0001558370-19-000674.txt : 20190214 0001558370-19-000674.hdr.sgml : 20190214 20190214140400 ACCESSION NUMBER: 0001558370-19-000674 CONFORMED SUBMISSION TYPE: 10-K PUBLIC DOCUMENT COUNT: 81 CONFORMED PERIOD OF REPORT: 20181231 FILED AS OF DATE: 20190214 DATE AS OF CHANGE: 20190214 FILER: COMPANY DATA: COMPANY CONFORMED NAME: Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. CENTRAL INDEX KEY: 0001295810 STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION: HOTELS & MOTELS [7011] IRS NUMBER: 201296886 STATE OF INCORPORATION: MD FISCAL YEAR END: 1231 FILING VALUES: FORM TYPE: 10-K SEC ACT: 1934 Act SEC FILE NUMBER: 001-32319 FILM NUMBER: 19604403 BUSINESS ADDRESS: STREET 1: 200 SPECTRUM CENTER DRIVE STREET 2: 21ST FLOOR CITY: IRVINE STATE: CA ZIP: 92618 BUSINESS PHONE: (949) 330-4000 MAIL ADDRESS: STREET 1: 200 SPECTRUM CENTER DRIVE STREET 2: 21ST FLOOR CITY: IRVINE STATE: CA ZIP: 92618 10-K 1 sho-20181231x10k.htm 10-K sho_Current_Folio_10K_Taxonomy2018

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 


 

FORM 10-K

 


 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

 

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 001-32319

 


 

Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 


 

 

 

 

Maryland

 

20-1296886

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Incorporation or Organization)

 

Identification Number)

 

 

 

200 Spectrum Center Drive, 21st Floor

 

 

Irvine, California

 

92618

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (949) 330-4000

 


 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Series E Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Series F Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value

 

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 ☒  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 ☒

 

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, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), 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 ☒  No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes ☒  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, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer ☒

 

Accelerated filer ☐

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer ☐

 

Smaller reporting company ☐

 

 

Emerging growth company ☐

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes ☐  No ☒

 

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant based upon the closing sale price of the registrant’s common stock on June 29, 2018 as reported on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) was approximately $3.8 billion.

 

The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding as of February 7, 2019 was 228,246,247.

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

 

Part III of this Report incorporates by reference information from the definitive Proxy Statement for the registrant’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

 

 

 


 

SUNSTONE HOTEL INVESTORS, INC.

 

ANNUAL REPORT ON

FORM 10-K

 

For the Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1 

Business

3

Item 1A 

Risk Factors

12

Item 1B 

Unresolved Staff Comments

34

Item 2 

Properties

35

Item 3 

Legal Proceedings

35

Item 4 

Mine Safety Disclosures

35

 

 

 

PART II 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

35

Item 6 

Selected Financial Data

37

Item 7 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

38

Item 7A 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

66

Item 8 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

66

Item 9 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

66

Item 9A 

Controls and Procedures

67

Item 9B 

Other Information

69

 

 

 

PART III 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

69

Item 11 

Executive Compensation

69

Item 12 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

69

Item 13 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

69

Item 14 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

70

 

 

 

PART IV 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

70

Item 16 

Form 10-K Summary

73

 

 

 

SIGNATURES 

74

 

2


 

The “Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., a Maryland corporation, and one or more of our subsidiaries, including Sunstone Hotel Partnership, LLC, or the Operating Partnership, and Sunstone Hotel TRS Lessee, Inc., or the TRS Lessee, and, as the context may require, Sunstone Hotel Investors only or the Operating Partnership only.

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This report, together with other statements and information publicly disseminated by the Company, contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. The Company intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and includes this statement for purposes of complying with these safe harbor provisions. Forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe the Company’s future plans, strategies and expectations, are generally identifiable by use of the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project” or similar expressions. You should not rely on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond the Company’s control and which could materially affect actual results, performances or achievements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to the risk factors discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Accordingly, there is no assurance that the Company’s expectations will be realized. Except as otherwise required by the federal securities laws, the Company disclaims any obligations or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein (or elsewhere) to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

 

Item 1.Business

 

Our Company

 

We were incorporated in Maryland on June 28, 2004. We are a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). As of December 31, 2018, we had interests in 21 hotels (the “21 hotels”). The 21 hotels are comprised of 10,780 rooms, located in 9 states and in Washington, DC.

 

Our business is to acquire, own, asset manage and renovate primarily hotels that we consider to be Long-Term Relevant Real Estate® (or, LTRR®) in the United States, specifically hotels in urban and resort locations that benefit from significant barriers to entry by competitors and diverse economic drivers. As part of our ongoing portfolio management strategy, we may also selectively sell hotel properties. All but two (the Boston Park Plaza and the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina) of our 21 hotels are operated under nationally recognized brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, which are among the most respected and widely recognized brands in the lodging industry. Our two unbranded hotels are located in top urban and resort markets that have enabled them to build awareness with both group and transient customers. Our portfolio primarily consists of upper upscale hotels. Of the 21 hotels, 18 are upper upscale, two are upscale and one is luxury as defined by STR, Inc., an independent provider of lodging industry statistical data. STR, Inc. classifies hotel chains into the following segments: luxury; upper upscale; upscale; upper midscale; midscale; economy; and independent.

 

Our hotels are operated by third-party managers under long-term management agreements with the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2018, our third-party managers included: subsidiaries of Marriott International, Inc. or Marriott Hotel Services, Inc. (collectively “Marriott”), managers of eight of the Company’s hotels; Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (“IHR”) and Highgate Hotels L.P. and an affiliate (“Highgate”), each a manager of three of the Company’s hotels; Crestline Hotels & Resorts (“Crestline”) and Hilton Worldwide (“Hilton”), each a manager of two of the Company’s hotels; and Davidson Hotels & Resorts (“Davidson”), Hyatt Corporation (“Hyatt”) and Singh Hospitality, LLC (“Singh”), each a manager of one of the Company’s hotels. 

 

3


 

Competitive Strengths

 

We believe the following competitive strengths distinguish us from other owners of lodging properties:

·

High Quality Portfolio.

 

Focus on Owning Long-Term Relevant Real Estate®. We believe that we will create lasting stockholder value through the active ownership of LTRR®. LTRR® consists of hotels that we believe possess unique attributes that are difficult to replicate, and most of all, whose locations are relevant today and will remain relevant for generations to come. We believe that owning LTRR® reduces the risk of waning demand that often happens to undercapitalized and pedestrian hotels.

 

Presence in Key Markets. A cornerstone of LTRR® is location. We believe that our hotels are located in many of the most desirable long-term relevant markets with major and diverse demand generators and significant barriers to entry for new supply. All of our 21 hotels are located in key gateway markets and unique resort locations such as Boston, Chicago, Key West, Los Angeles, Maui, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC/Baltimore. Over time, we expect the revenues of hotels located in key gateway markets and unique resort locations to generate superior long-term growth rates as compared to the average for U.S. hotels, as a result of stronger and more diverse economic drivers.

 

Nationally Recognized Brands and Well Known Independents. As noted above, all but two of our 21 hotels are operated under nationally recognized brands. We believe that affiliations with strong brands and established independents improve the appeal of our hotels to a broad set of travelers and help to drive business to our hotels.

 

Recently Renovated Hotels. From January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2018, we invested $668.6 million in capital renovations throughout the 21 hotels. We believe that these capital renovations have improved the competitiveness of our hotels and have helped to position our portfolio for future growth.

 

·

Significant Cash Position. As of December 31, 2018, we had total cash of $862.4 million, including $53.1 million of restricted cash. Adjusting for the January 2019 payment of $126.5 million for our common and preferred dividends, our total pro forma cash including restricted cash as of December 31, 2018 would be $735.9 million. By minimizing our need to access external capital by maintaining higher than typical cash balances, our financial security and flexibility are meaningfully enhanced because we are able to fund our business needs (including payment of cash distributions on our common stock, if declared) and near-term debt maturities with our cash on hand.

 

·

Flexible Capital Structure. We believe our capital structure provides us with significant financial flexibility to execute our strategy. As of December 31, 2018, the weighted average term to maturity of our debt was approximately five years, and all of our outstanding debt had fixed interest rates or had been swapped to fixed interest rates, except the $220.0 million non-recourse mortgage on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Including the effects of our interest rate swap agreements, our fixed-rate debt had a weighted average interest rate of 4.5%. Including our variable-rate debt on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront based on the variable rate at December 31, 2018, the weighted average interest rate on our debt was 4.2%. In addition to our mortgage debt, as of December 31, 2018, we had two unsecured corporate-level term loans, and two series of senior unsecured corporate-level notes. We also have an undrawn $500.0 million credit facility, which may be increased to $800.0 million subject to lender approval. We currently believe this structure is appropriate for the operating characteristics of our business as it isolates risk and provides flexibility for various portfolio management initiatives, including the sale of individual hotels subject to existing debt.

 

·

Low Leverage. We believe that by controlling debt levels, staggering maturity dates and maintaining a highly flexible structure, we will have lower capital costs than more highly-leveraged companies, or companies with limited flexibility due to restrictive corporate-level financial covenants. Our low leverage capital structure not only minimizes the risk of potential value destructive consequences in periods of economic recession, but also provides us with significant optionality to create stockholder value through all phases of the operating cycle.

4


 

 

·

Strong Access to Low Cost Capital. As a publicly traded REIT, over the long-term, we may benefit from greater access to a variety of forms of capital as compared to non-public investment vehicles. In addition, over the long-term, we may benefit from a lower cost of capital as compared to non-public investment vehicles as a result of our investment liquidity, balance sheet optionality, professional management and portfolio diversification.

 

·

Seasoned Management Team. Each of our core disciplines, including asset management, acquisitions, finance and legal, are overseen by industry leaders with demonstrated track records.

 

Asset Management. Our asset management team is responsible for maximizing the long-term value of our real estate investments by achieving above average revenue and profit performance through proactive oversight of hotel operations. Our asset management team works with our third-party managers to drive property-level innovation, benchmarks best practices and aggressively oversees hotel management teams and property plans. We work with our operators to develop hotel-level “business plans,” which include positioning and capital investment plans. We believe that a proactive asset management program can help grow the revenues of our hotel portfolio and maximize operational and environmental efficiency by leveraging best practices and innovations across our various hotels, and by initiating well-timed and focused capital improvements aimed at improving the appeal of our hotels.

 

Acquisitions. Our acquisitions team is responsible for enhancing our portfolio quality and scale by executing well-timed acquisitions and dispositions that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns on our investment dollars. We believe that our significant acquisition and disposition experience will allow us to continue to execute our strategy to redeploy capital from slower growth assets to LTRR® with higher long-term growth rates. Our primary focus is to acquire LTRR®. Depending on availability, we select the branding and operating partners for our hotels that we believe will lead to the highest returns and greatest long-term value. We also focus on disciplined capital recycling, and may selectively sell hotels that no longer fit our stated strategy, are unlikely to offer long-term returns in excess of our cost of capital, will achieve a sale price in excess of our internal valuation, or that have high risk relative to their anticipated returns.

 

Finance. We have a highly experienced finance team focused on minimizing our cost of capital and maximizing our financial flexibility by proactively managing our capital structure and opportunistically sourcing appropriate capital for growth, while maintaining a best in class disclosure and investor relations program. 

 

Legal. Our legal team is responsible for overseeing and supporting all Company-wide legal matters, including all legal matters related to corporate (including corporate oversight and governance), investment, asset management, design and construction, finance initiatives and litigation. We believe active and direct oversight of legal matters allows the Company the flexibility to pursue opportunities while minimizing legal exposure, protecting corporate assets, and ultimately maximizing stockholder returns.

 

Business Strategy

 

Our mission is to create meaningful value for our stockholders by producing superior long-term returns through the ownership of LTRR® in the hospitality sector. Our values include transparency, trust, ethical conduct, honest communication and discipline. As demand for lodging generally fluctuates with the overall economy, we seek to own hotels that will maintain a high appeal with travelers over long periods of time and will generate economic earnings materially in excess of recurring capital requirements. Our strategy is to maximize stockholder value through focused asset management and disciplined capital recycling, which is likely to include selective acquisitions and dispositions, while maintaining balance sheet flexibility and strength. Our goal is to maintain appropriate leverage and financial flexibility to position the Company to create value throughout all phases of the operating and financial cycles.

 

5


 

Competition

 

The hotel industry is highly competitive. Our hotels compete with other hotels for guests in each of their markets. Competitive advantage is based on a number of factors, including location, physical attributes, service levels and reputation. Competition is often specific to the individual markets in which our hotels are located and includes competition from existing and new hotels operated under brands in the luxury, upper upscale and upscale segments. Increased competition could harm our occupancy or revenues or may lead our operators to unnecessarily increase service or amenity levels, which may reduce the profitability of our hotels.

 

We believe that competition for the acquisition of hotels is fragmented. We face competition from institutional pension funds, private equity investors, high net worth individuals, other REITs and numerous local, regional, national and international owners in each of our markets. Some of these entities may have substantially greater financial resources than we do and may be able and willing to accept more risk than we believe we can prudently manage. During times when we seek to acquire hotels, competition among potential buyers may increase the bargaining power of potential sellers, which may reduce the number of suitable investment opportunities available to us or increase pricing. Similarly, during times when we seek to sell hotels, competition from other sellers may increase the bargaining power of the potential property buyers.

 

Management Agreements

 

All of our 21 hotels are managed by third parties under management agreements with the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries. The following is a general description of our third-party management agreements as of December 31, 2018.

 

Marriott. The following hotels are operated under management agreements with Marriott: JW Marriott New Orleans; Marriott Boston Long Wharf; Renaissance Harborplace; Renaissance Long Beach; Renaissance Los Angeles Airport; Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®; Renaissance Washington DC; and Wailea Beach Resort. Our management agreements with Marriott require us to pay Marriott a base management fee equal to 3.0% of total revenue. Inclusive of renewal options and absent prior termination by either party, the Marriott management agreements expire between 2047 and 2078. Additionally, five of the aforementioned management agreements require payment of an incentive fee of 20.0% of the excess of gross operating profit over a certain threshold; one management agreement requires payment of an incentive fee of 35.0% of the excess of gross operating profit over a certain threshold; one management agreement requires payment of a tiered incentive fee ranging from 15.0% to 20.0% of the excess of gross operating profit over certain thresholds; and one management agreement requires payment of an incentive fee of 10.0% of adjusted gross operating profit, capped at 3.0% of gross revenue. The management agreements with Marriott may be terminated earlier than the stated term if certain events occur, including the failure of Marriott to satisfy certain performance standards, a condemnation of, a casualty to, or force majeure event involving a hotel, the withdrawal or revocation of any license or permit required in connection with the operation of a hotel and upon a default by Marriott or us that is not cured prior to the expiration of any applicable cure periods. In certain instances, Marriott has rights of first refusal to either purchase or lease hotels, or to terminate the applicable management agreement in the event we sell the respective hotel.

