59.61

 
$
61.41

RevPAR
$
27.11

 
$
27.55

 
$
29.86

 
$
31.90

 
$
33.22

RODEWAY INN DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
410

 
438

 
474

 
513

 
565

Number of rooms, end of period
23,370

 
24,677

 
26,172

 
28,880

 
32,515

Royalty fees ($000)
$
5,129

 
$
5,357

 
$
5,532

 
$
6,006

 
$
7,010

Average occupancy percentage
50.7
%
 
51.9
%
 
55.1
%
 
56.3
%
 
55.7
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
53.41

 
$
54.28

 
$
56.68

 
$
59.75

 
$
63.04

RevPAR
$
27.08

 
$
28.14

 
$
31.25

 
$
33.64

 
$
35.08


13


SUBURBAN EXTENDED STAY HOTEL DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
63

 
63

 
65

 
62

 
59

Number of rooms, end of period
7,291

 
7,167

 
7,198

 
6,994

 
6,561

Royalty fees ($000)
$
2,709

 
$
2,832

 
$
3,111

 
$
3,395

 
$
3,511

Average occupancy percentage
69.9
%
 
70.2
%
 
71.8
%
 
75.5
%
 
75.5
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
41.71

 
$
42.67

 
$
45.25

 
$
47.61

 
$
49.96

RevPAR
$
29.14

 
$
29.96

 
$
32.51

 
$
35.95

 
$
37.72

CAMBRIA DOMESTIC SYSTEM (1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
19

 
18

 
22

 
25

 
27

Number of rooms, end of period
2,221

 
2,119

 
2,642

 
3,113

 
3,503

Royalty fees ($000)
$
2,102

 
$
2,147

 
$
2,687

 
$
3,745

 
$
4,955

Average occupancy percentage(1)
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
76.3
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)(1)
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
$
131.73

RevPAR(1)
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
$
100.46

ASCEND HOTEL COLLECTION DOMESTIC SYSTEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of properties, end of period
57

 
102

 
109

 
112

 
127

Number of rooms, end of period
4,982

 
9,206

 
9,395

 
9,455

 
10,480

Royalty fees ($000)
$
2,464

 
$
3,741

 
$
4,950

 
$
5,558

 
$
5,985

Average occupancy percentage
64.8
%
 
64.0
%
 
60.3
%
 
58.5
%
 
58.1
%
Average daily room rate (ADR)
$
113.83

 
$
119.76

 
$
121.49

 
$
127.27

 
$
129.97

RevPAR
$
73.78

 
$
76.60

 
$
73.20

 
$
74.47

 
$
75.52

 ____________________________
(1)
Statistics for average occupancy percentage, ADR and RevPAR exclude years in which the Cambria brand did not have 25 units open and operating for a twelve month period.


International Franchise Operations
The Company conducts its international franchise operations through a combination of direct franchising and master franchising relationships. Master franchising relationships are governed by master franchising agreements that generally provide the master franchisee with the right to use and sub-license the use of our brands in a specific geographic region, usually for a fee.
Our business philosophy has been to conduct direct franchising in those international markets where both franchising is an accepted business model and we believe our brands can achieve significant distribution. We typically elect to enter into master franchise agreements in those markets where direct franchising is currently not a prevalent or viable business model. When entering into master franchising relationships, we strive to select partners that have professional hotel and asset management capabilities together with the financial capacity to invest in building the Choice brands in their respective markets. Master franchising relationships typically provide lower revenues to the Company as the master franchisees are responsible for managing certain necessary services (such as training, quality assurance, reservations and marketing) to support the franchised hotels in the master franchise area and therefore retain a larger percentage of the hotel franchise fees to cover their expenses. In certain circumstances, the Company has and may continue to make equity investments in our master franchisees.
In some territories outside the United States hotel franchising is less prevalent, and many markets are served primarily by independent operators. We believe that chain and franchise affiliation will increase in certain international markets as local economies grow and hotel owners seek the economies of centralized reservations systems and marketing programs. We believe that international franchise operations will provide a significant long-term growth opportunity for the Company and as a result we have embarked on a multi-year investment in information technology and marketing which is expected to enhance the value proposition for prospective international franchisees.

14


As of December 31, 2016, we had 1,152 franchise hotels open and operating in over 35 countries and territories outside of the United States. The following chart summarizes our franchise system outside of the United States.

COMBINED INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISE SYSTEM(1) 
 
 
As of and For the Year Ended December 31,
 
2012
 
2013
 
2014
 
2015
 
2016
Number of properties, end of period
1,160

 
1,160

 
1,158

 
1,147

 
1,152

Number of rooms, end of period
103,151

 
105,473

 
106,617

 
107,111

 
111,624

Royalty fees ($000)
$
25,131

 
$
24,721

 
$
24,515

 
$
20,166

 
$
19,887

____________________________
(1)
Reporting of operating statistics (e.g., average occupancy percentage and average daily room rate) of international franchisees is not required by all master franchise contracts, thus these statistics and RevPAR are not presented for international franchisees.

Scandinavia. We conduct our operations in Scandinavia through a master franchise relationship with Nordic Choice Commercial Services A/S ("NCH"), formerly known as Choice Hotels Scandinavia. As of December 31, 2016, NCH had 185 open properties in its development territory, which includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden on an exclusive basis and Latvia, Lithuania and Finland on a non-exclusive basis. The Company’s master franchise agreement with NCH grants rights to the Comfort, Quality, Sleep and Clarion brand and expires in 2023. Through a separate agreement signed in 2010, NCH also possesses the right to franchise Ascend Hotel Collection hotels in its territory. This agreement also expires in 2023.
Japan. The Company conducts its operations in Japan through a master franchise relationship with Choice Hotels Japan Co. Ltd ("CHJ"). CHJ possesses exclusive rights to develop the Comfort and Quality brands and non-exclusive rights to the Sleep and Clarion brands. The Company’s master franchise agreement with CHJ expires in December 2023. As of December 31, 2016, CHJ had 51 open properties.
Continental Europe. The Company conducts franchising operations in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, and portions of Switzerland through Choice Hotels Licensing B.V. ("Choice BV"), a wholly-owned subsidiary, and in France, Portugal, Belgium and the French speaking Cantons of Switzerland through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Choice BV, Choice Hotels France SAS. At December 31, 2016, the Company's subsidiaries had 182 properties open and operating in continental Europe.
Ireland. In March 2016, the Company entered into a master franchising agreement with Luckwell Limited for the exclusive right to develop our Clarion, Quality and Comfort brands in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The agreement also provides Luckwell Limited with limited rights to franchise Ascend Hotel Collection hotels in the territory. The master franchise agreement with Luckwell Limited expires in 2027. As of December 31, 2016, Luckwell Limited had 6 properties open and operating in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
United Kingdom. The Company conducts direct franchising operations in the United Kingdom through Choice BV. At December 31, 2016, the Company’s subsidiary had 30 properties open and operating in the United Kingdom.
Canada. We conduct our operations in Canada for all of our brands except Cambria hotel and suites, MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay Hotel through Choice Hotels Canada Inc. ("CHC") a joint venture owned 50% by us and 50% by InnVest Management Holdings Ltd. CHC is one of the largest lodging organizations in Canada with 322 of our franchised properties open and operating as of December 31, 2016. The Company conducts direct franchising operations for its extended stay and Cambria hotel and suites brands in Canada through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Choice Hotels International Licensing ULC, and had 5 properties open and operating at December 31, 2016.
India. The Company conducts direct franchising operations in India through wholly-owned subsidiaries for the Comfort, Quality, Sleep and Clarion brands. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had 23 franchised properties open and operating.
Australasia. The Company conducts direct franchising operations in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Choice Hotels Asia-Pac Pty. Ltd. ("CHAP"). As of December 31, 2016, CHAP had 228 franchised properties open and operating in Australasia.
Mexico. The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Choice Hotels Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. ("CHM") conducts direct franchising operations in Mexico on behalf of Choice BV, which acts as the franchisor in Mexico. CHM is focused on

15


establishing Clarion, Quality, Sleep and Comfort brands through conversion of hotels in Mexico. At December 31, 2016, the Company’s subsidiary had 30 properties open and operating.
South America. We conduct our operations in Brazil and certain other South American territories through a non-exclusive master franchise relationship with Atlantica Holdings International, Ltd. ("Atlantica"). As of December 31, 2016, Atlantica had 67 open properties in its development territory. The Company’s master franchise agreement with Atlantica grants rights to the Comfort, Quality, Sleep and Clarion brands, which rights are exclusive in Brazil and non-exclusive in Atlantica's remaining territory. The agreement was executed in 2001 and is currently scheduled to expire in December 2024.
Central America. We conduct our operations in certain Central American territories through an exclusive master franchise relationship with Real Hotels and Resorts, Inc. ("Real"). As of December 31, 2016, Real had 14 open properties in its development territory which consists of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Panama. The Company’s master franchise agreement with Real grants rights to the Comfort, Quality, Sleep and Clarion brands. The agreement was executed in 1994 and is currently scheduled to expire in May of 2034, with certain rights by both parties to terminate the contract early. Through a separate agreement signed in 2011, we have also granted Real limited non-exclusive rights to franchise Ascend Hotel Collection hotels in Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.
Other International Relationships. We also have non-exclusive master development and area representative arrangements in place with local hotel management and franchising companies doing business in China. At December 31, 2016, three properties were open and operating in China. In addition, the Company through Choice BV, has direct franchise relationships with properties in Malaysia and Turkey. At December 31, 2016, one property was open and operating in Malaysia and five properties were open and operating in Turkey.


16


The following table summarizes Choice’s international franchise system as of December 31, 2016:
 
 
Comfort
 
Comfort
Suites
 
Quality
 
Clarion
 
Sleep
 
Ascend
 
Mainstay
 
Suburban
 
Econo
Lodge
 
Rodeway
 
Total
Australia
100

 

 
64

 
6

 

 
8

 

 

 
22

 

 
200

Austria
3

 

 
3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
6

Belgium

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 
2

 
3

 

 

 
5

Czech Republic

 

 

 
9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
9

France
67

 
9

 
25

 
4

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
106

Germany
19

 

 
15

 
2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
36

Hungary
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

India
10

 

 
10

 
3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
23

Italy
4

 

 
8

 
3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
15

Malaysia

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Mexico
15

 

 
10

 

 
5

 

 

 

 

 

 
30

New Zealand
8

 

 
14

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
4

 

 
27

Portugal
3

 

 
2

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
6

Singapore

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Switzerland
2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
2

Turkey

 

 

 
4

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
5

United Kingdom
14

 

 
9

 
5

 

 
2

 

 

 

 

 
30

Direct Franchise Agreements
246

 
9

 
163

 
38

 
5

 
12

 
2

 
3

 
26

 

 
504

Brazil
24

 
8

 
29

 
3

 
3

 

 

 

 

 

 
67

Canada*
146

 
5

 
90

 
8

 
3

 
13

 

 

 
53

 
4

 
322

China
1

 
1

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
3

Costa Rica

 

 
1

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 
2

Denmark
1

 

 
2

 

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
4

Dominican Republic

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Ecuador

 

 

 

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
1

El Salvador
2

 

 
1

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
4

Finland

 

 

 
2

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 
3

Guatemala

 

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Honduras

 

 

 
4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
4

Ireland

 

 
2

 
2

 

 
2

 

 

 

 

 
6

Japan
51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
51

Latvia

 

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Lithuania
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Norway
18

 

 
33

 
34

 

 
8

 

 

 

 

 
93

Panama

 

 

 
1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1

Sweden
11

 

 
25

 
39

 

 
8

 

 

 

 

 
83

Master Franchise Agreements
255

 
14

 
185

 
96

 
7

 
34

 

 

 
53

 
4

 
648

Total Number of Properties
501

 
23

 
348

 
134

 
12

 
46

 
2

 
3

 
79

 
4

 
1,152

____________________________
*
The Company has a 50% equity investment in this master franchisor.

17


 The following table presents key worldwide system size statistics as of and for the year ended December 31, 2016:
 
 
Open and Operational
 
Approved
for Development
 
Units
 
Hotels    
 
Rooms
 
Hotels
 
Rooms
 
Additions
 
Repositionings
 
Terminations
Comfort
1,614

 
127,820

 
155

 
12,678

 
77

 
(45
)
 
(83
)
Comfort Suites
588

 
46,427

 
117

 
9,779

 
10

 
(6
)
 
(8
)
Quality
1,795

 
151,708

 
71

 
5,712

 
114

 
30

 
(69
)
Ascend Hotel Collection
173

 
15,652

 
61

 
6,180

 
28

 
13

 
(14
)
Clarion
301

 
42,330

 
24

 
2,832

 
16

 
(1
)
 
(27
)
Sleep Inn
391

 
28,368

 
114

 
6,400

 
11

 
(1
)
 
(8
)
MainStay Suites
58

 
4,309

 
76

 
3,403

 
5

 

 
(1
)
Econo Lodge
936

 
56,389

 
38

 
2,426

 
45

 
2

 
(49
)
Rodeway Inn
569

 
32,740

 
38

 
2,256

 
81

 
8

 
(37
)
Suburban
62

 
6,876

 
11

 
842

 
4

 

 
(6
)
Cambria
27

 
3,503

 
70

 
10,039

 
2

 

 

Totals
6,514

 
516,122

 
775

 
62,547

 
393

 

 
(302
)