 

Highgate. Our Boston Park Plaza, Hilton Times Square and Renaissance Westchester hotels are operated under management agreements with Highgate. The management agreements with Highgate require us to pay Highgate a base management fee equal to 3.0% of gross revenue. Additionally, one of the management agreements requires us to pay an incentive fee of 50.0% of the excess of net operating income over a certain threshold, limited to 1.25% of total revenue; one of the management agreements requires us to pay an incentive fee of 15.0% of the excess of net operating income over a certain threshold; and one of the management agreements does not require payment of an incentive fee. Inclusive of renewal options and absent prior termination by either party, the Highgate management agreements expire between 2022 and 2031.

 

IHR. Our Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles, Hilton New Orleans St. Charles and Marriott Portland hotels are operated under management agreements with IHR. The management agreements with IHR require us to pay IHR a base management fee of 2.0% of gross revenue or total revenue, as applicable. Additionally, two of the management agreements require an incentive fee of 10.0% of the excess of net operating income over a certain threshold, limited to 1.5% of the total revenue for all the hotels managed by IHR for any fiscal year; and one of the management agreements provides IHR the opportunity to earn an incentive fee if certain operating thresholds are achieved, limited to 1.0% of the hotel’s total revenue.

6


 

Inclusive of renewal options and absent prior termination by either party, the IHR management agreements expire between 2033 and 2034.

 

Crestline. Our Embassy Suites Chicago and Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile hotels are operated under management agreements with Crestline. The management agreements with Crestline require us to pay Crestline a base management fee of 2.0% of gross revenue. Additionally, one of the management agreements requires us to pay an incentive fee of 10.0% of the excess of operating profit over a certain threshold, and the other management agreement does not require payment of an incentive fee. Inclusive of renewal options and absent prior termination by either party, both of the Crestline management agreements expire in 2032.

 

Hilton. Our Embassy Suites La Jolla and Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotels are operated under management agreements with Hilton. One of the management agreements with Hilton requires us to pay Hilton a base management fee of 1.75% of gross revenue, and the other management agreement requires us to pay Hilton a base management fee of 2.5% of total revenue. Additionally, one of the management agreements requires us to pay an incentive fee of 15.0% of the excess of operating cash flow over a certain percentage, and the other management agreement does not require payment of an incentive fee. The management agreements with Hilton do not include renewal options, and expire in 2026 and 2046, absent prior termination by either party.

 

Davidson. Our Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel is operated under a management agreement with Davidson. The management agreement with Davidson requires us to pay Davidson a base management fee of 2.5% of total revenue, and an incentive fee of 10.0% of the excess of net operating income over a certain threshold, limited to 1.5% of total revenue. The base and incentive management fees have an aggregate cap of 4.0% of total revenue. Inclusive of renewal options and absent prior termination by either party, the Davidson management agreement expires in 2029.

 

Hyatt. Our Hyatt Regency San Francisco hotel is operated by Hyatt under an operating lease with economics that follow a typical management fee structure. Pursuant to the lease, Hyatt retains 3.0% of total revenue as a base management fee. The lease also provides Hyatt the opportunity to earn an incentive fee if gross operating profit exceeds certain thresholds. The lease expires in 2050, and provides no renewal options.

 

Singh. Our Oceans Edge Resort & Marina hotel is operated under a management agreement with Singh. The management agreement with Singh requires us to pay Singh a base management fee of 3.0% of gross revenue, and an incentive fee of 10.0% of adjusted net operating income, capped at 1.5% of gross revenue. The Singh management agreement provides no renewal options, and expires in 2027, absent prior termination by either party.

 

The existing management agreements with Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt require the manager to furnish chain services that are generally made available to other hotels managed by that operator. Costs for these chain services are reimbursed by us. Such services include: the development and operation of computer systems and reservation services; management and administrative services; marketing and sales services; human resources training services; and such additional services as may from time to time be more efficiently performed on a national, regional or group level.

 

Franchise Agreements

 

As of December 31, 2018, nine of the 21 hotels were operated subject to franchise agreements. Franchisors provide a variety of benefits to franchisees, including nationally recognized brands, centralized reservation systems, national advertising, marketing programs and publicity designed to increase brand awareness, training of personnel and maintenance of operational quality at hotels across the brand system.

 

The franchise agreements generally specify management, operational, record-keeping, accounting, reporting and marketing standards and procedures with which our subsidiary, as the franchisee, must comply. The franchise agreements obligate the subsidiary to comply with the franchisors’ standards and requirements with respect to training of operational personnel, safety, maintaining specified insurance, the types of services and products ancillary to guest room services that may be provided by the subsidiary, display of signage and the type, quality and age of furniture, fixtures and equipment (“FF&E”) included in guest rooms, lobbies and other common areas. The franchise agreements for our hotels require that we reserve up to 5.0% of the gross revenues of the hotels into a reserve fund for capital expenditures.

 

7


 

The franchise agreements also provide for termination at the franchisor’s option upon the occurrence of certain events, including failure to pay royalties and fees or to perform other obligations under the franchise license, bankruptcy and abandonment of the franchise or a change in control. The subsidiary that is the franchisee is responsible for making all payments under the franchise agreements to the franchisors; however, the Company guaranties certain obligations under a majority of the franchise agreements.

 

Tax Status

 

We have elected to be taxed as a REIT under Sections 856 through 859 of the Code, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2004. Under current federal income tax laws, we are required to distribute at least 90% of our net taxable income to our stockholders each year in order to satisfy the REIT distribution requirement. While REITs enjoy certain tax benefits relative to C corporations, as a REIT we may still be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and property. We may also be subject to federal income and excise tax on our undistributed income.

 

Taxable REIT Subsidiary

 

Subject to certain limitations, a REIT is permitted to own, directly or indirectly, up to 100% of the stock of a taxable REIT subsidiary, or TRS. A TRS is a fully taxable corporation that may earn income that would not be qualifying income if earned directly by us. A TRS may perform activities such as development, and other independent business activities that may be prohibited to a REIT. A hotel REIT is permitted to own a TRS that leases hotels from the REIT, rather than requiring the lessee to be an unaffiliated third party, provided certain conditions are satisfied. However, a hotel leased to a TRS still must be managed by an unaffiliated third party in the business of managing hotels because a TRS may not directly or indirectly operate or manage any hotels or provide rights to any brand name under which any hotel is operated. The TRS provisions are complex and impose certain conditions on the use of TRSs to assure that TRSs are subject to an appropriate level of federal corporate taxation.

 

We and the TRS Lessee must make a joint election with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the TRS Lessee to be treated as a TRS. A corporation of which a qualifying TRS owns, directly or indirectly, more than 35% of the voting power or value of the corporation’s stock will automatically be treated as a TRS. Overall, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, no more than 20% of the value of our assets may consist of securities of one or more TRS, and no more than 25% of the value of our assets may consist of the securities of TRSs and other assets that are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test. The 75% asset test generally requires that at least 75% of the value of our total assets be represented by real estate assets, cash, or government securities.

 

The rent that we receive from a TRS qualifies as “rents from real property” as long as the property is operated on behalf of the TRS by a person who qualifies as an “independent contractor” and who is, or is related to a person who is, actively engaged in the trade or business of operating “qualified lodging facilities” for any person unrelated to us and the TRS (an “eligible independent contractor”). A “qualified lodging facility” is a hotel, motel or other establishment in which more than one-half of the dwelling units are used on a transient basis. A “qualified lodging facility” does not include any facility where wagering activities are conducted. A “qualified lodging facility” includes customary amenities and facilities operated as part of, or associated with, the lodging facility as long as such amenities and facilities are customary for other properties of a comparable size and class owned by other unrelated owners.

 

We have formed the TRS Lessee as a wholly owned TRS. We lease each of our hotels to the TRS Lessee or one of its subsidiaries. These leases provide for a base rent plus variable rent based on occupied rooms and departmental gross revenues. These leases must contain economic terms which are similar to a lease between unrelated parties. If they do not, the IRS could impose a 100% excise tax on certain transactions between the TRS Lessee and us or our tenants that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We believe that all transactions between us and the TRS Lessee are conducted on an arm’s-length basis.

 

The TRS Lessee has engaged eligible independent contractors to manage the hotels it leases from the Operating Partnership.

 

8


 

Ground, Building and Air Lease Agreements

 

At December 31, 2018, five of the 21 hotels are subject to ground, building or air leases with unaffiliated parties that cover either all or portions of their respective properties. As of December 31, 2018, the remaining terms of these ground, building and air leases (including renewal options) range from approximately 25 to 79 years. These leases generally require us to make rental payments and payments for all or portions of costs and expenses, including real and personal property taxes, insurance and utilities associated with the leased property.

 

Any proposed sale of a property that is subject to a ground, building or air lease or any proposed assignment of our leasehold interest as lessee under the ground, building or air lease may require the consent of the applicable lessor. As a result, we may not be able to sell, assign, transfer or convey our interest in any such property in the future absent the consent of the ground, building or air lessor, even if such transaction may be in the best interests of our stockholders.

 

Two of the five leases prohibit the sale or conveyance of the hotel and assignment of the lease by us to another party without first offering the lessor the opportunity to acquire our interest in the associated hotel and property upon the same terms and conditions as offered by us to the third party. These same two leases also allow us the option to acquire the ground or building lessor’s interest in the ground or building lease subject to certain exercisability provisions. From time to time, we evaluate our options to purchase the lessors’ interests in the leases.

 

Corporate Office

 

We currently lease our headquarters located at 200 Spectrum Center Drive, 21st Floor, Irvine, California 92618 from an unaffiliated third party. We occupy our headquarters under a lease that terminates on August 31, 2028.

 

Employees

 

As of February 1, 2019, we had 48 employees. We believe that our relations with our employees are positive. All persons employed in the day-to-day operations of the hotels are employees of the management companies engaged by the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries to operate such hotels.

 

Environmental

 

Environmental reviews have been conducted on all of our hotels. From time to time, our secured lenders have requested environmental consultants to conduct Phase I environmental site assessments on many of our properties. In certain instances, these Phase I assessments relied on older environmental assessments prepared in connection with prior financings. Phase I assessments are designed to evaluate the potential for environmental contamination of properties based generally upon site inspections, facility personnel interviews, historical information and certain publicly available databases. Phase I assessments will not necessarily reveal the existence or extent of all environmental conditions, liabilities or compliance concerns at the properties. In addition, material environmental conditions, liabilities or compliance concerns may arise after the Phase I assessments are completed, or may arise in the future, and future laws, ordinances or regulations may impose material additional environmental liabilities.

 

Under various federal, state and local laws and regulations, an owner or operator of real estate may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of certain hazardous or toxic substances on the property. These laws often impose such liability without regard to whether the owner knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of hazardous or toxic substances. Furthermore, a person that arranges for the disposal or transports for disposal or treatment of a hazardous substance at another property may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of hazardous substances released into the environment at that property. The costs of remediation or removal of such substances may be substantial, and the presence of such substances, or the failure to promptly remediate such substances, may adversely affect the owner’s ability to sell such real estate or to borrow using such real estate as collateral. In connection with the ownership and operation of our properties, we or the TRS Lessee, as the case may be, may be potentially liable for such costs. Although we have tried to mitigate environmental risk through insurance, this insurance may not cover all or any of the environmental risks we encounter.

 

As an owner of real estate, we are subject to the risks associated with the physical effects of climate change, which can include more frequent or severe storms, hurricanes, flooding, droughts and fires, any of which could have a material

9


 

adverse effect on our hotels. While we are not directly involved in the operation of our properties or other activities that could produce meaningful levels of greenhouse gas emissions, we do control the capital invested in our hotels and have invested in initiatives aimed at reducing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions at our properties.  Additionally, in 2018, we initiated an environmental and sustainability report to monitor the carbon footprint and emissions at our hotels, and to set goals to reduce those over time. 

 

We have provided unsecured environmental indemnities to certain lenders and buyers of our properties. We have performed due diligence on the potential environmental risks including obtaining an independent environmental review from outside environmental consultants. These indemnities obligate us to reimburse the guaranteed parties for damages related to environmental matters. There is generally no term or damage limitation on these indemnities; however, if an environmental matter arises, we could have recourse against other previous owners.

 

ADA Regulation

 

Our properties must comply with various laws and regulations, including Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to the extent that such properties are “public accommodations” as defined by the ADA. The ADA may require removal of structural barriers to access by persons with disabilities in certain public areas of our properties where such removal is readily achievable. We believe that our properties are in substantial compliance with the ADA; however, noncompliance with the ADA could result in capital expenditures, the imposition of fines or an award of damages to private litigants. The obligation to make readily achievable accommodations is an ongoing one, and we will continue to assess our properties and to make alterations as appropriate in this respect.

 

Inflation

 

Inflation may affect our expenses, including, without limitation, by increasing costs such as labor, food, taxes, property and casualty insurance, borrowing costs and utilities.

 

Securities Exchange Act Reports

 

Our internet address is www.sunstonehotels.com. Periodic and current Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports and amendments to those reports, such as our annual proxy statement, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, are available, free of charge, through links displayed on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. In addition, the SEC maintains a website that contains these reports at www.sec.gov. Our website and the SEC website and the information on our and the SEC’s website is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Information relating to revenue, operating profit and total assets is set forth in Part II, Item 6 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Executive Officers of the Registrant

 

The following table sets forth certain information regarding the executive officers of the Company at January 1, 2019. All officers serve at the discretion of the board of directors (subject to, in the case of officers who have entered into employment agreements with the Company, the terms of such employment agreements).

 

 

 

 

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

John V. Arabia

 

49

 

Director, President and Chief Executive Officer

Bryan A. Giglia

 

42

 

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Marc A. Hoffman

 

61

 

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Robert C. Springer

 

41

 

Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

David M. Klein

 

50

 

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

The following is additional information with respect to the above-named officers.

John V. Arabia has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a director since January 2015. Mr. Arabia joined the Company in April 2011 as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer. In

10


 

February 2013, he was appointed President, and in February 2014, he was appointed to serve as a member of our board of directors. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Arabia served as Managing Director of Green Street Advisors’ (“Green Street”) real estate research team. Mr. Arabia joined Green Street in 1997 and created and managed the firm’s lodging research platform. Prior to joining Green Street, Mr. Arabia was a Consulting Manager at EY Kenneth Leventhal in the firm’s west coast lodging consulting practice. Mr. Arabia serves as a director of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and its Real Estate Finance Advisory Council. Mr. Arabia also served on the board of directors of EdR, a former publicly traded REIT which was one of America’s largest owners, developers and managers of collegiate housing prior to its sale in 2018. Mr. Arabia, who earned a CPA certificate from the state of Illinois, holds an M.B.A. degree in Real Estate/Accounting from the University of Southern California and a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Bryan A. Giglia has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since February 2016. Mr. Giglia joined the Company in March 2004 as a financial analyst, serving in the capacity of Director of Finance from October 2005 through February 2007. In March 2007, he was appointed Vice President Corporate Finance, and in March 2010 he was appointed Senior Vice President Corporate Finance, a position he held until February 2013, where he oversaw capital market transactions, corporate financial planning and analysis, and investor relations. In February 2013, Mr. Giglia was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a position he held until February 2016. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Giglia served in a variety of accounting positions for Hilton Hotel Corporation. Mr. Giglia attended the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where he earned an M.B.A. degree. Mr. Giglia earned his B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Marc A. Hoffman has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since February 2010. Mr. Hoffman joined the Company in June 2006 as Vice President Asset Management, and was appointed Senior Vice President Asset Management in January 2007, a position he held until February 2010. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Hoffman served in various positions at Marriott International, Inc., including General Manager of The Vail Marriott, General Manager of Marriott's Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, Marriott Market Manager for Fort Lauderdale, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach (where under Mr. Hoffman's leadership, the hotel obtained the Mobil 5 Star Award), and most recently as Vice President and Managing Director of Grande Lakes Orlando, which included the 1,000-room JW Marriott, the 584- room Ritz-Carlton Resort and Spa and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. Mr. Hoffman holds an A.O.S. degree from The Culinary Institute of America and a B.A. degree from Florida International University.