Franchise Sales
Brand growth is important to our business model. We have identified key market areas for hotel development based on supply/demand relationships and our strategic objectives. Development opportunities are typically offered to: (i) existing franchisees; (ii) developers of hotels; (iii) owners of independent hotels and motels; (iv) owners of hotels leaving other franchisors’ brands; and, (v) franchisees of non-hotel related products such as restaurants.
Our franchise sales organization is structured to support the Company’s efforts to leverage its core strengths in order to take advantage of opportunities for further growth. The franchise sales organization employs both sales managers as well as franchise sales directors. This organization emphasizes the benefits of affiliating with the Choice system, our commitment to improving hotel profitability, our central reservation delivery services, our marketing and customer loyalty programs, our revenue management services, our training and support systems (including our proprietary property management systems) and our Company’s track record of growth and profitability to potential franchisees. Franchise sales directors are assigned to specific brands to leverage their brand expertise to enhance product consistency and deal flow. Our sales managers ensure each prospective hotel is placed in the appropriate brand, facilitate teamwork and information sharing amongst the sales directors and provide better service to our potential franchisees. The structure of this organization supports the Company’s efforts to leverage its core strengths in order to take advantage of opportunities for further growth. Integrating our brands and strategies allow our brand teams to focus on understanding, anticipating and meeting the unique needs of our customers.
Our objective is to continue to grow our portfolio by continuing to sell our existing brands, creating extensions of our existing brands and introducing new brands, either organically or via acquisition, within the various lodging chain categories. Based on market conditions and other circumstances, we may offer certain incentives to developers to increase development of our brands such as discounting various fees such as the initial franchise fee, royalty rates and marketing and reservation system rates as well as provide financing for property improvements and other purposes.
Because retention of existing franchisees is important to our growth strategy, we have a formal impact policy. For most of our brands, this policy offers existing franchisees protection from the opening of a same-brand property within a specified distance, depending upon the market in which the property is located.
Investment, Financing and Guaranty Franchisee Support
Our board of directors authorized a program which permits us to offer financing, investment, and guaranty support to qualified franchisees as well as allows us to acquire and resell real estate to incent franchise development for certain brands in strategic markets. We expect to deploy capital pursuant to this program opportunistically to promote growth of our emerging brands. The amount and timing of the investment in this program will be dependent on market and other conditions and we generally expect to recycle these investments within a five year period.

18


Franchise Agreements
Our standard domestic franchise agreements grant franchisees the non-exclusive right to use certain of our trademarks and receive other benefits of our franchise system to facilitate the operation of their franchised hotel at a specified location. Our standard domestic franchise agreements generally have terms ranging between 10 and 30 years. Generally, either party to our standard domestic franchise agreement can terminate the agreement prior to the conclusion of the agreement’s term under certain circumstances, such as upon designated anniversaries of the agreement, subject to applicable law. Early termination options give us flexibility in eliminating or re-branding properties for reasons other than contractual failure by the franchisee. This allows us the opportunity to strengthen our brand portfolio in various markets by replacing weaker performing hotels. We also have the right to terminate a franchise agreement if a franchisee fails to bring the property into compliance with contractual or quality standards within specified periods of time. The franchise agreements also typically contain liquidated damages provisions which represent a fair measure of damages that our franchisee and we agree should be paid to us upon an early termination of the franchise agreement.
When the responsibility for development is transferred to an international master franchisee, that party has the responsibility to develop and grow our brands in the master franchise area. Additionally, the master franchisee generally must manage the delivery of certain necessary services (such as quality assurance, reservations and marketing) to support the franchised hotels in the master franchise area. The master franchisee collects the fees paid by the local franchisee and remits an agreed upon share to us. Master franchise agreements generally have a term of at least 10 years. We have only entered into master franchise agreements with respect to franchised hotels outside the United States.
Franchise agreements are individually negotiated and vary among the different Choice brands and franchises, but we believe generally are competitive with the industry standard within their market group. Franchise fees usually have three primary components: an initial, one-time affiliation fee; a royalty fee; and a marketing and reservation system fee.
Our standard franchise fees are as follows:
QUOTED FEES BY BRAND AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2016
 
Brand
Initial Fee Per
Room/Minimum
 
Royalty Fees (3)
 
Marketing and Reservation System
Fees (3)
Cambria hotel & suites
$500/$60,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
4.00
%
Comfort Inn
$500/$50,000
 
 
6.00
%
 
3.50
%
Comfort Suites
$500/$50,000
 
 
6.00
%
 
3.50
%
Quality Inn
$300/$35,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
3.50
%
Ascend Hotel Collection
$375/$30,000
 
 
4.00
%
 
2.50
%
Clarion
$300/$40,000
 
 
4.50
%
 
3.00
%
Sleep Inn
$300/$40,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
3.50
%
MainStay Suites
$300/$30,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
2.50
%
Econo Lodge
$250/$25,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
3.00
%
Rodeway Inn
$125/$15,000
 
 
(1
)
 
(2
)
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
$225/$30,000
 
 
5.00
%
 
2.50
%
____________________________
(1)
Royalty rate is $46.00 per room per month or 4% of gross room revenue.
(2)
Marketing and reservation system fees are 7% of gross room revenue delivered through the Company's Central Reservations System or 2.5% of gross room revenue.
(3)
Fees are based on a percentage of gross room revenue
As previously noted, the Company’s franchise agreements are individually negotiated and therefore actual fees may differ from those noted above. From time to time, the Company may discount the standard royalty fees and/or marketing and reservation system fees in the initial years of the agreement as a franchisee acquisition strategy. Typically, these discounts expire as the contract matures until the contractual fees reach the standard franchise fees in effect at the time the agreement was executed.




19


Franchise Operations
Our operations are designed to help our franchisees improve RevPAR and lower their operating and development costs, as these are the measures of performance that most directly impact franchisee profitability. Our focus is to not only increase the number of reservations delivered to our franchisees but also to increase the percentage of guest reservations processed through our proprietary channels. We believe that our proprietary channels, which include our loyalty program, propriety internet sites (including mobile and tablet applications), global sales programs and interfaces with global distribution systems, deliver guests to our hotels at the lowest cost and the highest average daily rates. We believe that by helping our franchisees become more profitable we will enhance our ability to both retain our existing franchisees, attract new franchisees, and improve the pricing of our franchise agreements. The key aspects of our franchise operations are:
Brand Name Marketing and Advertising. Our hotels are typically located in areas conveniently accessible to business and leisure travelers and therefore a significant portion of our hotel room nights are sold to guests who either walk-in or contact the hotel directly. As a result, we believe that brand name recognition and the strength of the brand reputation are important factors in influencing business and leisure traveler hotel accommodation choices.
Our marketing and advertising programs are designed to heighten consumer awareness and preference for our brands as offering the greatest value and convenience in the lodging categories in which we compete. Marketing and advertising efforts include national television, internet and radio advertising, on-line advertising, social media/digital advertising, print advertising in consumer and trade media and promotional events, including joint marketing promotions with qualified vendors and corporate partners. We also actively seek to maximize our presence on the internet by purchasing key search related terms from the various search engine providers to ensure that our hotels are prominently displayed to all potential guests.
We conduct numerous marketing and sales programs and deploy field based sales agents which target specific groups, including business travelers, senior citizens, automobile club members, families, government and military employees, educational organizations and meeting planners. Other marketing efforts include domestic and international trade show programs, publication of group and tour rate directories, direct-mail programs, electronic direct marketing e-mail programs, centralized commissions for travel agents, fly-drive programs in conjunction with major airlines, and the publication of electronic travel and vacation directories.
We operate a loyalty program, Choice Privileges, for all of the Choice brands to attract and retain travelers by rewarding stays with points towards free hotel nights and other rewards. Choice Privileges participants can earn points redeemable for free nights in Choice brand properties. The Company also offers guests the ability to earn airline miles for qualifying stays redeemable for flights with various airline partners as well as redeem points for gift certificates at participating retailers. These programs allow us to conduct lower cost, more targeted marketing campaigns to our consumers, deliver incremental business to our franchised hotels and are an important selling point for our franchise sales personnel. Choice Privileges members contribute over a third of the Company’s domestic gross room revenues and the program had approximately 29.5 million members worldwide as of December 31, 2016. Growing the membership of the Choice Privileges program as well as increasing the number of room nights consumed by existing members will continue to be a focus of the Company.
Marketing and advertising programs are directed by our marketing department, which utilizes the services of independent advertising agencies. We also employ home-based sales personnel geographically located across the United States using personal sales calls, telemarketing and other techniques to target specific customer groups, such as potential corporate clients in areas where our franchised hotels are located, the group travel market, and meeting planners.
Our field based franchise services area directors work with franchisees to help them maximize RevPAR. These consultants advise franchisees on topics such as marketing their hotels, improving quality and maximizing the benefits offered by the Choice reservations system. Our proprietary property management system includes a rate and selling management tool to help our franchisees better manage rates and inventory which are designed to help them improve RevPAR by optimizing ADR and occupancy. In addition, we have recently added revenue management services to our service offerings to assist franchisees in maximizing their room rates.
Central Reservation System ("CRS"). Our central reservation system consists of our toll-free telephone reservation system, our proprietary internet site, mobile phone and tablet reservation applications, interfaces with global distribution systems, and other internet reservations sites. We strive to improve the percentage of business delivered by our CRS as room nights reserved through these channels are typically at higher average daily rates than reservations booked directly through the property. In addition, increasing the percentage of business delivered through the CRS improves our value proposition to a hotel owner and therefore assists in retention of existing and acquisition of new franchisees.
Our CRS provides a data link to our franchised properties as well as to travel reservation systems such as Amadeus, Galileo, SABRE and Worldspan that facilitate the reservation process for travel agents and corporate travelers. We also offer