Robert C. Springer has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer since February 2016. Mr. Springer joined the Company in May 2011 as Senior Vice President Acquisitions, and in February 2013, he was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, a position he held until February 2016. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Springer served as a Vice President in the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. ("Goldman") and in the firm's principal lodging investing activity, which investments were primarily placed through the Whitehall Street Real Estate series of private equity funds, as well as the Goldman Sachs Real Estate Mezzanine Partners fund. Mr. Springer's involvement with these funds included all aspects of hotel equity and debt investing, as well as asset management of numerous lodging portfolios. Mr. Springer joined Goldman in February 2006. Prior to joining Goldman, Mr. Springer worked in both the feasibility and acquisitions groups at Host Hotels & Resorts from 2004 to 2006 and was integral to the closing of several large lodging deals. Mr. Springer started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in the Hospitality Consulting Group from 1999 to 2004. Mr. Springer holds a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

David M. Klein has served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel since July 2016. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Klein was a Partner in the Hospitality & Leisure group of Dentons, LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, where his practice focused solely on the hospitality and leisure industry.  Prior to joining Dentons, Mr. Klein held the position of co-founding Principal, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of NYLO Hotels and Advaya Hospitality.  At NYLO, Mr. Klein spearheaded the company’s joint venture capitalization with Lehman Brothers, as well as multiple debt facilities for all company-owned hotel properties.  He also led the structuring of the joint venture capitalization of Advaya with Auromatrix, a large private Indian conglomerate based in Chennai, India.  Additionally, he oversaw all corporate and legal matters related to both companies’ ongoing franchise, management, development, financing and corporate affairs.  Prior to his roles with NYLO and Advaya, Mr. Klein was a partner in the Hospitality & Leisure group of Squire Sanders (Squire Patton Boggs).  Mr. Klein received his J.D. degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and his B.A. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

11


 

Item 1A.Risk Factors

 

The statements in this section describe some of the significant risks to our business and should be considered carefully in evaluating our business and the other information in this Form 10-K. In addition, these statements constitute our cautionary statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended.

 

Risks Related to Our Business

 

In the past, events beyond our control, including economic slowdowns, natural disasters, civil unrest and terrorism, harmed the operating performance of the hotel industry generally and the performance of our hotels, and if these or similar events occur again, our operating and financial results may be harmed by declines in average daily room rates and/or occupancy.

 

The operating and financial performance of the lodging industry has traditionally been closely linked with the performance of the general economy. The majority of our hotels are classified as upper upscale hotels. In an economic downturn, this type of hotel may be more susceptible to a decrease in revenue, as compared to hotels in other categories that have lower room rates in part because upper upscale hotels generally target business and high-end leisure travelers. In periods of economic difficulties, business and leisure travelers may reduce travel costs by limiting travel or by using lower cost accommodations. In addition, operating results at our hotels in key gateway markets may be negatively affected by reduced demand from international travelers due to financial conditions in their home countries or a material strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies. Also, volatility in transportation fuel costs, increases in air and ground travel costs and decreases in airline capacity may reduce the demand for our hotel rooms. In addition, we own six hotels located in seismically active areas of California and five hotels located in areas that have an increased potential to experience hurricanes (Florida, Hawaii and Louisiana). We have acquired and intend to maintain comprehensive insurance on each of our hotels, including liability, terrorism, fire and extended coverage, of the type and amount that we believe are customarily obtained for or by hotel owners. We cannot guarantee that such coverage will continue to be available at reasonable coverage levels, at reasonable rates or at reasonable deductible levels. Additionally, deductible levels are typically higher for earthquakes, floods and named windstorms. Accordingly, our financial results may be harmed if any of our hotels are damaged by natural disasters resulting in losses (either insured or uninsured) or causing a decrease in average daily room rates and/or occupancy. Even in the absence of direct physical damage to our hotels, the occurrence of any natural disasters, terrorist attacks, military actions, outbreaks of diseases, such as Zika, Ebola, H1N1 or other similar viruses, or other casualty events, may have a material adverse effect on our business, the impact of which could result in a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Volatility in the debt and equity markets may adversely affect our ability to acquire, renovate, refinance or sell hotel assets.

 

Volatility in the global financial markets may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. Among other things, over time, the capital markets have experienced periods of extreme price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions, all of which have exerted downward pressure on stock prices, widened credit spreads on debt financing and led to declines in the market values of U.S. and foreign stock exchanges. Future dislocations in the debt markets may reduce the amount of capital that is available to finance real estate, which, in turn may limit our ability to finance the acquisition of hotels or the ability of purchasers to obtain financing for hotels that we wish to sell, either of which may have a material adverse impact on revenues, income and/or cash flow.

 

We have historically used capital obtained from debt and equity markets, including both secured mortgage debt and unsecured corporate debt, to acquire, renovate and refinance hotel assets. If these markets become difficult to access as a result of low demand for debt or equity securities, higher capital costs and interest rates, a low value for capital securities (including our common or preferred stock), and more restrictive lending standards, our business could be adversely affected. In particular, rising interest rates could make it more difficult or expensive for us to obtain debt or equity capital in the future. Similar factors could also adversely affect the ability of others to obtain capital and therefore could make it more difficult for us to sell hotel assets.

 

12


 

Changes in the debt and equity markets may adversely affect the value of our hotels.

 

The value of hotel real estate has an inverse correlation to the capital costs of hotel investors. If capital costs increase, real estate values may decrease. Capital costs are generally a function of the perceived risks associated with our assets, interest rates on debt and return expectations of equity investors. While interest rates may have increased from cyclical lows, they remain low relative to historic averages, but may continue to increase in the future.  Interest rate volatility, both in the U.S. and globally, could reduce our access to capital markets or increase the cost of funding our debt requirements. If the income generated by our hotels does not increase by amounts sufficient to cover such higher capital costs, the market value of our hotel real estate may decline. In some cases, the value of our hotel real estate has previously declined, and may in the future decline, to levels below the principal amount of the debt securing such hotel real estate.

 

Any replacement of LIBOR as the basis on which interest on our variable-rate debt is calculated may harm our financial results, profitability and cash flows.

 

As of December 31, 2018, all of our outstanding debt had fixed interest rates or had been swapped to fixed interest rates except the $220.0 million non-recourse mortgage on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Interest on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront loan is calculated using the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), at a blended rate of one-month LIBOR plus 105 basis points, subject to an interest rate cap agreement that caps the interest rate at 6.0% until December 2020. The LIBOR interest rate swaps associated with our $85.0 million unsecured term loan maturing in September 2022 and our $100.0 million unsecured term loan maturing in January 2023 have been fixed to a LIBOR rate of 1.591% and 1.853%, respectively. In addition, while we currently have no amounts outstanding on our credit facility, should we draw upon the credit facility in the future, amounts outstanding will be subject to interest at a rate ranging from 140 to 225 basis points over LIBOR. Any replacement of LIBOR as the basis on which interest on our variable-rate debt, amounts outstanding under our credit facility or interest rate swaps is calculated may harm our financial results, profitability and cash flows.

 

In 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that LIBOR is to be replaced by the end of 2021 with “a more reliable alternative.” In addition, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York convened the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) in order to identify best practices for alternative reference rates, identify best practices for contract robustness, develop an adoption plan, and create an implementation plan with metrics of success and a timeline. The ARCC accomplished its first set of objectives and has identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, as the rate that represents best practice for use in certain new U.S. dollar derivatives and other financial contracts.

 

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront loan, our interest rate swaps associated with our unsecured term loans and our credit facility provide for alternative methods of calculating the interest rate payable by us if LIBOR is not reported, including using a floating rate index that is both commonly accepted as an alternative to LIBOR and that is publicly recognized by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association as an alternative to LIBOR. The method and rate used to calculate our variable-rate debt in the future may result in interest rates and/or payments that are higher than, lower than, or that do not otherwise correlate over time with the interest rates and/or payments that would have been made on our obligations if LIBOR was available in its current form.

 

As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately $982.8 million of consolidated outstanding debt, and carrying such debt may impair our financial flexibility or harm our business and financial results by imposing requirements on our business.

 

Of our total debt outstanding as of December 31, 2018,  approximately $268.0 million matures over the next four years (none in 2019, $76.1 million in 2020 (assuming we exercise all three of our available one-year options to extend the maturity date of the $220.0 million loan secured by the Hilton San Diego Bayfront from December 2020 to December 2023), $106.9 million in 2021 and $85.0 million in 2022). The $268.0 million in debt maturities due over the next four years does not include $7.8 million of scheduled amortization payments due in 2019, $8.0 million due in 2020, $4.4 million due in 2021 or $3.4 million due in 2022. Carrying our outstanding debt may adversely impact our business and financial results by:

 

·

requiring us to use a substantial portion of our funds from operations to make required payments on principal and interest, which will reduce the amount of cash available to us for our operations and capital expenditures, future business opportunities and other purposes, including distributions to our stockholders;

 

13


 

·

making us more vulnerable to economic and industry downturns and reducing our flexibility in responding to changing business and economic conditions;

 

·

limiting our ability to undertake refinancings of debt or borrow more money for operations or capital expenditures or to finance acquisitions; and

 

·

compelling us to sell or deed back properties, possibly on disadvantageous terms, in order to make required payments of interest and principal.

 

We also may incur additional debt in connection with future acquisitions of real estate, which may include loans secured by some or all of the hotels we acquire or our existing hotels. In addition to our outstanding debt, at December 31, 2018, we had $0.4 million in outstanding letters of credit.

 

We anticipate that we will refinance our indebtedness from time to time to repay our debt, and our inability to refinance on favorable terms, or at all, could impact our operating results.

 

Because we anticipate that our internally generated cash will be adequate to repay only a portion of our indebtedness prior to maturity, we expect that we will be required to repay debt from time to time through refinancings of our indebtedness and/or offerings of equity, preferred equity or debt. The amount of our existing indebtedness may impede our ability to repay our debt through refinancings. If we are unable to refinance our indebtedness with property secured debt or corporate debt on acceptable terms, or at all, and are unable to negotiate an extension with the lender, we may be in default or forced to sell one or more of our properties on potentially disadvantageous terms, which might increase our borrowing costs, result in losses to us and reduce the amount of cash available to us for distributions to our stockholders. If prevailing interest rates or other factors at the time of any refinancing result in higher interest rates on new debt, our interest expense would increase, and potential proceeds we would be able to secure from future debt refinancings may decrease, which would harm our operating results.

 

If we were to default on our secured debt in the future, the loss of our property securing the debt may negatively affect our ability to satisfy other obligations.

 

All of our mortgage debt, excluding letters of credit, unsecured term loans and unsecured senior notes, as of December 31, 2018 is secured by first deeds of trust on our properties. Using our properties as collateral increases our risk of property losses because defaults on indebtedness secured by properties may result in foreclosure actions initiated by lenders and ultimately our loss of the property that secures any loan under which we are in default. Additionally, defaulting on indebtedness may damage our reputation as a borrower, and may limit our ability to secure financing in the future. For tax purposes, a foreclosure on any of our properties would be treated as a sale of the property. If the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage exceeds our tax basis in the property, we would recognize taxable income on foreclosure but would not necessarily receive any cash proceeds. As a result, we may be required to identify and utilize other sources of cash or employ a partial cash and partial stock dividend to satisfy our taxable income distribution requirements as a REIT.

 

Financial covenants in our debt instruments may restrict our operating or acquisition activities.

 

Our credit facility, unsecured term loans and unsecured senior notes contain, and other potential financings that we may incur or assume in the future may contain, restrictions, requirements and other limitations on our ability to incur additional debt and make distributions to our stockholders, as well as financial covenants relating to the performance of our hotel properties. Our ability to borrow under these agreements is subject to compliance with these financial and other covenants. If we are unable to engage in activities that we believe would benefit our hotel properties or we are unable to incur debt to pursue those activities, our growth may be limited. Obtaining consents or waivers from compliance with these covenants may not be possible, or if possible, may cause us to incur additional costs or result in additional limitations.

 

Many of our existing mortgage debt agreements contain “cash trap” provisions that could limit our ability to use funds for other corporate purposes or to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Certain of our loan agreements contain cash trap provisions that may be triggered if the performance of the hotels securing the loans decline. If these provisions are triggered, substantially all of the profit generated by the secured hotel would be deposited directly into lockbox accounts and then swept into cash management accounts for the benefit of the lender. As of December 31, 2018, no cash trap provisions were triggered at any of our hotels.

14


 

 

Cash generated by our hotels that secure our existing mortgage debt agreements is distributed to us only after the related debt service and certain impound amounts are paid, which could affect our liquidity and limit our ability to use funds for other corporate purposes or to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Cash generated by our hotels that secure our existing mortgage debt agreements is distributed to us only after certain items are paid, including, but not limited to, deposits into maintenance reserves and the payment of debt service, insurance, taxes, operating expenses, and capital expenditures. This limit on distributions could affect our liquidity and our ability to use cash generated by those hotels for other corporate purposes or to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Our organizational documents contain no limitations on the amount of debt we may incur, so we may become too highly leveraged.

 

Our organizational documents do not limit the amount of indebtedness that we may incur. If we were to increase the level of our borrowings, then the resulting increase in cash flow that must be used for debt service would reduce cash available for capital investments or external growth, and could harm our ability to make payments on our outstanding indebtedness and our financial condition.

 

We face competition for hotel acquisitions and dispositions, and we may not be successful in completing hotel acquisitions or dispositions that meet our criteria, which may impede our business strategy.