20


rooms for sale on our own proprietary internet site (www.choicehotels.com) and mobile applications as well as those of OTA's and other third-party internet referral or booking services.
Our toll-free telephone reservation system primarily utilizes third party call center service providers. Reservation agents trained on the reservation system can match each caller with a Choice-branded hotel meeting the caller’s needs. We also operate a call forwarding program through which our franchisees can leverage our central reservation system capabilities by forwarding reservation calls received directly by the property to one of our reservation centers. Typically, this reduces the hotel’s front desk staffing needs, improves customer service and results in a higher average daily rate than reservations booked directly through the property.
We continue to implement our integrated reservation and distribution strategy to improve reservations delivery, reduce franchisee costs and improve franchisee satisfaction by enhancing our website, choicehotels.com. We design our marketing campaigns to drive reservation traffic directly to our proprietary channels to minimize the impact that third party reservation sites may have on the pricing of our franchisees' inventory. In addition, we have introduced programs such as our Best Internet Rate Guarantee program which has greatly reduced the ability of the travel intermediaries to undercut the published rates at our franchisees' hotels. Further, we selectively distribute franchisees' inventory to key third party travel intermediaries that we have established agreements with to drive additional business to our franchisees' hotels. These agreements typically offer our brands preferred placement on these third party sites at reduced transaction fees. We continue to educate our individual franchisees about the unfavorable impact to their business of contracting with sites with which we do not have preferred agreements. We currently have agreements with many but not all major online third party booking sites.
Property Management Systems. Our proprietary property and yield management system, choiceADVANTAGE, is designed to help franchisees maximize profitability and compete more effectively by assisting them in managing their room inventory, rates and reservations. choiceADVANTAGE synchronizes each hotel’s inventory with our central reservation system, giving our reservation sales agents last room sell capabilities at every hotel. Our property management system also includes a proprietary revenue management feature ("SmartRates") that calculates and suggests optimum rates based on each hotel’s past performance and projected occupancy. These tools are critical to business delivery and yield improvement as they facilitate a franchisees’ ability to effectively manage hotel operations, determine appropriate rates, drive occupancy and participate in our marketing programs. As a cloud based solution, the choiceADVANTAGE system reduces each hotel’s investment in on-site computer equipment typically resulting in a lower total cost of ownership for property management systems than traditional on-site solutions.
Quality Assurance Programs. Consistent quality standards are critical to the success of a hotel franchise. We have established quality standards for all of our franchised brands that cover cleanliness conditions, brand standards and minimum service offerings. We inspect properties for compliance with our quality standards when application is made for admission to the franchise system. The compliance of existing franchisees with quality standards is monitored through scheduled and unannounced quality assurance reviews conducted periodically at the property and through the use of guest surveys. Properties that fail to maintain a minimum score are reinspected on a more frequent basis until deficiencies are cured, or until such properties are terminated. To encourage compliance with quality standards, various brand-specific incentives and awards are used to reward franchisees that maintain consistent quality standards. We identify franchisees whose properties operate below minimum quality standards and assist them to comply with brand specifications. Franchisees who fail to improve on identified quality matters may be subject to consequences ranging from written warnings, the payment of re-inspection, non-compliance and guest satisfaction fees, attendance at mandatory training programs and ultimately to the termination of the franchise agreement. Actual consequences, if any, are determined in the Company’s discretion on a case-by-case basis and may take into account a variety of factors apart from a franchisee’s level of compliance with our quality standards and brand specifications.
Training. We maintain a training department that conducts mandatory and voluntary training programs for all franchisees and general managers. Regularly scheduled regional and national training meetings are also conducted for owners and general managers. We offer an interactive computer and mobile-based training system to help train hotel employees in real-time as well as at their own pace. Additional training is conducted through a variety of methods, including group instruction seminars and live on-line instructor-led programs.
Opening Services. We maintain an opening services department that ensures incoming hotels meet or exceed brand standards and are properly displayed in our various reservation distribution systems to help ensure that each incoming hotel opens successfully. We also maintain a design and construction department to assist franchisees in refurbishing, renovating, or constructing their properties prior to or after joining the system. Department personnel assist franchisees in meeting our brand specifications by providing technical expertise and cost-savings suggestions.