 

Our business strategy is predicated on a cycle-appropriate approach to hotel acquisitions and dispositions. We may not be successful in identifying or completing acquisitions or dispositions that are consistent with our strategy of owning LTRR®. We compete with institutional pension funds, private equity investors, high net worth individuals, other REITs, and numerous local, regional, national and international owners who are engaged in the acquisition of hotels, and we rely on such entities as purchasers of hotels we seek to sell. These competitors may affect the supply/demand dynamics and, accordingly, increase the price we must pay for hotels or hotel companies we seek to acquire, and these competitors may succeed in acquiring those hotels or hotel companies themselves. Furthermore, our potential acquisition targets may find our competitors to be more attractive suitors because they may have greater financial resources, may be willing to pay more, or may have a more compatible operating philosophy. In addition, the number of entities competing for suitable hotels may increase in the future, which would increase demand for these hotels and the prices we must pay to acquire them, which, although beneficial to dispositions of hotels, may materially impact our ability to acquire new properties. We are also unable to predict certain market changes including changes in supply of, or demand for, similar real properties in a particular area. If we pay higher prices for hotels, our profitability may be reduced. Also, future acquisitions of hotels or hotel companies may not yield the returns we expect and, if financed using our equity, may result in stockholder dilution. In addition, our profitability may suffer because of acquisition-related costs, and the integration of such acquisitions may cause disruptions to our business and may strain management resources.

 

Delays in the acquisition and renovation or repositioning of hotel properties may have adverse effects on our results of operations and returns to our stockholders.

 

Delays we encounter in the selection, acquisition, renovation, repositioning and development of real properties could adversely affect investor returns. Our ability to commit to purchase specific assets will depend, in part, on the amount of our available cash at a given time. Renovation or repositioning programs may take longer and cost more than initially expected. Therefore, we may experience delays in receiving cash distributions from such hotels. If our projections are inaccurate, we may not achieve our anticipated returns.

 

Accounting for the acquisition of a hotel property or other entity requires an allocation of the purchase price to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed in the transaction at their respective relative or estimated fair values. Should the allocation be incorrect, our assets and liabilities may be overstated or understated, which may also affect depreciation expense on our statement of operations.

 

Accounting for the acquisition of a hotel property or other entity requires an allocation of the purchase price to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed in the transaction at their respective relative fair values for an asset acquisition or at their estimated fair values for a business combination. The most difficult estimations of individual fair values are those involving long-lived assets, such as property, equipment, intangible assets and capital lease obligations that are assumed as part of the acquisition of a leasehold interest. As with previous acquisitions, should we acquire a hotel property or other

15


 

entity in the future, we will use all available information to make these fair value determinations, and engage independent valuation specialists to assist in the fair value determinations of the long-lived assets acquired and the liabilities assumed. Should any of these allocations be incorrect, our assets and liabilities may be overstated or understated, which may also affect depreciation expense on our statement of operations. In addition, should any of our allocations overstate our assets, we may be at risk of incurring an impairment charge.

 

The acquisition of a hotel property or other entity requires an analysis of the transaction to determine if it qualifies as the purchase of a business or an asset. The result of this analysis will affect both our balance sheet and our statement of operations as transaction costs associated with asset acquisitions will be capitalized and subsequently depreciated over the life of the related asset, while the same costs associated with a business combination will be expensed as incurred and included in corporate overhead. Also, asset acquisitions will not be subject to a measurement period, as are business combinations. Should our conclusion of the transaction as the purchase of a business or an asset be incorrect, our assets and our expenses may be overstated or understated.

 

The acquisition of a portfolio of hotels or a company presents more risks to our business and financial results than the acquisition of a single hotel.

 

We have acquired in the past, and may acquire in the future, multiple hotels in single transactions. We may also evaluate acquiring companies that own hotels. Multiple hotel and company acquisitions, however, are generally more complex than single hotel acquisitions and, as a result, the risk that they will not be completed is greater. These acquisitions may also result in our owning hotels in new markets, which places additional demands on our ability to actively asset manage the hotels. In addition, we may be required by a seller to purchase a group of hotels as a package, even though one or more of the hotels in the package do not meet our investment criteria. In those events, we expect to attempt to sell the hotels that do not meet our investment criteria, but may not be able to do so on acceptable terms, or if successful, the sales may be recharacterized by the IRS as dealer sales and subject to a 100% “prohibited transactions” tax on any gain. These hotels may harm our operating results if they operate below our underwriting or if we sell them at a loss. Also, a portfolio of hotels may be more difficult to integrate with our existing hotels than a single hotel, may strain our management resources and may make it more difficult to find one or more management companies to operate the hotels. Any of these risks could harm our operating results.

 

We may be subject to unknown or contingent liabilities related to recently sold or acquired hotels, as well as hotels that we may sell or acquire in the future.

 

Our recently sold or acquired hotels, as well as hotels we may sell or acquire in the future, may be subject to unknown or contingent liabilities for which we may be liable to the buyers or for which we may have no recourse, or only limited recourse, against the sellers. In general, the representations and warranties provided under our transaction agreements related to the sale or purchase of  a hotel may survive for a defined period of time after the completion of the transaction. Furthermore, indemnification under such agreements may be limited and subject to various materiality thresholds, a significant deductible, or an aggregate cap on losses. As  a result, there is no guarantee that we will not be obligated to reimburse buyers for their losses or that we will be able to recover any amounts with respect to losses due to breaches by sellers of their representations and warranties. In addition, the total amount of costs and expenses that may be incurred with respect to the unknown or contingent liabilities may exceed our expectations, and we may experience other unanticipated adverse effects, all of which could materially and adversely affect our operating results and cash flows.

 

The sale of a hotel or a portfolio of hotels is typically subject to contingencies, risks and uncertainties, any of which may cause us to be unsuccessful in completing the disposition.

 

We may not be successful in completing the sale of a hotel or a portfolio of hotels, which may negatively impact our business strategy. Hotel sales are typically subject to customary risks and uncertainties. In addition, there may be contingencies related to, among other items, seller financing, franchise agreements, ground leases and other agreements. As such, we can offer no assurances as to whether any closing conditions will be satisfied on a timely basis or at all, or whether the closing of a sale will fail to occur for these or any other reasons.

 

16


 

Joint venture investments could be adversely affected by our lack of sole decision-making authority, our reliance on a co-venturer’s financial condition and disputes between us and our co-venturers.

 

We have co-invested, and may in the future co-invest, with third parties through partnerships, joint ventures or other entities, acquiring noncontrolling interests in or sharing responsibility for managing the affairs of a property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. For example, in April 2011, we acquired a 75.0% majority equity interest in One Park Boulevard, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“One Park”), the joint venture that holds title to the 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel located in San Diego, California. Park Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is the 25.0% minority equity partner in One Park. Accordingly, we are not in a position to exercise sole decision-making authority regarding One Park, and we may not be in a position in the future to exercise sole decision-making authority regarding another property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. Investments in partnerships, joint ventures or other entities may, under certain circumstances, involve risks not present were a third party not involved, including the possibility that partners or co-venturers might become bankrupt or fail to fund their share of required capital contributions. Partners or co-venturers may have economic or other business interests or goals which are inconsistent with our business interests or goals, and may be in a position to take actions contrary to our policies or objectives. Such investments may also have the potential risk of impasses on decisions, such as a sale, because neither we nor the partner or co-venturer would have full control over the partnership or joint venture. Disputes between us and partners or co-venturers may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and prevent our officers and/or trustees from focusing their time and effort on our business. Consequently, actions by, or disputes with, partners or co-venturers might result in subjecting properties owned by the partnership or joint venture to additional risk. In addition, we may in certain circumstances be liable for the actions of our third party partners or co-venturers.

 

The hotel loans in which we may invest in the future involve greater risks of loss than senior loans secured by income-producing real properties.

 

We have invested in hotel loans, and may invest in additional loans in the future, including mezzanine loans that take the form of subordinated loans secured by second mortgages on the underlying real property or loans secured by a pledge of the ownership interests of the entity owning the real property, the entity that owns the interest in the entity owning the real property or other assets. These types of investments involve a higher degree of risk than direct hotel investments because the investment may become unsecured as a result of foreclosure by the senior lender. In the event of a bankruptcy of the entity providing the pledge of its ownership interests as security, we may not have full recourse to the assets of such entity, or the assets of the entity may not be sufficient to satisfy our mezzanine loan. If a borrower defaults on our mezzanine loan or debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a borrower bankruptcy, our mezzanine loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt. As a result, we may not recover some or all of our investment. In addition, mezzanine loans may have higher loan-to-value ratios than conventional mortgage loans, resulting in less equity in the real property and increasing the risk of loss of principal.

 

If we make or invest in mortgage loans with the intent of gaining ownership of the hotel secured by or pledged to the loan, our ability to perfect an ownership interest in the hotel is subject to the sponsor’s willingness to forfeit the property in lieu of the debt.

 

If we invest in a mortgage loan or note secured by the equity interest in a property with the intention of gaining ownership through the foreclosure process, the time it will take for us to perfect our interest in the property may depend on the sponsor’s willingness to cooperate during the foreclosure process. The sponsor may elect to file bankruptcy which could materially impact our ability to perfect our interest in the property and could result in a loss on our investment in the debt or note.

 

17


 

Certain of our long-lived assets and goodwill have in the past become impaired and may become impaired in the future.

 

We periodically review the fair value of each of our hotels and related goodwill for possible impairment. For example, before we sold our two Houston, Texas hotels in 2018, we identified indicators of impairment in both 2018 and 2017 associated with continued operational declines due to weakness in the Houston market, combined with the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the two hotels. As such, we recorded total impairment charges of $1.4 million and $40.1 million on the two Houston hotels in 2018 and 2017, respectively. In the future, additional hotels and related goodwill may become impaired, or our hotels which have previously become impaired may become further impaired, which may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We own primarily urban and resort upper upscale hotels, and the upper upscale segment of the lodging market is highly competitive and may be subject to greater volatility than other segments of the market, which could negatively affect our profitability.

 

The upper upscale segment of the hotel business is highly competitive. Our hotels compete on the basis of location, physical attributes, service levels and reputation, among many other factors. Some of our competitors may have hotels that are better located, have a stronger reputation or possess superior physical attributes than our hotels. This competition could reduce occupancy levels and room revenue at our hotels, which would harm our operations. Over-building in the hotel industry may increase the number of rooms available and may decrease occupancy and room rates. We may also face competition from nationally recognized hotel brands with which we are not associated. In addition, in periods of weak demand, profitability is negatively affected by the relatively high fixed costs of operating upper upscale hotels when compared to other classes of hotels.

 

Rising operating expenses or low occupancy rates could reduce our cash flow and funds available for future distributions.

 

Our hotels, and any hotels we buy in the future, are and will be subject to operating risks common to the lodging industry in general. If any hotel is not occupied at a level sufficient to cover our operating expenses, then we could be required to spend additional funds for that hotel’s operating expenses. In the future, our hotels will be subject to increases in real estate and other tax rates, utility costs, operating expenses including labor and employee-related benefits, insurance costs, repairs and maintenance and administrative expenses, which could reduce our cash flow and funds available for future distributions.

 

A significant portion of our hotels are geographically concentrated and, accordingly, we could be disproportionately harmed by economic downturns or natural disasters in these areas of the country.

 

As of December 31, 2018, six of the 21 hotels are located in California, which is the largest concentration of our hotels in any state, representing 32% of our rooms and 34% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018. In addition, the following other areas include concentrations of our hotels as of December 31, 2018: the greater Washington DC area, where two of the 21 hotels represent 13% of our rooms and 12% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018; Illinois, where three of the 21 hotels represent 11% of our rooms and 8% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018; Massachusetts, where two of the 21 hotels represent 14% of our rooms and 14% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018; and Florida, where two of the 21 hotels represent 9% of our rooms and 10% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018. To a lesser, but still significant extent, our hotels in Hawaii and Louisiana represented 5% and 7% of our rooms, respectively, and 10% and 5% of the revenue generated by the 21 hotels during 2018, respectively. The concentration of our hotels in California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the greater Washington DC area exposes our business to economic conditions, competition and real and personal property tax rates unique to these locales. In addition, natural disasters in these locales would disproportionately affect our hotel portfolio. The economies and tourism industries in these locales, in comparison to other parts of the country, are negatively affected to a greater extent by changes and downturns in certain industries, including the entertainment, high technology, financial and government industries. It is also possible that because of our California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the greater Washington DC area concentrations, a change in laws applicable to such hotels and the lodging industry may have a greater impact on us than a change in comparable laws in another geographical area in which we have hotels. Adverse developments in these locales could harm our revenue or increase our operating expenses.

 

18


 

The operating results of some of our individual hotels are significantly impacted by group contract business and room nights generated by large corporate transient customers, and the loss of such customers for any reason could harm our operating results.

 

Group contract business and room nights generated by large corporate transient customers can significantly impact the results of operations of our hotels. These contracts and customers vary from hotel to hotel and change from time to time. Such group contracts are typically for a limited period of time after which they may be put up for competitive bidding. The impact and timing of large events are not always easy to predict. Some of these contracts and events may also be cancelled, which could reduce our expectations for future revenues or result in potential litigation in order to collect cancellation fees. As a result, the operating results for our individual hotels can fluctuate as a result of these factors, possibly in adverse ways, and these fluctuations can affect our overall operating results.

 

The need for business-related travel, and, therefore, demand for rooms in our hotels may be materially and adversely affected by the increased use of business-related technology.

 

The increased use of teleconferencing and video-conference technology by businesses could result in decreased business travel as companies increase the use of technologies that allow multiple parties from different locations to participate in meetings without traveling to a centralized meeting location, such as our hotels. To the extent that such technologies, or new technologies, play an increased role in day-to-day business interactions and the necessity for business-related travel decreases, demand for hotel rooms may decrease and our hotels could be materially and adversely affected.

 

A substantial number of our hotels operate under a brand owned by Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt. Should any of these brands experience a negative event, or receive negative publicity, our operating results may be harmed.

 

We believe the largest and most stable segment of travelers prefer the consistent service and quality associated with nationally recognized brands. As of December 31, 2018, 11 of our 21 hotels utilized brands owned by Marriott. In addition, six and two of our 21 hotels utilized Hilton and Hyatt brands, respectively. As a result, a significant concentration of our success is dependent in part on the success of Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, or their respective brands. Consequently, if market recognition or the positive perception of Marriott, Hilton and/or Hyatt is reduced or compromised, the goodwill associated with our Marriott, Hilton and/or Hyatt branded hotels may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, as well as our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. Additionally, any negative perceptions or negative impact to operating results from any proposed or future consolidations between nationally recognized brands could have an adverse effect on our results of operations, as well as our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

In addition, during 2016, Marriott and Starwood Hotels & Resorts completed a merger between the two companies. Should additional hotel brands consolidate in the future, the merger could reduce our bargaining power in negotiating management agreements and franchise agreements due to decreased competition among major brand companies, as well as contracts between our hotels and various unions. In addition, the potential combined company could have more leverage when negotiating for property improvement plans upon the acquisition of a hotel in cases where the franchisor or hotel brand requires non-economic renovations to bring the physical condition of a hotel into compliance with the specifications and standards each franchisor or hotel brand has developed.

 

Because all but two of our hotels are operated under franchise agreements or are brand managed, termination of these franchise, management or operating lease agreements could cause us to lose business at our hotels or lead to a default or acceleration of our obligations under certain of our notes payable.