21


Competition
Competition among franchise lodging brands is intense in attracting potential franchisees, retaining existing franchisees and generating reservations for franchisees. Franchise contracts are typically long-term in nature, but most allow the hotel owner to opt-out of the agreement at mutually agreed upon anniversary dates.
We believe that hotel operators choose lodging franchisors based primarily on the value and quality of each franchisor’s brand(s) and services and the extent to which affiliation with that franchisor may increase the franchisee’s reservations and profits. We also believe that hotel operators select a franchisor in part based on the franchisor’s reputation among other franchisees and the success of its existing franchisees.
Since our franchising revenues are based on franchisees’ gross room revenues or number of rooms, our prospects for growth are largely dependent upon the ability of our franchisees to compete in the lodging market, our ability to convert competitor franchises and independent hotels to our brands and the ability of existing and potential franchisees to obtain financing to construct new hotels.
The ability of a hotel to compete may be affected by a number of factors, including the location and quality of the property, the abilities of the franchisee, the number and quality of competing lodging facilities nearby, its affiliation with a recognized name brand and general regional and local economic conditions. We believe the effect of local economic conditions on our results is substantially reduced by our range of products and room rates and the geographic diversity of our franchised properties, which are open and operating in 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 40 countries and territories outside the United States.
We believe that our focus on core business strategies, combined with our financial strength and size, geographic diversity, scale and distribution will enable us to remain competitive.
Service Marks and Other Intellectual Property
The service marks Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites, Cambria hotels & suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection, Choice Privileges, SkyTouch Technology and related marks and logos are material to our business. We, directly and through our franchisees, actively use these marks. All of the material marks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In addition, we have registered certain of our marks with the appropriate governmental agencies in the countries where we are doing business or anticipate doing business in the foreseeable future. We seek to protect our brands and marks throughout the world, although the strength of legal protection available varies from country to country. Depending on the jurisdiction, trademarks and other registered marks are valid as long as they are in use and/or their registrations are properly maintained and they have not been found to have become generic.
Seasonality
The hotel industry is seasonal in nature. For most hotels, demand is lower in November through February than during the remainder of the year. Our principal source of revenues is franchise fees based on the gross room revenues of our franchised properties. The Company's franchise fee revenues reflect the industry's seasonality and historically have been lower in the first and fourth quarters than in the second and third quarters.
Regulation
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), various states and certain other foreign jurisdictions (including Australia, France, Canada, and Mexico) regulate the sale of franchises. The FTC requires franchisors to make extensive disclosure to prospective franchisees but does not require registration. A number of states in which our franchisees operate require registration and disclosure in connection with franchise offers and sales. In addition, several states have "franchise relationship laws" that, among other things, limit the ability of the franchisor to terminate franchise agreements or to withhold consent to the renewal or transfer of these agreements. While our franchising operations have not been materially adversely affected by such regulations, we cannot predict the effect of future regulation or legislation.
Our franchisees are responsible for compliance with all laws and government regulations applicable to the hotels they own or operate. The lodging industry is subject to numerous federal, state and local government regulations, including those relating to the preparation and sale of food and beverage (such as health and liquor license laws), building and zoning requirements and laws governing employee relations, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions and work permit requirements.

22


Impact of Inflation and Other External Factors
Franchise fees can be impacted by external factors including, in particular, the supply of hotel rooms within the lodging industry relative to the demand for rooms by travelers and inflation.
We expect to benefit in the form of increased franchise fees from future growth in consumer demand for hotel rooms as well as growth in the supply of hotel rooms, to the extent it does not result in excess lodging industry capacity. However, a prolonged decline in demand for hotel rooms would negatively impact our business.
Although we believe that increases in the rate of inflation will generally result in comparable increases in hotel room rates, severe inflation could contribute to a slowing of the economies in which we operate. Such a slowdown could result in reduced travel by both business and leisure travelers, potentially resulting in less demand for hotel rooms, which could result in a reduction in room rates and fewer room reservations, negatively impacting our revenues. A weak economy could also reduce demand for new hotels, negatively impacting the franchise fees received by us.
Among other unpredictable external factors, which may negatively impact us, are wars, acts of terrorism, airline strikes, gasoline shortages, severe weather and the risks described below under the Item 1A. Risk Factors.

SkyTouch Technology
SkyTouch Technology ("SkyTouch") is a division of the Company that develops and markets cloud-based technology products to the hotel industry including inventory management, pricing and connectivity to third party channels to hoteliers not under franchise agreements with the Company. SkyTouch was announced in March 2013 and represented less than 1% and 3% of the Company's total revenues and operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2016.
SkyTouch sells, manages, and supports a large, widely distributed cloud-based property management system, known as SkyTouch Hotel OS®, to branded chains and independent hotels, which is designed to help them to achieve growth and to improve operating performance and the guest experience. SkyTouch Hotel OS® is based on the Company’s award-winning, proprietary technology platform, choiceADVANTAGE, that was first introduced over a decade ago to meet the needs of its franchisees and is currently utilized by over 5,900 of the Company's franchised hotels. SkyTouch Hotel OS® offers many of the same functions of the choiceADVANTAGE platform, including managing reservations, guest stays, and rates on any device with an internet connection as well as the ability to connect seamlessly with other systems used by branded chains and independent hotels. SkyTouch Hotel OS® has been enhanced to add distribution management services, and offers central reservation system interfaces utilizing hotel technology next generation specifications for ease of deployment and partnership with other technology providers.
The SkyTouch platform includes a mobile-native interface that offers fast and secure mobile functionality to the major elements of property management and housekeeping. The interface includes quick, mobile-friendly views of key operational data such as ADR, Occupancy, "Availability for Tonight," which is designed to help improve management efficiency. Housekeeping functionality allows real-time, two-way communication between managers and staff that helps improve the guest experience. Developed with a responsive design and an adaptable mobile support strategy, the interface is optimized as a true cloud-based application for smart phones and tablets, while still accessible from desktops.
SkyTouch also provides onsite and remote installation and training, and 24/7 phone support to its clients. SkyTouch’s online training includes simulation-based, highly interactive e-Learning modules with the option to modify and create additional content to meet the needs of hoteliers.
The hotel property management system market is highly competitive and SkyTouch competes on various bases, including product functionality, service capabilities, price, and geography. SkyTouch competes with companies that have several hotel related software products, as well as companies that offer a single product or service aimed at a particular niche. In addition, SkyTouch products and services compete with room reservation systems developed and marketed by major hotel chains for their corporate-owned operations and franchisees.
 
Employees
We employed approximately 1,789 people in our global operations as of February 16, 2017. None of our employees are represented by unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We consider our relations with our employees to be good.



23


EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
The name, age, title, present principal occupation, business address and other material occupations, positions, offices and employment of each of the executive officers of the Company as of December 31, 2016 are set forth below. The business address of each executive officer is 1 Choice Hotels Circle, Suite 400, Rockville, Maryland 20850.
 
Name
Age
 
Position
Stewart W. Bainum, Jr.  
70
 
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Stephen P. Joyce
56
 
Chief Executive Officer
Patrick S. Pacious
50
 
President and Chief Operating Officer
Simone Wu
51
 
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & External Affairs
David A. Pepper
49
 