 

As of December 31, 2018, all of the 21 hotels except the Boston Park Plaza and the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina were operated under franchise, management or operating lease agreements with franchisors or hotel management companies, such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt. In general, under these arrangements, the franchisor or brand manager provides marketing services and room reservations and certain other operating assistance, but requires us to pay significant fees to it and to maintain the hotel in a required condition. If we fail to maintain these required standards, then the franchisor or hotel brand may terminate its agreement with us and obtain damages for any liability we may have caused. Moreover, from time to time, we may receive notices from franchisors or the hotel brands regarding our alleged non-compliance with the franchise agreements or brand standards, and we may disagree with these claims that we are not in compliance. Any disputes arising under these agreements could also lead to a termination of a franchise, management or operating lease agreement and a payment of liquidated damages. Such a termination may trigger a default or acceleration of

19


 

our obligations under some of our notes payable. In addition, as our franchise, management or operating lease agreements expire, we may not be able to renew them on favorable terms or at all. If we were to lose a franchise or hotel brand for a particular hotel, it could harm the operation, financing, or value of that hotel due to the loss of the franchise or hotel brand name, marketing support and centralized reservation system. Any loss of revenue at a hotel could harm the ability of the TRS Lessee, to whom we have leased our hotels, to pay rent to the Operating Partnership and could harm our ability to pay dividends on our common stock or preferred stock.

 

Our franchisors and brand managers may require us to make capital expenditures pursuant to property improvement plans, or PIPs, and the failure to make the expenditures required under the PIPs or to comply with brand standards could cause the franchisors or hotel brands to terminate the franchise, management or operating lease agreements.

 

Our franchisors and brand managers may require that we make renovations to certain of our hotels in connection with revisions to our franchise, management or operating lease agreements. In addition, upon regular inspection of our hotels, our franchisors and hotel brands may determine that additional renovations are required to bring the physical condition of our hotels into compliance with the specifications and standards each franchisor or hotel brand has developed. In connection with the acquisitions of hotels, franchisors and hotel brands may also require PIPs, which set forth their renovation requirements. If we do not satisfy the PIP renovation requirements, the franchisor or hotel brand may have the right to terminate the applicable agreement. In addition, in the event that we are in default under any franchise agreement as a result of our failure to comply with the PIP requirements, in general, we will be required to pay the franchisor liquidated damages, generally equal to a percentage of gross room revenue for the preceding two-, three- or five-year period for the hotel or a percentage of gross revenue for the preceding twelve-month period for all hotels operated under the franchised brand if the hotel has not been operating for at least two years.

 

Our franchisors and brand managers may change certain policies or cost allocations that could negatively impact our hotels.

 

Our franchisors and brand managers incur certain costs that are allocated to our hotels subject to our franchise, management or operating lease agreements. Those costs may increase over time or our franchisors and brand managers may elect to introduce new programs that could increase costs allocated to our hotels. In addition, certain policies, such as our third-party managers’ frequent traveler programs, may be altered resulting in reduced revenue or increased costs to our hotels.

 

Because we are a REIT, we depend on third parties to operate our hotels, which could harm our results of operations.

 

In order to qualify as a REIT, we cannot directly operate our hotels. Accordingly, we must enter into management or operating lease agreements (together, “management agreements”) with eligible independent contractors to manage our hotels. Thus, independent management companies control the daily operations of our hotels.

 

As of December 31, 2018, our 21 hotels were managed as follows: Marriott eight hotels; IHR three hotels; Highgate three hotels; Crestline two hotels; Hilton two hotels; and Davidson, Hyatt and Singh one hotel each. We depend on these independent management companies to operate our hotels as provided in the applicable management agreements. Thus, even if we believe a hotel is being operated inefficiently or in a manner that does not result in satisfactory ADR, occupancy rates or profitability, we may not necessarily have contractual rights to cause our independent management companies to change their method of operation at our hotels. We can only seek redress if a management company violates the terms of its applicable management agreement with us or fails to meet performance objectives set forth in the applicable management agreement, and then our remedies may be limited by the terms of the management agreement. Additionally, while our management agreements typically provide for limited contractual penalties in the event that we terminate the applicable management agreement upon an event of default, such terminations could result in significant disruptions at the affected hotels. If any of the foregoing occurs at franchised hotels, our relationships with the franchisors may be damaged, and we may be in breach of one or more of our franchise or management agreements.

 

Of these agreements, one was entered into during both 2018 and 2017, two were entered into during 2015, and one was entered into during 2014. If we were to terminate any of these agreements and enter into new agreements with different hotel operators, the day to day operations of our hotels may be disrupted. In addition, we cannot assure you that any new management agreement would contain terms that are favorable to us, or that a new management company would be successful in managing our hotels.

 

20


 

We also cannot assure you that our existing management companies will successfully manage our hotels. A failure by our management companies to successfully manage our hotels could lead to an increase in our operating expenses or a decrease in our revenue, or both, which may affect the TRS Lessee’s ability to pay us rent and would reduce the amount available for dividends on our common stock and our preferred stock. In addition, the management companies may operate other hotels that may compete with our hotels or divert attention away from the management of our hotels.

 

We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, which could increase our expenses or expose us to additional liabilities.

 

Our third-party managers are responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of our hotels. Although we do not directly employ or manage employees at our consolidated hotels, we are still subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force. Increases in minimum wages, or changes in work rules, could negatively impact our operating results. Additionally, from time to time, hotel operations may be disrupted as a result of strikes, lockouts, public demonstrations or other negative actions and publicity. We also may incur increased legal costs and indirect labor costs as a result of contract disputes involving our third-party managers and their labor force or other events. The resolution of labor disputes or re-negotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, a significant component of our costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. We generally do not have the ability to affect the outcome of these negotiations.

 

System security risks, data protection breaches, cyber-attacks and systems integration issues could disrupt our internal operations or services provided to guests at our hotels, and any such disruption could reduce our expected revenue, increase our expenses, damage our reputation and adversely affect our stock price.

 

We and our third-party managers and franchisors rely on information technology networks and systems, including the internet, to process, transmit and store electronic and customer information. These systems require the collection and retention of large volumes of our hotel guests’ personally identifiable information, including credit card numbers. Experienced computer programmers and hackers may be able to penetrate our network security or the network security of our third-party managers and franchisors, and misappropriate or compromise our confidential information or that of our hotel guests, create system disruptions or cause the shutdown of our hotels. Computer programmers and hackers also may be able to develop and deploy viruses, worms, and other malicious software programs that attack our computer systems or the computer systems operated by our third-party managers and franchisors, or otherwise exploit any security vulnerabilities of our respective networks. In addition, sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that we and our third-party managers or franchisors may procure from outside companies may contain defects in design or manufacture, including “bugs” and other problems that could unexpectedly interfere with our internal operations or the operations at our hotels. The costs to us to eliminate or alleviate cyber or other security problems, bugs, viruses, worms, malicious software programs and security vulnerabilities could be significant, and our efforts to address these problems may not be successful and could result in interruptions, delays, cessation of service and loss of existing or potential business at our hotels. Any compromise of our third-party managers and franchisor information networks’ function, security and availability could result in disruptions to operations, delayed sales or bookings, lost guest reservations, increased costs, and lower margins. Any of these events could adversely affect our financial results, stock price and reputation, result in misstated financial reports, and subject us to potential litigation and liability.

 

Portions of our information technology infrastructure or the information technology infrastructure of our third-party managers and franchisors also may experience interruptions, delays or cessations of service or produce errors in connection with systems integration or migration work that takes place from time to time. We or our third-party managers and franchisors may not be successful in implementing new systems and transitioning data, which could cause business disruptions and be more expensive, time consuming, disruptive and resource-intensive. Such disruptions could adversely impact the ability of our third-party managers and franchisors to fulfill reservations for guestrooms and other services offered at our hotels.

 

Although we have taken steps to protect the security of our information systems, and the data maintained in these systems, there can be no assurance that the security measures we have taken will prevent failures, inadequacies or interruptions in system services, or that system security will not be breached through physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses or attacks by hackers. In addition, we rely on the security systems of our third-party managers and franchisors to protect proprietary and customer information from these threats.

 

21


 

Many of our managers carry cyber insurance policies to protect and offset a portion of potential costs that may be incurred from a security breach. Additionally, we currently have a cyber insurance policy to provide supplemental coverage above the coverage carried by our third-party managers. We cannot guarantee that such coverage will continue to be available at reasonable coverage levels, at reasonable rates or at reasonable deductible levels. Despite various precautionary steps to protect our hotels from losses resulting from cyber-attacks, however, any occurrence of a cyber-attack could still result in losses at our properties, which could affect our results of operations.

 

Our hotels have an ongoing need for renovations and potentially significant capital expenditures in connection with acquisitions, repositionings and other capital improvements, some of which are mandated by applicable laws or regulations or agreements with third parties, and the costs of such renovations, repositionings or improvements may exceed our expectations or cause other problems.

 

In addition to capital expenditures required by our management, franchise and loan agreements, from time to time we will need to make capital expenditures to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to remain competitive with other hotels and to maintain the economic value of our hotels. We also may need to make significant capital improvements to hotels that we acquire. During 2018, we invested $150.8 million on capital improvements to our hotel portfolio. We expect the amount of our capital expenditures to be slightly lower in 2019. Occupancy and ADR are often affected by the maintenance and capital improvements at a hotel, especially in the event that the maintenance or improvements are not completed on schedule or if the improvements require significant closures at the hotel. The costs of capital improvements we need or choose to make could harm our financial condition and reduce amounts available for distribution to our stockholders. These capital improvements may give rise to the following additional risks, among others:

 

·

construction cost overruns and delays;

 

·

a possible shortage of available cash to fund capital improvements and the related possibility that financing for these capital improvements may not be available to us on affordable terms;

 

·

uncertainties as to market demand or a loss of market demand after capital improvements have begun;

 

·

disruption in service and room availability causing reduced demand, occupancy and rates;

 

·

possible environmental problems; and

 

·

disputes with managers or franchisors regarding our compliance with the requirements under the relevant management, operating lease or franchise agreement.

 

Because five of the 21 hotels are subject to ground, building or air leases with unaffiliated parties, termination of these leases by the lessors could cause us to lose the ability to operate these hotels altogether and incur substantial costs in restoring the premises.

 

Our rights to use the underlying land, building or air space of five of the 21 hotels are based upon our interest under long-term leases with unaffiliated parties. Pursuant to the terms of the applicable leases for these hotels, we are required to pay all rent due and comply with all other lessee obligations. As of December 31, 2018, the terms of these ground, building and air leases (including renewal options) range from approximately 25 to 79 years. Any pledge of our interest in a ground, building or air lease may also require the consent of the applicable lessor and its lenders. As a result, we may not be able to sell, assign, transfer or convey our lessee’s interest in any hotel subject to a ground, building or air lease in the future absent consent of such third parties even if such transactions may be in the best interest of our stockholders.

 

The lessors may require us, at the expiration or termination of the ground, building or air leases, to surrender or remove any improvements, alterations or additions to the land at our own expense. The leases also generally require us to restore the premises following a casualty and to apply in a specified manner any proceeds received in connection therewith. We may have to restore the premises if a material casualty, such as a fire or an act of nature, occurs and the cost thereof may exceed available insurance proceeds.

 

22


 

The failure of tenants in our hotels to make rent payments under our retail and restaurant leases may adversely affect our results of operations.

 

A portion of the space in many of our hotels is leased to third-party tenants for retail or restaurant purposes. At times, we hold security deposits in connection with each lease, which may be applied in the event that a tenant under a lease fails or is unable to make its rent payments. In the event that a tenant continually fails to make rent payments, we may be able to apply the tenant’s security deposit to recover a portion of the rents due; however, we may not be able to recover all rents due to us, which may harm our operating results. Additionally, the time and cost associated with re-leasing our retail space could negatively impact our operating results.

 

Because we are a REIT, we depend on the TRS Lessee and its subsidiaries to make rent payments to us, and their inability to do so could harm our revenue and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Due to certain federal income tax restrictions on hotel REITs, we cannot directly operate our hotel properties. Therefore, we lease our hotel properties to the TRS Lessee or one of its subsidiaries, which contracts with third-party hotel managers to manage our hotels. Our revenue and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders will depend solely upon the ability of the TRS Lessee and its subsidiaries to make rent payments under these leases. In general, under the leases with the TRS Lessee and its subsidiaries, we will receive from the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries both fixed rent and variable rent based upon a percentage of gross revenues and the number of occupied rooms. As a result, we participate in the operations of our hotels only through our share of rent paid pursuant to the leases.

 

The ability of the TRS Lessee and its subsidiaries to pay rent is affected by factors beyond its control, such as changes in general economic conditions, the level of demand for hotels and the related services of our hotels, competition in the lodging and hospitality industry, the ability to maintain and increase gross revenue at our hotels and other factors relating to the operations of our hotels.

 

Although failure on the part of the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries to materially comply with the terms of a lease (including failure to pay rent when due) would give us the right to terminate the lease, repossess the hotel and enforce the payment obligations under the lease, such steps may not provide us with any substantive relief since the TRS Lessee is our subsidiary. If we were to terminate a lease, we would then be required to find another lessee to lease the hotel or enter into a new lease with the TRS Lessee or its subsidiaries because we cannot operate hotel properties directly and remain qualified as a REIT. We cannot assure you that we would be able to find another lessee or that, if another lessee were found, we would be able to enter into a new lease on similar terms.

 

If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures in the future, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results, which could have an adverse effect on our business.

 

If our internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures are not effective, we may not be able to provide reliable financial information. If we discover deficiencies in our internal controls, we will make efforts to remediate these deficiencies; however, there is no assurance that we will be successful either in identifying deficiencies or in their remediation. Any failure to maintain effective controls in the future could adversely affect our business or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. Such non-compliance could also result in an adverse reaction in the financial marketplace due to a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements. In addition, perceptions of our business among customers, suppliers, rating agencies, lenders, investors, securities analysts and others could be adversely affected.

 

Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure

 

Provisions of Maryland law and our organizational documents may limit the ability of a third party to acquire control of our company and may serve to limit our stock price.

 

Provisions of Maryland law and our charter and bylaws could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing transactions that involve an actual or threatened change in control of us, and may have the effect of entrenching our management and members of our board of directors, regardless of performance. These provisions include the following:

 

23


 

Aggregate Stock and Common Stock Ownership Limits. In order for us to qualify as a REIT, no more than 50% of the value of outstanding shares of our stock may be owned, actually or constructively, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of each taxable year. To assure that we will not fail to qualify as a REIT under this test, subject to some exceptions, our charter prohibits any stockholder from owning beneficially or constructively more than 9.8% (in number or value, whichever is more restrictive) of the outstanding shares of our common stock or more than 9.8% of the value of the outstanding shares of our capital stock. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our capital stock in excess of the ownership limit without the consent of our board of directors will be void and could result in the shares (and all dividends thereon) being automatically transferred to a charitable trust. The board of directors has granted waivers of the aggregate stock and common stock ownership limits to ten “look through entities” such as mutual or investment funds. This ownership limitation may prevent a third party from acquiring control of us if our board of directors does not grant an exemption from the ownership limitation, even if our stockholders believe the change in control is in their best interests. These restrictions will not apply if our board of directors determines that it no longer is in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT, or that compliance with the restrictions on transfer and ownership no longer is required for us to qualify as a REIT.

 

Authority to Issue Stock. Our charter authorizes our board of directors to cause us to issue up to 500,000,000 shares of common stock and up to 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock. Our charter authorizes our board of directors to amend our charter without stockholder approval to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of any class or series of our stock that it has authority to issue, to classify or reclassify any unissued shares of our common stock or preferred stock and to set the preferences, rights and other terms of the classified or reclassified shares. Issuances of additional shares of stock may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of our company, including change of control transactions offering a premium over the market price of shares of our common stock, even if our stockholders believe that a change of control is in their interest.

 

Number of Directors, Board Vacancies, Term of Office. Under our charter and bylaws, we have elected to be subject to certain provisions of Maryland law which vest in the board of directors the exclusive right to determine the number of directors and the exclusive right, by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, to fill vacancies on the board even if the remaining directors do not constitute a quorum. Any director elected to fill a vacancy will hold office until the next annual meeting of stockholders, and until his or her successor is elected and qualifies. As a result, stockholder influence over these matters is limited. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we amended our corporate governance guidelines in 2017 to provide that the board shall be required to accept any resignation tendered by a nominee who is already serving as a director if such nominee shall have received more votes “against” or “withheld” than “for” his or her election at each of two consecutive annual meetings of stockholders for the election of directors at which a quorum was present and the number of director nominees equaled the number of directors to be elected at each such annual meeting of stockholders.

 

Limitation on Stockholder Requested Special Meetings. Our bylaws provide that our stockholders have the right to call a special meeting only upon the written request of the stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast by the stockholders at such meeting. This provision makes it more difficult for stockholders to call special meetings.

 

Advance Notice Provisions for Stockholder Nominations and Proposals. Our bylaws require advance written notice for stockholders to nominate persons for election as directors at, or to bring other business before, any meeting of our stockholders. This bylaw provision limits the ability of our stockholders to make nominations of persons for election as directors or to introduce other proposals unless we are notified and provided certain required information in a timely manner prior to the meeting.

 

Authority of our Board to Amend our Bylaws. Our bylaws may be amended, altered, repealed or rescinded (a) by our board of directors or (b) by the stockholders, by the affirmative vote of a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors, except with respect to amendments to the provision of our bylaws regarding our opt out of the Maryland Business Combination and Control Share Acquisition Acts, which must be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of votes cast by stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors.

 

Duties of Directors. Maryland law requires that a director perform his or her duties as follows: in good faith; in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation; and with the care that an ordinary prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. The duty of the directors of a Maryland corporation does not require them to: accept, recommend or respond on behalf of the corporation to any proposal by a

24


 

person seeking to acquire control of the corporation; authorize the corporation to redeem any rights under, or modify or render inapplicable, a stockholders’ rights plan; elect on behalf of the corporation to be subject to or refrain from electing on behalf of the corporation to be subject to the unsolicited takeover provisions of Maryland law; make a determination under the Maryland Business Combination Act or the Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act; or act or fail to act solely because of the effect the act or failure to act may have on an acquisition or potential acquisition of control of the corporation or the amount or type of consideration that may be offered or paid to the stockholders in an acquisition. Moreover, under Maryland law the act of the directors of a Maryland corporation relating to or affecting an acquisition or potential acquisition of control is not subject to any higher duty or greater scrutiny than is applied to any other act of a director. Maryland law also contains a statutory presumption that an act of a director of a Maryland corporation satisfies the applicable standards of conduct for directors under Maryland law. These provisions increase the ability of our directors to respond to a takeover and may make it more difficult for a third party to effect an unsolicited takeover.

 

Unsolicited Takeover Provisions. Provisions of Maryland law permit the board of a corporation with a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and at least three independent directors, without stockholder approval, to implement possible takeover defenses, such as a classified board or a two-thirds vote requirement for removal of a director. These provisions, if implemented, may make it more difficult for a third party to effect a takeover. In April 2013, however, we amended our charter to prohibit us from dividing directors into classes unless such action is first approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on the matter by stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors.

 

We rely on our senior management team, the loss of whom could cause us to incur costs and harm our business.

 

Our continued success will depend to a significant extent on the efforts and abilities of our senior management team. These individuals are important to our business and strategy and to the extent that any of them departs, we could incur severance or other costs. The loss of any of our executives could also disrupt our business and cause us to incur additional costs to hire replacement personnel.

 

Risks Related to the Lodging and Real Estate Industries

 

A number of factors, many of which are common to the lodging industry and beyond our control, could affect our business, including the following:

 

·

general economic and business conditions, including a U.S. recession, changes in the European Union or global economic slowdown, which may diminish the desire for leisure travel or the need for business travel, as well as any type of flu or disease-related pandemic, affecting the lodging and travel industry, internationally, nationally and locally;

 

·

threat of terrorism, terrorist events, civil unrest, government shutdowns, airline strikes or other factors that may affect travel patterns and reduce the number of business and commercial travelers and tourists;

 

·

volatility in the capital markets and the effect on the lodging demand or our ability to obtain capital on favorable terms or at all;

 

·

increased competition from other hotels in our markets;

 

·

new hotel supply, or alternative lodging options such as timeshare, vacation rentals or sharing services such as Airbnb, in our markets, which could harm our occupancy levels and revenue at our hotels;

 

·

unexpected changes in business, commercial and leisure travel and tourism;

 

·

increases in operating costs due to inflation, labor costs, workers’ compensation and health-care related costs (including the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or its potential replacement), utility costs, insurance and unanticipated costs such as acts of nature and their consequences and other factors that may not be offset by increased room rates;

 

25


 

·

changes in interest rates and in the availability, cost and terms of debt financing and other changes in our business that adversely affect our ability to comply with covenants in our debt financing;

 

·

changes in our relationships with, and the requirements, performance and reputation of, our management companies and franchisors; and

 

·

changes in governmental laws and regulations, fiscal policies and zoning ordinances and the related costs of compliance with laws and regulations, fiscal policies and ordinances.

 

These factors could harm our financial condition, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

The hotel business is seasonal and seasonal variations in revenue at our hotels can be expected to cause quarterly fluctuations in our revenue.

 

As is typical of the lodging industry, we experience some seasonality in our business. Revenue for certain of our hotels is generally affected by seasonal business patterns (e.g., the first quarter is strong in Hawaii, Key West and Orlando, the second quarter is strong for the Mid-Atlantic business hotels, and the fourth quarter is strong for Hawaii, Key West and New York City). Quarterly revenue also may be adversely affected by renovations and repositionings, our managers’ effectiveness in generating business and by events beyond our control, such as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or alerts, civil unrest, public health concerns, government shutdowns, airline strikes or reduced airline capacity, economic factors and other considerations affecting travel. Seasonal fluctuations in revenue may affect our ability to make distributions to our stockholders or to fund our debt service.

 

The growth of alternative reservation channels could adversely affect our business and profitability.

 

A significant percentage of hotel rooms for individual guests is booked through internet travel intermediaries. Many of our managers and franchisors contract with such intermediaries and pay them various commissions and transaction fees for sales of our rooms through their systems. If such bookings increase, these intermediaries may be able to obtain higher commissions, reduced room rates or other significant concessions from us or our franchisees. Although our managers and franchisors may have established agreements with many of these intermediaries that limit transaction fees for hotels, there can be no assurance that our managers and franchisors will be able to renegotiate such agreements upon their expiration with terms as favorable as the provisions that exist today. Moreover, hospitality intermediaries generally employ aggressive marketing strategies, including expending significant resources for online and television advertising campaigns to drive consumers to their websites. As a result, consumers may develop brand loyalties to the intermediaries’ offered brands, websites and reservations systems rather than to brands of our managers and franchisors. If this happens, our business and profitability may be significantly negatively impacted.

 

In addition, in general, internet travel intermediaries have traditionally competed to attract individual consumers or “transient” business rather than group and convention business. However, hospitality intermediaries have recently grown their business to include marketing to large group and convention business. If that growth continues, it could both divert group and convention business away from our hotels, and it could also increase our cost of sales for group and convention business.

 

In an effort to lure business away from internet travel intermediaries and to drive business on their own websites, our managers and franchisors may discount the room rates available on their websites even further, which may also significantly impact our business and profitability.

 

The illiquidity of real estate investments and the lack of alternative uses of hotel properties could significantly limit our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our hotels and harm our financial condition.

 

Because commercial real estate investments are relatively illiquid, our ability to promptly sell one or more of our hotels in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions is limited. The real estate market, including our hotels, is affected by many factors, such as general economic conditions, availability of financing, interest rates and other factors, including supply and demand, that are beyond our control. We may not be able to sell any of our hotels on favorable terms. It may take a long time to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a hotel if we want to sell. Should

26


 

we decide to sell a hotel during the term of that particular hotel’s management agreement, we may have to pay termination fees, which could be substantial, to the applicable management company.

 

In addition, hotels may not be readily converted to alternative uses if they were to become unprofitable due to competition, age of improvements, decreased demand or other factors. The conversion of a hotel to alternative uses would also generally require substantial capital expenditures and may give rise to substantial payments to our franchisors, management companies and lenders.

 

We may be required to expend funds to correct defects or to make improvements before a hotel can be sold. We may not have funds available to correct those defects or to make those improvements and, as a result, our ability to sell the hotel would be restricted. In acquiring a hotel, we may agree to lock-out provisions that materially restrict us from selling that hotel for a period of time or impose other restrictions on us, such as a limitation on the amount of debt that can be placed or repaid on that hotel to address specific concerns of sellers. These lock-out provisions would restrict our ability to sell a hotel. These factors and any others that would impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our hotels could harm our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Claims by persons relating to our properties could affect the attractiveness of our hotels or cause us to incur additional expenses.

 

We could incur liabilities resulting from loss or injury to our hotels or to persons at our hotels. These losses could be attributable to us or result from actions taken by a hotel management company. If claims are made against a management company, it may seek to pass those expenses through to us. Claims such as these, whether or not they have merit, could harm the reputation of a hotel or cause us to incur expenses to the extent of insurance deductibles or losses in excess of policy limitations, which could harm our results of operations.

 

We have in the past and could in the future incur liabilities resulting from claims by hotel employees. While these claims are, for the most part, covered by insurance, some claims (such as claims for unpaid overtime wages) generally are not insured or insurable. These claims, whether or not they have merit, could harm the reputation of a hotel or cause us to incur losses which could harm our results of operations.

 

Uninsured and underinsured losses could harm our financial condition, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Various types of litigation losses and catastrophic losses, such as losses due to wars, terrorist acts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, pollution, climate change or other environmental matters, generally are either uninsurable or not economically insurable, or may be subject to insurance coverage limitations, such as large deductibles or co-payments. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, we could lose all or a portion of the capital we have invested in a hotel, as well as the anticipated future revenue from the hotel. In that event, we might nevertheless remain obligated for any notes payable or other financial obligations related to the property, in addition to obligations to our ground lessors, franchisors and managers.

 

Of the 21 hotels, six are located in California, which has been historically at greater risk to certain acts of nature (such as fires, earthquakes and mudslides) than other states. In addition, a total of five hotels are located in Florida, Hawaii and Louisiana, which each have an increased potential to experience hurricanes. In the event of a catastrophic loss, our insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover the full current market value or replacement cost of our lost investment. Inflation, changes in building codes and ordinances, environmental considerations and other factors might also keep us from using insurance proceeds to replace or renovate a hotel after it has been damaged or destroyed. Under those circumstances, the insurance proceeds we receive might be inadequate to restore our economic position on the damaged or destroyed hotel.

 

Property and casualty insurance, including coverage for terrorism, can be difficult or expensive to obtain. When our current insurance policies expire, we may encounter difficulty in obtaining or renewing property or casualty insurance on our hotels at the same levels of coverage and under similar terms. Such insurance may be more limited and for some catastrophic risks (e.g., earthquake, fire, flood and terrorism) may not be generally available at current levels. Even if we are able to renew our policies or to obtain new policies at levels and with limitations consistent with our current policies, we cannot be sure that we will be able to obtain such insurance at premium rates that are commercially reasonable. If we

27


 

are unable to obtain adequate insurance on our hotels for certain risks, it could cause us to be in default under specific covenants on certain of our indebtedness or other contractual commitments we have to our ground lessors, franchisors and managers which require us to maintain adequate insurance on our properties to protect against the risk of loss. If this were to occur, or if we were unable to obtain adequate insurance and our properties experienced damages which would otherwise have been covered by insurance, it could harm our financial condition and results of operations.

 

In addition, there are other risks, such as certain environmental hazards, that may be deemed to fall completely outside the general coverage limits of our policies or may be uninsurable or too expensive to justify coverage. We also may encounter challenges with an insurance provider regarding whether it will pay a particular claim that we believe to be covered under our policy.

 

We face possible risks associated with the physical effects of climate change.

 

We are subject to the risks associated with the physical effects of climate change, which can include more frequent or severe storms, hurricanes, flooding, droughts and fires, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our hotels, operating results and cash flows. To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, our coastal markets could experience increases in storm intensity and rising sea-levels causing damage to our hotels. As a result, we could become subject to significant losses and/or repair costs that may or may not be fully covered by insurance. Other markets may experience prolonged variations in temperature or precipitation that may limit access to the water needed to operate our hotels or significantly increase energy costs, which may subject those hotels to additional regulatory burdens, such as limitations on water usage or stricter energy efficiency standards. Climate change also may affect our business by increasing the cost of (or making unavailable) property insurance on terms we find acceptable in areas most vulnerable to such events, increasing operating costs at our hotels, such as the cost of water or energy, and requiring us to expend funds as we seek to repair and protect our hotels against such risks. There can be no assurance that climate change will not have a material adverse effect on our hotels, operating results or cash flows.

 

Terrorist attacks and military conflicts may adversely affect the hospitality industry.

 

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and subsequent events underscore the possibility that large public facilities or economically important assets could become the target of terrorist attacks in the future. In particular, properties that are well-known or are located in concentrated business sectors in major cities may be subject to higher-than-normal risk of terrorist attacks. The occurrence or the possibility of terrorist attacks or military conflicts could:

 

·

cause damage to one or more of our properties that may not be fully covered by insurance to the value of the damages;

 

·

cause all or portions of affected properties to be shut down for prolonged periods, resulting in a loss of income;

 

·

generally reduce travel to affected areas for tourism and business or adversely affect the willingness of customers to stay in or avail themselves of the services of the affected properties;

 

·

expose us to a risk of monetary claims arising out of death, injury or damage to property caused by any such attacks; and

 

·

result in higher costs for security and insurance premiums or diminish the availability of insurance coverage for losses related to terrorist attacks, particularly for properties in target areas, all of which could adversely affect our results.

 

We may not be able to recover fully under our existing terrorism insurance for losses caused by some types of terrorist acts, and federal terrorism legislation does not ensure that we will be able to obtain terrorism insurance in adequate amounts or at acceptable premium levels in the future.