Chief Development Officer
Patrick J. Cimerola
48
 
Chief Human Resources Officer
Scott E. Oaksmith
45
 
Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer
Stewart W. Bainum, Jr. Director from 1977 to 1996 and since 1997. Chairman of the Board of Choice Hotels International, Inc., from March 1987 to November 1996 and since October 1997; Director of the Board of Realty Investment Company, Inc., a real estate management and investment company, from December 2005 through December 2016 and Chairman from December 2005 through June 2009; Director of the Board of Sunburst Hospitality Corporation, a real estate developer, owner and operator, from November 1996 through December 2016 and Chairman from November 1996 through June 2009. Director of SunBridge Manager, LLC from September 2011 through December 2016. He was a director of Manor Care, Inc., from September 1998 to September 2002, serving as Chairman from September 1998 until September 2001. From March 1987 to September 1998, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Manor Care, Inc. He served as President of Manor Care of America, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of ManorCare Health Services, Inc., from March 1987 to September 1998, and as Vice Chairman of Manor Care of America, Inc., from June 1982 to March 1987.
Stephen P. Joyce. Chief Executive Officer since May 2016, President & Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 until May 2016, and President & Chief Operating Officer from May 2008 until June 2008. Prior to joining the Company, he was employed by Marriott International as Executive Vice President, Global Development/Owner and Franchise Services from 2005 until April 2008 and held several other senior executive positions during his 26-year tenure with Marriott International, Inc. Mr. Joyce is a director of DineEquity, Inc.
Patrick S. Pacious. President & Chief Operating Officer since May 2016 and Chief Operating Officer from January 2014 until May 2016. He was Executive Vice President, Global Strategy & Operations from February 2011 through December 2013. He was Senior Vice President Corporate Strategy and Information Technology from August 2009 to February 2011. He was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy from December 2007 to August 2009. He was Vice President, Corporate Development and Innovation from May 2006 to December 2007 and was Senior Director of Corporate Strategy from July 2005 to May 2006. Prior to joining the Company, he was employed by Bearingpoint Inc. as a Senior Manager from 2002 until 2005 and Arthur Andersen Business Consulting LLP as a Senior Manager from 1996 until 2002.
Simone Wu. Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & External Affairs since joining the company in February 2012. Prior to joining the Company, she was employed by XO Communications and its affiliates as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary from 2011 until 2012, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary from 2006 to 2011, Vice President, the acting General Counsel and Secretary from 2005 to 2006, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel from 2004 until 2005, and Senior Corporate Counsel from 2001 until 2004. Before that she was Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs at LightSource Telecom, held legal and business positions at MCI and AOL, and began her legal career in 1989 at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
David A. Pepper. Chief Development Officer since May 2015. He was Senior Vice President, Global Development from October 2009 to May 2015. He was Senior Vice President, Franchise Development & Emerging Brands from July 2007 to October 2009. He was Senior Vice President and Division President Cambria Suites and Extended Stay Market Brands from January 2007 to July 2007 and was Senior Vice President, Franchise Growth and Performance of Choice from December 2005 until January 2007. He was Senior Vice President, Development of Choice from January 2005 until December 2005. He was Vice President, Franchise Sales from June 2002 until January 2005. He was Vice President, Franchise Sales with USFS in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996 through June 2002.

24


Patrick J. Cimerola. Chief Human Resources Officer since 2015. He was Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration from September 2009 to 2015. He was Vice President of Human Resources from January 2003 to September 2009. He was Sr. Director of Human Resources from January 2002 to January 2003.
Scott E. Oaksmith. Senior Vice President, Finance & Chief Accounting Officer since May 2016 and Controller of the Company from September 2006 until May 2016. He was Senior Director & Assistant Controller of Choice from February 2004 to September 2006. He was Director, Marketing and Reservations, Finance from October 2002 until February 2004. Prior to joining the Company, he was employed by American Express Tax & Business Services, Inc. from January 1994 to October 2002, last serving as Senior Manager from October 2000 to October 2002.

Item 1A.
Risk Factors.
Choice Hotels International, Inc. and its subsidiaries are subject to various risks, which could have a negative effect on the Company and its financial condition. These risks could cause actual operating results to differ from those expressed in certain “forward looking statements” contained in this Form 10-K as well as in other Company communications. Before you invest in our securities you should carefully consider these risk factors together with all other information included in our publicly filed documents.
We are subject to the operating risks common in the lodging and franchising industries.
A significant portion of our revenue is derived from fees based on room revenues at hotels franchised under our brands. As such, our business is subject, directly or through our franchisees, to the following risks common in the lodging and franchising industry, among others:
changes in the number of hotels operating under franchised brands;
changes in the relative mix of franchised hotels in the various lodging industry price categories;
changes in occupancy and room rates achieved by hotels;
desirability of hotel geographic location;
changes in general and local economic and market conditions, which can adversely affect the level of business and leisure travel, and therefore the demand for lodging and related services;
level of consumer unemployment;
increases in operating costs that may not be able to be offset by increases in room rates, such as through increases in minimum wage levels;
increases in corporate-level operating costs resulting in lower operating margins;
over-building in one or more sectors of the hotel industry and/or in one or more geographic regions, could lead to excess supply compared to demand, and to decreases in hotel occupancy and/or room rates;
the availability and cost of capital to allow hotel owners and developers to build new hotels and fund investments;
changes in travel patterns;
travelers’ fears of exposure to contagious diseases or insect infestations in hotel rooms;
changes in governmental regulations that influence or determine wages, benefits, prices or increase operating, maintenance or construction costs of our franchisees;
changes by governmental agencies and within relevant legal systems of prevailing opinion and interpretation of new or existing rules, regulations and legal doctrine, particularly those limiting the liability of franchisors for employment and general liability claims involving franchisees;
security concerns or travel restrictions (whether security-related or otherwise) imposed by governmental authorities that have the effect of discouraging or limiting travel to and from certain jurisdictions;
the costs and administrative burdens associated with compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including, among others, franchising, lending, privacy, marketing and sales, licensing, labor, climate change, employment and regulations applicable under the Office of Foreign Asset Control and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;
the financial condition of franchisees and travel related companies;
franchisors’ ability to develop and maintain positive relations with current and potential franchisees; and
changes in exchange rates or economic weakness in the United States (affecting domestic travel) and internationally could also unfavorably impact future results.



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We may not grow our franchise system or we may lose business by failing to compete effectively.
Our success and growth prospects depend on the strength and desirability of our brands, particularly the Comfort brand which represents a significant portion of our business. We believe that hotel operators choose lodging franchisors based primarily on the value and quality of each franchisor’s brand and services, the extent to which affiliation with that franchisor may increase the hotel operator’s reservations and profits, and the franchise fees charged. Demographic, economic or other changes in markets may adversely affect the desirability of our brands and, correspondingly, the number of hotels franchised under the Choice brands.
We compete with other lodging companies for franchisees. As a result, the terms of new franchise agreements may not be as favorable as our current franchise agreements. For example, competition may require us to reduce or change fee structures, make greater use of financial incentives such as loans and guarantees to acquire franchisees and/or reduce the level of property improvements required before operating under our brand names. This could potentially impact our margins negatively. New competition may also emerge using different business models with a lesser reliance on franchise fees. In addition, an excess supply of hotel rooms or unfavorable borrowing conditions may discourage potential franchisees from expanding or constructing new hotels, thereby limiting a source of growth of the franchise fees received by us.
In addition, each of our hotel brands competes with major hotel chains in national and international markets and with independent companies in regional markets. Our ability to remain competitive and to attract and retain business and leisure travelers depends on our success in distinguishing our products and services from those offered by our competitors. If we are unable to compete successfully in these areas, this could adversely affect our market share and our results of operations. An adverse incident involving our franchisees or their guests, and any media coverage resulting therefrom, could also damage our brands and reputation. The considerable increase in the use of social media over recent years has greatly accelerated the speed at which negative publicity could spread and the scope of its dissemination, and could lead to litigation, increase our costs or result in a loss of consumer confidence in our brands.
Increasing use by consumers of alternative internet reservation channels may decrease loyalty to our brands and our existing distribution channels, and may influence our distribution strategies, in ways that may adversely affect us.

A significant, and increasing, percentage of hotel rooms are booked through internet travel intermediaries. If these intermediaries are successful in continuing to increase their share of bookings, or are otherwise successful in executing strategies to strengthen their commercial and contractual ties to our hotels and hotel guests, these intermediaries may be able to obtain higher commissions, reduced room rates or other significant contractual and operational concessions from our franchisees or us.
Moreover, some of these internet travel intermediaries hope that consumers will eventually develop brand loyalties to their reservations systems rather than to our lodging brands and our existing distribution channels. As the internet travel intermediary industry continues to consolidate, and/or if well-known or well-financed companies decide to enter the internet travel intermediary space, the resources that the internet travel intermediaries have available and may be willing to apply toward their own marketing and customer loyalty could significantly exceed the resources that we are able to apply for the same purposes.
The increasing use of alternative internet reservation channels influences the way in which we utilize and market the benefits of our existing distribution channel. For example, we have introduced programs such as "Best Internet Rate Guarantee" and a closed-user group pricing to encourage bookings directly through our distribution system. However, there can be no assurance that current margins or levels of utilization associated with these or other strategies will succeed in increasing the booking percentages to our direct channels at the expense of channels controlled by travel intermediaries. In addition, our implementation of programs such as closed-user group pricing may cause travel intermediaries to respond by diverting business away from our hotels, by removing or marginalizing our hotels in search results on their platforms.
Finally, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain stable commercial or contractual relationships with every significant internet travel intermediary, and any resulting instability may have a significant adverse impact on our business, if for example, our brands are not available through one or more of such intermediaries. Relatedly, we may not be able to negotiate mutually acceptable agreements, or renegotiate extensions of agreements with existing internet travel intermediaries upon their expiration, and any such renegotiated or extended agreement may not be entered into on terms as favorable as the provisions that existed before such expiration, replacement or renegotiation.

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We and our franchisees are reliant upon technology and the disruption or malfunction in our information systems could adversely affect our business.
The lodging industry depends upon the use of sophisticated technology and systems including those utilized for reservations, property management, procurement, hotel revenue management, operation of our customer loyalty programs and our administrative systems. Consequently, disruptions or malfunctions in technology can impact our revenue as well as our ability to retain existing franchisees and attract new franchisees to our system. The operation of many of these systems is dependent upon third party data communication networks and software upgrades, maintenance and support. These technologies can be expected to require refinements and there is the risk that advanced new technologies will be introduced. There can be no assurance that as various systems and technologies become outdated or new technology is required we will be able to replace or introduce them as quickly as our competitors or within budgeted costs for such technology.
There can be no assurance that we will achieve the benefits that may have been anticipated from any new technology or system. Further, there can be no assurance that disruptions of the operation of these systems will not occur as a result of failures related to our internal or third party systems and support.
Information technology systems that we rely upon are also vulnerable to damage or interruption from:
earthquakes, fires, floods and other natural disasters;
power losses, computer systems failures, internet and telecommunications or data network failures, service provider negligence, improper operation by or supervision of employees, user error, physical and electronic losses of data and similar events; and
computer viruses, penetration by individuals seeking to disrupt operations or misappropriate information and other breaches of security.
We are subject to risks related to cybersecurity.
The hospitality industry is under increasing attack by cyber-criminals. These attacks can be deliberate attacks or unintentional events that could result in unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information or cause interruptions or delays in our business, loss of data, or render us unable to process reservations. Accordingly, an extended interruption in the ability of any system to function could significantly curtail, directly and indirectly, our ability to conduct our business and generate revenue. We have experienced, and expect to continue to be subject to, cybersecurity threats and incidents, none of which have been material to the Company to date.
We seek to minimize the impact of these attacks through various technologies, processes and practices designed to help protect our networks, systems, computers and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. However, there are no guarantees that our cyber-security practices will be sufficient to thwart all attacks. While we carry cyber breach, property and business operation interruption insurance, we may not be sufficiently compensated for all losses we may incur. These losses include not only a loss of revenues but also potential reputational damage to our brands and litigation, fines or regulatory action against us. Furthermore, the Company may also incur substantial remediation costs to repair system damage as well as satisfy liabilities for stolen assets or information that may further reduce our profits.
We may not achieve our objectives for growth in the number of franchised hotels.
The number of properties and rooms franchised under our brands significantly affects our results. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in achieving our objectives with respect to growing the number of franchised hotels in our system or that we will be able to attract qualified franchisees. The growth in the number of franchised hotels is subject to numerous risks, many of which are beyond the control of our franchisees or us. Among other risks, the following factors affect our ability to achieve growth in the number of franchised hotels:
the ability of our franchisees to open and operate additional hotels profitably. Factors affecting the opening of new hotels, or the conversion of existing hotels to a Choice brand, include, among others:
the availability of hotel management, staff and other personnel;
the cost and availability of suitable hotel locations;
the availability and cost of capital to allow hotel owners and developers to fund investments;
cost effective and timely construction of hotels (which construction can be delayed due to, among other reasons, availability of financing, labor and materials availability, labor disputes, local zoning and licensing matters, and weather conditions); and
securing required governmental permits.
our ability to continue to enhance our reservation, operational and service delivery systems to support additional franchisees in a timely, cost-effective manner;

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our formal impact policy, which may offer certain franchisees protection from the opening of a same-brand property within a specified distance;
the effectiveness and efficiency of our development organization;
our failure to introduce new brands that gain market acceptance;
our dependence on our independent franchisees’ skills and access to financial resources necessary to open the desired number of hotels; and
our ability to attract and retain qualified domestic and international franchisees.
In addition, we are currently planning to expand our international operations in many of the markets where we currently operate, as well as in selected new markets. This may require considerable management time as well as start-up expenses for market development before any significant revenues and earnings are generated. Operations in new foreign markets may achieve low margins or may be unprofitable, and expansion in existing markets may be affected by local economic and market conditions. Therefore, as we expand internationally, we may not experience the operating margins we expect, our results of operations may be negatively impacted and our stock price may decline.
We are subject to risks relating to the acquisition of new brands or lines of business
From time-to-time, we consider acquisitions of new brands that complement our current portfolio of brands. In many cases, we will be competing for these opportunities with third parties who may have substantially greater financial resources or different or lower acceptable return requirements than we do. There can be no assurance that we will be able to identify acquisition candidates, acceptable new markets or complete transactions on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If transactions are consummated or new markets entered, there can be no assurance that any anticipated benefits will actually be realized. Similarly, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional financing for acquisitions or investments, or that the ability to obtain such financing will not be restricted by the terms of our existing debt agreements. Furthermore, if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the acquisition costs are not recoverable, we may be required to record a significant non-cash impairment charge in our financial statements which may negatively impact our results of operations and shareholders' equity.
New brands may not be accepted by franchisees and consumers
We have developed and launched additional hotel brands, such as Cambria hotels and suites and Ascend Hotel Collection, and may develop and launch additional brands in the future. There can be no assurance regarding the level of acceptance of new brands in the development and consumer marketplaces, that costs incurred to develop the brands will be recovered or that the anticipated benefits from these new brands will be realized.
Our investment in new business lines is inherently risky and could disrupt our core business.
In March 2013, we launched our SkyTouch division which develops and markets cloud-based technology products to the hotel industry. In 2015, we acquired a Netherlands-based company that provides software as a service solutions for vacation rental management companies. We expect to continue to invest in these new lines of business and may in the future invest in other new business strategies, products, services, and technologies.
Such investments generally involve significant risks and uncertainties, including distraction of management from our core franchising operations, unanticipated expenses, inadequate return of capital on our investments, and unidentified issues and risks not discovered in our development or analysis of such strategies and offerings. For SkyTouch, additional specific risks and uncertainties include, among others, a limited history as a stand-alone operating business, the willingness of our potential competitors to enter into a business relationship with one of our operating divisions, the ability to develop and offer innovative products that appeal to hoteliers, continuing market acceptance of SkyTouch's enterprise cloud-based technology products, security threats to processed and stored data, intense competition in the technology industry, protection of intellectual property rights, and claims of infringement of the intellectual property of third parties.
Because these ventures are software and technology businesses, they are inherently risky, and there can be no assurance that our investments will be successful. If we do not realize the financial or strategic goals that are contemplated at the time we commit to significant investments in support of these ventures, our reputation, financial condition, operating results and growth trajectory may be impacted.
Our international operations are subject to political and monetary risks.
We have franchised properties open and operating in more than 40 countries and territories outside of the United States. We also have, and may in the future make, investments in foreign hotel franchisors. International operations generally are subject to greater economic, political and other risks than those affecting United States operations. In certain countries, these risks include the risk of war or civil unrest, political instability, expropriation and nationalization.