 

We obtain terrorism insurance as part of our all-risk property insurance program. However, our all-risk policies have limitations such as per occurrence limits and sublimits that might have to be shared proportionally across participating hotels under certain loss scenarios. Also, all-risk insurers only have to provide terrorism coverage to the extent mandated by

28


 

the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (the “TRIA”) for “certified” acts of terrorism — namely those which are committed on behalf of non-United States persons or interests. Furthermore, we may not have full replacement coverage for all of our properties for acts of terrorism committed on behalf of United States persons or interests (“noncertified” events), as well as for “certified” events, as our terrorism coverage for such incidents is subject to sublimits and/or annual aggregate limits. In addition, property damage related to war and to nuclear, biological and chemical incidents is excluded under our policies. To the extent we have property damage directly related to fire following a nuclear, biological or chemical incident, however, our coverage may extend to reimburse us for our losses. While the TRIA provides for the reimbursement of insurers for losses resulting from nuclear, biological and chemical perils, the TRIA does not require insurers to offer coverage for these perils and, to date, insurers are not willing to provide this coverage, even with government reinsurance. As a result of the above, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the extent and adequacy of terrorism coverage that will be available to protect our interests in the event of future terrorist attacks that impact our properties.

 

Laws and governmental regulations may restrict the ways in which we use our hotel properties and increase the cost of compliance with such regulations. Noncompliance with such regulations could subject us to penalties, loss of value of our properties or civil damages.

 

Our hotel properties are subject to various federal, state and local laws relating to the environment, fire and safety and access and use by disabled persons. Under these laws, courts and government agencies have the authority to require us, if we are the owner of a contaminated property, to clean up the property, even if we did not know of or were not responsible for the contamination. These laws also apply to persons who owned a property at the time it became contaminated. In addition to the costs of cleanup, environmental contamination can affect the value of a property and, therefore, an owner’s ability to borrow funds using the property as collateral or to sell the property. Under such environmental laws, courts and government agencies also have the authority to require that a person who sent waste to a waste disposal facility, such as a landfill or an incinerator, pay for the clean-up of that facility if it becomes contaminated and threatens human health or the environment.

 

Furthermore, various court decisions have established that third parties may recover damages for injury caused by property contamination. For instance, a person exposed to asbestos while staying in or working at a hotel may seek to recover damages for injuries suffered. Additionally, some of these environmental laws restrict the use of a property or place conditions on various activities. For example, some laws require a business using chemicals (such as swimming pool chemicals at a hotel) to manage them carefully and to notify local officials that the chemicals are being used.

 

We could be responsible for the types of costs discussed above. The costs to clean up a contaminated property, to defend against a claim, or to comply with environmental laws could be material and could reduce the funds available for distribution to our stockholders. Future laws or regulations may impose material environmental liabilities on us, or the current environmental condition of our hotel properties may be affected by the condition of the properties in the vicinity of our hotels (such as the presence of leaking underground storage tanks) or by third parties unrelated to us.

 

Our hotel properties are also subject to the ADA. Under the ADA, all public accommodations must meet various Federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons. Compliance with the ADA’s requirements could require removal of access barriers and non-compliance could result in the U.S. government imposing fines or in private litigants’ winning damages. If we are required to make substantial modifications to our hotels, whether to comply with the ADA or other changes in governmental rules and regulations, our financial condition, results of operations and the ability to make distributions to our stockholders could be harmed. In addition, we are required to operate our hotel properties in compliance with fire and safety regulations, building codes and other land use regulations, as they may be adopted by governmental agencies and become applicable to our properties.

 

Tax Risks

 

If we fail to qualify as a REIT, our distributions will not be deductible by us and our income will be subject to federal and state taxation, reducing our cash available for distribution.

 

We are organized as a REIT under the Code, which affords us material tax advantages. The requirements for qualifying as a REIT, however, are complex. If we fail to meet these requirements and certain relief provisions do not apply, our distributions will not be deductible by us and we will have to pay a corporate federal and state level tax on our income. This would substantially reduce our cash available to pay distributions and the yield on your investment in our

29


 

common stock. In addition, such a tax liability might cause us to borrow funds, liquidate some of our investments or take other steps which could negatively affect our results of operations. Moreover, if our REIT status is terminated because of our failure to meet a technical REIT requirement, we would generally be disqualified from electing treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year in which REIT status is lost. At any time, new laws, interpretations or court decisions may change the federal tax laws or the federal income tax consequences of our qualification as a REIT. Moreover, our charter provides that our board of directors may revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without the approval of our stockholders, if it determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT.

 

Even as a REIT, we may become subject to federal, state or local taxes on our income or property, reducing our cash available for distribution.

 

Even as a REIT, we may become subject to federal income taxes and related state taxes. For example, if we have net income from a “prohibited transaction,” that income will be subject to a 100% tax. A “prohibited transaction” is, in general, the sale or other disposition of inventory or property, other than foreclosure property, held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. To qualify as a REIT, we generally must distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income each year, determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding net capital gains, and we will be subject to regular corporate income tax to the extent that we distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid) each year. In addition, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the amount, if any, by which distributions paid by us in any calendar year are less than the sum of 85% of our ordinary income, 95% of our capital gain net income and 100% of our undistributed income from prior years. We may not be able to make sufficient distributions to avoid paying income tax or excise taxes applicable to REITs. We may also decide to retain income we earn from the sale or other disposition of our property and pay federal income tax directly on that income. In that event, our stockholders would be treated as if they earned that income and paid the tax on it directly. However, stockholders that are tax-exempt, such as charities or qualified pension plans, would have no benefit from their deemed payment of that tax liability. We may also be subject to federal and/or state income taxes when using net operating loss carryforwards to offset current taxable income, or when changing the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities.

 

The TRS Lessee is subject to tax as a regular corporation. In addition, we may also be subject to state and local taxes on our income or property at the level of the Operating Partnership or at the level of the other companies through which we indirectly own our assets. In the normal course of business, entities through which we own or operate real estate either have undergone, or may undergo future tax audits. Should we receive a material tax deficiency notice in the future which requires us to incur additional expense, our earnings may be negatively impacted. There can be no assurance that future audits will not occur with increased frequency or that the ultimate result of such audits will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to satisfy the REIT requirements, or that it will be in our best interests to continue to do so.

 

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends.

 

The maximum tax rate applicable to “qualified dividend income” payable to U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates is 20%. Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for these reduced rates. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “TCJA”), however, U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates generally may deduct up to 20% of the ordinary dividends (e.g., dividends not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income) received from a REIT for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026. Although this deduction reduces the effective tax rate applicable to certain dividends paid by REITs (generally to 29.6% assuming the shareholder is subject to the 37% maximum rate), such tax rate is still higher than the tax rate applicable to corporate dividends that constitute qualified dividend income. Accordingly, investors who are individuals, trusts and estates may perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the shares of REITs.

 

If the leases of our hotels to the TRS Lessee are not respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes, we would fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income tests annually, under which specified percentages of our gross income must be passive income. Passive income includes rent paid pursuant to our operating leases between the TRS Lessee and its subsidiaries and the Operating Partnership. These rents constitute substantially all of our gross income. For the rent to qualify for purposes of the gross income tests, the leases must be respected as true leases for federal income tax

30


 

purposes and not be treated as service contracts, joint ventures or some other type of arrangement. If the leases are not respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes, we would fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

We may be subject to taxes in the event our operating leases are held not to be on an arm’s-length basis.

 

In the event that leases between us and the TRS Lessee are held not to have been made on an arm’s-length basis, we or the TRS Lessee could be subject to income taxes. In order for rents paid to us by the TRS Lessee to qualify as “rents from real property,” such rents may not be based on net income or profits. Our leases provide for a base rent plus a variable rent based on occupied rooms and departmental revenues rather than on net income or profits. If the IRS determines that the rents charged under our leases with the TRS Lessee are excessive, the deductibility thereof may be challenged, and to the extent rents exceed an arm’s-length amount, we could be subject to a 100% excise tax on “re-determined rent” or “re-determined deductions.” While we believe that our rents and other transactions with the TRS Lessee are based on arm’s-length amounts and reflect normal business practices, there can be no assurance that the IRS would agree.

 

The TRS Lessee is subject to special rules that may result in increased taxes.

 

Several Code provisions ensure that a TRS is subject to an appropriate level of federal income taxation. For example, the REIT has to pay a 100% penalty tax on some payments that it receives if the economic arrangements between us and the TRS Lessee are not comparable to similar arrangements between unrelated parties. The IRS may successfully assert that the economic arrangements of any of our intercompany transactions, including the hotel leases, are not comparable to similar arrangements between unrelated parties.

 

We may be required to pay a penalty tax upon the sale of a hotel.

 

The federal income tax provisions applicable to REITs provide that any gain realized by a REIT on the sale of property held as inventory or other property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business is treated as income from a “prohibited transaction” that is subject to a 100% penalty tax. Under current law, unless a sale of real property qualifies for a safe harbor, the question of whether the sale of a hotel (or other property) constitutes the sale of property held primarily for sale to customers is generally a question of the facts and circumstances regarding a particular transaction. We may make sales that do not satisfy the requirements of the safe harbors or the IRS may successfully assert that one or more of our sales are prohibited transactions and, therefore, we may be required to pay a penalty tax.

 

We may be subject to corporate level income tax on certain built-in gains.

 

We may acquire properties in the future from C corporations, in which we must adopt the C corporation’s tax basis in the acquired asset as our tax basis. If the asset’s fair market value at the time of the acquisition exceeds its tax basis (a “built-in gain”), and we sell that asset within five years of the date on which we acquire it, then we generally will have to pay tax on the built-in gain at the regular U.S. federal corporate income tax rate.

 

If a transaction intended to qualify as a Section 1031 Exchange is later determined to be taxable, we may face adverse consequences, and if the laws applicable to such transactions are amended or repealed, we may not be able to dispose of properties on a tax deferred basis.

 

From time to time we may dispose of properties in transactions that are intended to qualify as tax deferred exchanges under Section 1031 of the Code (a “Section 1031 Exchange”). If the qualification of a disposition as a valid Section 1031 Exchange is successfully challenged by the IRS, the disposition may be treated as a taxable exchange. In such case, our taxable income and earnings and profits would increase as would the amount of distributions we are required to make to satisfy the REIT distribution requirements. As a result, we may be required to make additional distributions or, in lieu of that, pay additional corporate income tax, including interest and penalties. To satisfy these obligations, we may be required to borrow funds. In addition, the payment of taxes could cause us to have less cash available to distribute to our stockholders. Moreover, it is possible that legislation could be enacted that could modify or repeal the laws with respect to Section 1031 Exchanges, which could make it more difficult, or not possible, for us to dispose of properties on a tax deferred basis.

 

31


 

Legislative or other actions affecting REITs could have a negative effect on us.

 

The rules dealing with federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury Department”). Changes to the tax laws, with or without retroactive application, could adversely affect our investors or us. We cannot predict how changes in the tax laws might affect our investors or us. New legislation, Treasury Regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions could significantly and negatively affect our ability to qualify as a REIT or the federal income tax consequences of such qualification, or the federal income tax consequences of an investment in us. Also, the law relating to the tax treatment of other entities, or an investment in other entities, could change, making an investment in such other entities more attractive relative to an investment in a REIT.

 

The TCJA significantly changed the U.S. federal income taxation of U.S. businesses and their owners, including REITs and their stockholders. Changes made by the TCJA that could affect the Company and its stockholders include:

 

·

temporarily reducing individual U.S. federal income tax rates on ordinary income; the highest individual U.S. federal income tax rate has been reduced from 39.6% to 37% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026;

 

·

permanently eliminating the progressive corporate tax rate structure, which previously imposed a maximum corporate tax rate of 35%, and replacing it with a flat corporate tax rate of 21%;

 

·

permitting a deduction for certain pass-through business income, including dividends received by our stockholders from us that are not designated by us as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income, which will allow individuals, trusts, and estates to deduct up to 20% of such amounts for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026;

 

·

reducing the highest rate of withholding with respect to our distributions to non-U.S. stockholders that are treated as attributable to gains from the sale or exchange of U.S. real property interests from 35% to 21%;

 

·

limiting our deduction for net operating losses arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 to 80% of our REIT taxable income (prior to the application of the dividends paid deduction);

 

·

generally limiting the deduction for net business interest expense in excess of 30% of a business’s “adjusted taxable income,” except for taxpayers that engage in certain real estate businesses (including most equity REITs) and elect out of this rule (provided that such electing taxpayers must use an alternative depreciation system with longer depreciation periods); and

 

·

eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax.

 

The TCJA is unclear in many respects and could be subject to potential amendments and technical corrections, as well as interpretations and implementing regulations by the Treasury Department and IRS, any of which could lessen or increase the impact of the legislation. In addition, it is unclear how these U.S. federal income tax changes will affect state and local taxation, which often uses federal taxable income as a starting point for computing state and local tax liabilities.

 

While some of the changes made by the TCJA may adversely affect the Company in one or more reporting periods and prospectively, other changes may be beneficial on a going forward basis.

 

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

 

The market price of our equity securities may vary substantially.

 

The trading prices of equity securities issued by REITs may be affected by changes in market interest rates and other factors. During 2018, our closing daily stock price fluctuated from a low of $12.91 to a high of $17.52. One of the factors that may influence the price of our common stock or preferred stock in public trading markets is the annual yield from distributions on our common stock or preferred stock, if any, as compared to yields on other financial instruments. An

32


 

increase in market interest rates, or a decrease in our distributions to stockholders, may lead prospective purchasers of our stock to demand a higher annual yield, which could reduce the market price of our equity securities.

 

In addition to the risk factors discussed, other factors that could affect the market price of our equity securities include the following:

 

·

a U.S. recession impacting the market for common equity generally;

 

·

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly or annual results of operations;

 

·

changes in market valuations or investment return requirements of companies in the hotel or real estate industries;

 

·

changes in expectations of our future financial performance, changes in our estimates by securities analysts or failures to achieve those expectations or estimates;

 

·

the trading volumes of our stock;

 

·

additional issuances of our common stock or other securities, including the issuance of our preferred stock;

 

·

the addition or departure of board members or senior management;

 

·

disputes with any of our lenders or managers or franchisors; and

 

·

announcements by us, our competitors or other industry participants of acquisitions, investments or strategic alliances.

 

Our distributions to stockholders may vary.

 

During the past three years, we paid quarterly cash dividends to the stockholders of our Series D cumulative redeemable preferred stock (“Series D preferred stock”), Series E cumulative redeemable preferred stock (“Series E preferred stock”), Series F cumulative redeemable preferred stock (“Series F preferred stock”) and our common stock as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preferred Stock

 

 

 

 

 

Series D

 

Series E

 

Series F

 

Common Stock

 

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January

$

0.500000

 

$

 

$

 

$

1.26

(1)

April

$

0.527778

 

$

 

$

 

$

0.05

 

July

$

 

$

0.535700

 

$

0.201600

 

$

0.05

 

October

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.53

 

April

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

July

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

October

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.58

 

April

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

July

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

October

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.05

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January

$

 

$

0.434375

 

$

0.403125

 

$

0.54

 

 

(1)

Paid in a combination of cash and shares of our common stock, pursuant to elections by individual stockholders.