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Moreover, our international operations are subject to compliance with anti-corruption laws and other foreign laws and regulations. While we have policies in place to enforce and monitor internal and external compliance with anti-corruption laws, we cannot guarantee that our policies will always protect us from reckless or criminal acts committed by our employees, franchisees or third-parties with whom we work. The United States also imposes sanctions that restrict U.S. companies from engaging in business activities with certain persons or entities, foreign countries, or foreign governments that it determines are adverse to U.S. foreign policy interests. If we are found liable for violations of anti-corruption or sanctions laws, we could incur criminal or civil liabilities which could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations, our financial condition and our reputation. Furthermore, the creation of new restrictions in these areas could increase our cost of operations, reduce our profits or cause us to forgo development opportunities that would otherwise contribute to our profitability.
Additional factors may also impact our international operations. The laws of some international jurisdictions do not adequately protect our intellectual property and restrict the repatriation of non-United States earnings. Various international jurisdictions also have laws limiting the right and ability of non-United States entities to pay dividends and remit earnings to affiliated companies unless specified conditions have been met. In addition, revenues from international jurisdictions typically are earned in local currencies, which subjects us to risks associated with currency fluctuations. Currency devaluations and unfavorable changes in international monetary and tax policies could have a material adverse effect on our profitability and financing plans, as could other changes in the international regulatory climate. Our future performance could be adversely affected by weak economic conditions in any region where we operate, and uncertainty regarding the pace of economic growth in different regions of the world makes it difficult to predict future profitability levels. We intend to continue to expand internationally, which would make the risks related to our international operations more significant over time.
We may have disputes with the owners of our franchised hotels or their representative franchisee associations.
Our responsibilities under our franchise agreements may be subject to interpretation and may give rise to disagreements in some instances. Such disagreements may be more likely when hotel returns are depressed as a result of economic conditions. We seek to resolve any disagreements in order to develop and maintain positive relations with current and potential hotel owners as well as their representative franchisee associations. However, failure to resolve such disagreements could result in litigation with outcomes that may be adverse to our economic interests.
Development activities that involve our co-investment or financing and guaranty support for third parties may result in losses.
As a result of our program to make financial support available to developers in the form of loans, credit support, such as guarantees, and equity investments, we are subject to investment and credit risks that we would not otherwise be exposed to as a franchisor. In particular, when we make loans to franchisees, agree to provide loan guarantees for the benefit of franchisees, or make equity investments in franchisees, we are subject to all generally applicable credit and investment risks, such as:
 construction delays, cost overruns, or acts of God such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or fires that may increase overall project costs or result in project cancellations;
the possibility that the parties with which we have entered into a co-investment, financing or guaranty relationships could become bankrupt or otherwise lack the financial resources to meet their obligations, or could have or develop business interests, policies or objectives that are inconsistent with ours; and
that conditions within credit or capital markets may limit the ability of franchisees to raise additional debt or equity that may be required for completion of projects.
In addition to general credit and capital markets risks, we face specific risks stemming from our ability to assess the existing and future financial strength of the franchisee and its principals, the development/construction abilities of the franchisee, the expected performance of the hotel in light of the forecasted general, regional and market-specific economic climate, and the ability to negotiate for, value, and if necessary collect security for our loans or obligations. If we do not accurately assess these risks, our assumptions used to make these estimates prove inaccurate, or situations in the credit market or hospitality industry change in a manner we did not anticipate, our loans and investments may become impaired and/or we may be required to make payment under guarantees we have issued. In such instances, there is no assurance that we will be able to recover any or all of such impaired or paid amounts, in which case we will experience losses which could be material.
Development activities that involve our investment in real estate to stimulate the development of new brands may result in exposure to losses.
The Company is engaged in a program to identify real estate for potential developers to acquire and be utilized for Cambria hotels and suites development. The Company’s intent is to identify potential development sites so that developers may acquire the site and commence construction of a Cambria hotels and suites. However, in certain circumstances, the Company has acquired, and continues to acquire, the real estate prior to identifying a potential developer for the project. As a result, we are subject to the investment risk that we would not otherwise be exposed to as a franchisor. In particular, we face specific risks

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stemming from (1) our ability to assess the fair market value of the real estate; (2) the location’s suitability for development as a Cambria hotels and suites; (3) the availability of zoning or other local approvals needed for development; and (4) the availability and pricing of capital. Although we actively seek to minimize these risks prior to acquiring real estate, there is no assurance that we will be able to recover the costs of our investments in which case we will experience losses which could be material.
Investing through joint ventures decreases our ability to manage risk.
 
We have invested, and expect to continue to invest in real estate and other hospitality related joint ventures. Joint venturers often have shared control over the operation of the joint venture assets and therefore these investments may involve risks such as the possibility that the co-venturer in an investment might become bankrupt or not have the financial resources to meet its obligations, or have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with our business interests or goals. Consequently, actions by a co-venturer might subject us to additional risk, require greater financial support from the Company than initially forecasted or result in actions that are inconsistent with our business interests or goals.
Under certain circumstances our franchisees may terminate our franchise contracts.
We franchise hotels to independent third parties pursuant to franchise agreements. These agreements may be terminated, renegotiated or expire but typically have an initial term of between ten and thirty years. These agreements also typically contain provisions permitting either party to terminate the franchise agreement upon designated anniversaries of the agreement under certain circumstances and depending on the particular hotel brand that is licensed to the franchisee. While our franchise agreements provide for liquidated damages to be paid to us by franchisees whose agreements have been terminated as the result of a violation of the provisions of the agreement, these damage amounts are typically less than the fees we would have received if the terminated franchisee fulfilled its contractual obligations. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to replace expired or terminated franchise agreements, or that the provisions of renegotiated or new agreements will be as favorable as the provisions that existed before such expiration, replacement or renegotiation. As a result, our revenues could be negatively impacted.
Deterioration in the general financial condition of our franchisees may adversely affect our results.
Our operating results are impacted by the ability of our franchisees to generate revenues at properties they franchise from us. An extended period of occupancy or room rate declines may adversely affect the operating results and financial condition of our franchisees. These negative operating conditions could result in the financial failure of our owners and result in a termination of the franchisee for non-payment of franchise fees or require the transfer of ownership of the franchise. In t