 

Future distributions will be authorized and determined by our board of directors in its sole discretion from time to time and will be dependent upon a number of factors, including long-term operating projections, expected capital

33


 

requirements and risks affecting our business. Furthermore, our board of directors may elect to pay dividends on our common stock by any means allowed under the Code, including a combination of cash and shares of our common stock. We cannot assure you as to the timing or amount of future dividends; however, we expect to continue to pay a regular dividend of $0.05 per share of common stock throughout 2019. To the extent that expected regular quarterly dividends for 2019 do not satisfy our annual distribution requirements, we expect to satisfy the annual distribution requirement by paying a “catch up” dividend in January 2020, which dividend may be paid in cash and/or shares of common stock. We believe that investors consider the relationship of dividend yield to market interest rates to be an important factor in deciding whether to buy or sell shares of a REIT. If market interest rates increase, prospective purchasers of REIT shares may expect a higher dividend rate. Thus, higher market interest rates could cause the market price of our shares to decrease.

 

Distributions on our common stock may be made in the form of cash, stock, or a combination of both.

 

As a REIT, we are required to distribute at least 90% of our taxable income to our stockholders. Typically, we generate cash for distributions through our operations, the disposition of assets, or the incurrence of additional debt. We have elected in the past, and may elect in the future, to pay dividends on our common stock in cash, shares of common stock or a combination of cash and shares of common stock. Changes in our dividend policy could adversely affect the price of our stock.

 

The IRS may disallow our use of stock dividends to satisfy our distribution requirements.

 

We may elect to satisfy our REIT distribution requirements in the form of shares of our common stock along with cash. We have previously received private letter rulings from the IRS, including for tax year 2015, regarding the treatment of these distributions for purposes of satisfying our REIT distribution requirements. All dividends subsequent to tax year 2015 have been paid in cash. In the future, however, we may make cash/common stock distributions prior to receiving a private letter ruling. Should the IRS disallow our future use of cash/common stock dividends, the distribution would not qualify for purposes of meeting our distribution requirements, and we would need to make additional all cash distributions to satisfy the distribution requirement through the use of the deficiency dividend procedures outlined in the Code.

 

Shares of our common stock that are or become available for sale could affect the share price.

 

We have in the past, and may in the future, issue additional shares of common stock to raise the capital necessary to finance hotel acquisitions, fund capital expenditures, redeem our preferred stock, repay indebtedness or for other corporate purposes. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock, or the perception that sales could occur, could adversely affect prevailing market prices for our common stock. In addition, we have reserved approximately 12 million shares of our common stock for issuance under the Company’s long-term incentive plan, and 4,419,784 shares remained available for future issuance as of December 31, 2018.

 

Our earnings and cash distributions will affect the market price of shares of our common stock.

 

We believe that the market value of a REIT’s equity securities is based primarily on the value of the REIT’s owned real estate, capital structure, debt levels and perception of the REIT’s growth potential and its current and potential future cash distributions, whether from operations, sales, acquisitions, development or refinancings. Because our market value is based on a combination of factors, shares of our common stock may trade at prices that are higher or lower than the net value per share of our underlying assets. To the extent we retain operating cash flow for investment purposes, working capital reserves or other purposes rather than distributing the cash flow to stockholders, these retained funds, while increasing the value of our underlying assets, may negatively impact the market price of our common stock. Our failure to meet our expectations or the market’s expectation with regard to future earnings and cash distributions would likely adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

34


 

Item 2.Properties

 

The following table sets forth additional summary information with respect to the 21 hotels we owned as of December 31, 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel

    

City

    

State

    

Chain Scale
Segment (1)

    

Service
Category

    

Rooms

  

Manager

Boston Park Plaza

 

Boston

 

Massachusetts

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

1,060

 

Highgate

Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles (2)

 

Los Angeles

 

California

 

Upscale

 

Select Service

 

187

 

IHR

Embassy Suites Chicago

 

Chicago

 

Illinois

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

368

 

Crestline

Embassy Suites La Jolla

 

San Diego

 

California

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

340

 

Hilton

Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile

 

Chicago

 

Illinois

 

Upscale

 

Full Service

 

361

 

Crestline

Hilton New Orleans St. Charles

 

New Orleans

 

Louisiana

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

252

 

IHR

Hilton San Diego Bayfront (2) (3)

 

San Diego

 

California

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

1,190

 

Hilton

Hilton Times Square (2)

 

New York City

 

New York

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

478

 

Highgate

Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile (2)

 

Chicago

 

Illinois

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

419

 

Davidson

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

 

San Francisco

 

California

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

804

 

Hyatt

JW Marriott New Orleans (2)

 

New Orleans

 

Louisiana

 

Luxury

 

Full Service

 

501

 

Marriott

Marriott Boston Long Wharf

 

Boston

 

Massachusetts

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

415

 

Marriott

Marriott Portland

 

Portland

 

Oregon

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

249

 

IHR

Oceans Edge Resort & Marina

 

Key West

 

Florida

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

175

 

Singh

Renaissance Harborplace

 

Baltimore

 

Maryland

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

622

 

Marriott

Renaissance Los Angeles Airport

 

Los Angeles

 

California

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

502

 

Marriott

Renaissance Long Beach

 

Long Beach

 

California

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

374

 

Marriott

Renaissance Orlando at Sea World ® 

 

Orlando

 

Florida

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

781

 

Marriott

Renaissance Washington DC

 

Washington, DC

 

District of Columbia

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

807

 

Marriott

Renaissance Westchester

 

White Plains

 

New York

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

348

 

Highgate

Wailea Beach Resort

 

Wailea

 

Hawaii

 

Upper Upscale

 

Full Service

 

547

 

Marriott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total number of rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10,780

 

 


(1)

As defined by STR, Inc.

(2)

Subject to a ground, building or air lease with an unaffiliated third party.

(3)

75% ownership interest.

 

 

Item 3.Legal Proceedings

 

We are involved from time to time in various claims and legal actions in the ordinary course of our business. We do not believe that the resolution of any such pending legal matters will have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations when resolved.

 

Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable.

PART II

 

Item 5.Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SHO.”

 

As of February 7, 2019, we had approximately 22 holders of record of our common stock. However, because many of the shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we believe there are substantially more beneficial holders of our common stock than record holders. In order to comply with certain requirements related to our qualification as a REIT, our charter limits the number of common shares that may be owned by

35


 

any single person or affiliated group to 9.8% of the outstanding common shares, subject to the ability of our board to waive this limitation under certain conditions.

 

Information relating to compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance is set forth in Part III, Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Fourth Quarter 2018 Purchases of Equity Securities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

 

 

    

    

    

Maximum Number (or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number of

 

Appropriate Dollar

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Shares Purchased

 

Value) of Shares that

 

 

 

Total Number

 

    

 

 

as Part of Publicly

 

 May Yet Be Purchased 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Average Price

 

Announced Plans

 

Under the Plans or

 

Period

 

Purchased

 

Paid per Share

 

or Programs

 

Programs

 

October 1, 2018 — October 31, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2018 — November 30, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2018 — December 31, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 —

 

$

300,000,000

(1)

 

(1)

On February 17, 2017, the Company’s board of directors authorized a share repurchase plan to acquire up to $300.0 million of the Company’s common and preferred stock. As of December 31, 2018, no shares of either the Company’s common or preferred stock have been repurchased. Future purchases will depend on various factors, including the Company’s capital needs, as well as the Company’s common and preferred stock price.

36


 

Item 6.Selected Financial Data

 

The following table sets forth selected financial information for the Company that has been derived from the consolidated financial statements and notes. This information should be read together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

 

Operating Data ($ in thousands):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVENUES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room

 

$

799,369

 

$

829,320

 

$

824,340

 

$

874,117

 

$

811,709

 

Food and beverage

 

 

284,668

 

 

296,933

 

 

294,415

 

 

293,892

 

 

259,358

 

Other operating

 

 

75,016

 

 

67,385

 

 

70,585

 

 

81,171

 

 

70,931

 

Total revenues

 

 

1,159,053

 

 

1,193,638

 

 

1,189,340

 

 

1,249,180

 

 

1,141,998

 

OPERATING EXPENSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room

 

 

210,204

 

 

213,301

 

 

211,947

 

 

224,035

 

 

214,899

 

Food and beverage

 

 

193,486

 

 

201,225

 

 

204,102

 

 

204,932

 

 

180,053

 

Other operating

 

 

17,169

 

 

16,392

 

 

16,684

 

 

21,335

 

 

21,012

 

Advertising and promotion

 

 

55,523

 

 

58,572

 

 

60,086

 

 

61,892

 

 

54,992

 

Repairs and maintenance

 

 

43,111

 

 

46,298

 

 

44,307

 

 

46,557

 

 

45,901

 

Utilities

 

 

29,324

 

 

30,419

 

 

30,424

 

 

34,543

 

 

34,141

 

Franchise costs

 

 

35,423

 

 

36,681

 

 

36,647

 

 

40,096

 

 

38,271

 

Property tax, ground lease and insurance

 

 

82,414

 

 

83,716

 

 

82,979

 

 

94,967

 

 

84,665

 

Other property-level expenses

 

 

132,419

 

 

138,525

 

 

142,742

 

 

142,332

 

 

126,737

 

Corporate overhead

 

 

30,247

 

 

28,817

 

 

25,991

 

 

33,339

 

 

28,739

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

146,449

 

 

158,634

 

 

163,016

 

 

164,716

 

 

155,845

 

Impairment loss

 

 

1,394

 

 

40,053

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

977,163

 

 

1,052,633

 

 

1,018,925

 

 

1,068,744

 

 

985,255

 

Gain on sale of assets

 

 

116,961

 

 

45,474

 

 

18,413

 

 

226,217

 

 

 —

 

Operating income

 

 

298,851

 

 

186,479

 

 

188,828

 

 

406,653

 

 

156,743

 

Interest and other income

 

 

10,500

 

 

4,340

 

 

1,800

 

 

3,885

 

 

3,479

 

Interest expense

 

 

(47,690)

 

 

(51,766)

 

 

(50,283)

 

 

(66,516)

 

 

(72,315)

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

(835)

 

 

(824)

 

 

(284)

 

 

(2,964)

 

 

(4,638)

 

Income before income taxes and discontinued operations

 

 

260,826

 

 

138,229

 

 

140,061

 

 

341,058

 

 

83,269

 

Income tax (provision) benefit, net

 

 

(1,767)

 

 

7,775

 

 

616

 

 

(1,434)

 

 

(179)

 

Income from continuing operations

 

 

259,059

 

 

146,004

 

 

140,677

 

 

339,624

 

 

83,090

 

Income from discontinued operations, net of tax

 

 

 —

 

 

7,000

 

 

 —

 

 

15,895

 

 

4,849

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NET INCOME

 

 

259,059

 

 

153,004

 

 

140,677

 

 

355,519

 

 

87,939

 

Income from consolidated joint ventures attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

(8,614)

 

 

(7,628)

 

 

(6,480)

 

 

(8,164)

 

 

(6,708)

 

Preferred stock dividends and redemption charge

 

 

(12,830)

 

 

(12,830)

 

 

(15,964)

 

 

(9,200)

 

 

(9,200)

 

INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO COMMON STOCKHOLDERS

 

$

237,615

 

$

132,546

 

$

118,233

 

$

338,155

 

$

72,031

 

Income from continuing operations attributable to common stockholders per diluted common share

 

$

1.05

 

$

0.56

 

$

0.55

 

$

1.54

 

$

0.34

 

Distributions declared per common share

 

$

0.69

 

$

0.73

 

$

0.68

 

$

1.41

 

$

0.51

 

Balance Sheet Data ($ in thousands):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment in hotel properties, net (1)

 

$

3,030,998

 

$

3,106,066

 

$

3,158,219

 

$

3,230,852

 

$

3,542,155

 

Total assets

 

$

3,972,833

 

$

3,857,812

 

$

3,739,234

 

$

3,865,093

 

$

3,921,443

 

Total debt, net (1)

 

$

977,063

 

$

982,759

 

$

931,303

 

$

1,096,595

 

$

1,421,744

 

Total liabilities

 

$

1,261,662

 

$

1,275,634

 

$

1,207,402

 

$

1,513,973

 

$

1,652,609

 

Equity

 

$

2,711,171

 

$

2,582,178

 

$

2,531,832

 

$

2,351,120

 

$

2,268,834

 


(1)

Does not include hotels which have been classified as held for sale. Total debt, net reflects the retrospective adoption of Accounting Standards Update No. 2015-03.

37


 

Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

The following discussion should be read together with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report.

 

Overview

 

Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. is a Maryland corporation. We operate as a self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust (“REIT”). A REIT is a corporation that directly or indirectly owns real estate assets and has elected to be taxable as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes. To qualify for taxation as a REIT, the REIT must meet certain requirements, including regarding the composition of its assets and the sources of its income. REITs generally are not subject to federal income taxes at the corporate level as long as they pay stockholder dividends equivalent to 100% of their taxable income. REITs are required to distribute to stockholders at least 90% of their REIT taxable income. We own, directly or indirectly, 100% of the interests of Sunstone Hotel Partnership, LLC (the “Operating Partnership”), which is the entity that directly or indirectly owns our hotel properties. We also own 100% of the interests of our taxable REIT subsidiary, Sunstone Hotel TRS Lessee, Inc., which, directly or indirectly, leases all of our hotels from the Operating Partnership, and engages independent third-parties to manage our hotels.

 

We own hotels that we consider to be LTRR® in the United States, specifically hotels in urban and resort locations that benefit from significant barriers to entry by competitors and diverse economic drivers. As of December 31, 2018, we had interests in 21 hotels held for investment (the “21 hotels”). Of the 21 hotels, we classify 18 as upper upscale, two as upscale and one as luxury as defined by STR, Inc. All but two (the Boston Park Plaza and the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina) of our 21 hotels are operated under nationally recognized brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, which are among the most respected and widely recognized brands in the lodging industry. Our two unbranded hotels are located in top urban and resort markets that have enabled them to build awareness with both group and transient customers.

 

As of December 31, 2018, the hotels comprising our 21 hotel portfolio average 513 rooms in size.

 

2018 Highlights

 

In January 2018, we sold the Marriott Philadelphia and the Marriott Quincy for net proceeds of $137.0 million, and recognized a net gain on the sale of $15.7 million. Neither sale represented a strategic shift that had a major impact on our business plan or our primary markets; therefore, neither of these sales qualified as a discontinued operation.

 

In May 2018, we paid $18.4 million, including closing costs, to acquire the exclusive perpetual rights to use portions of the Renaissance Washington DC building that we had previously leased from an unaffiliated third party (the “Element”). The acquisition of the Element eliminates approximately $1.3 million of annual rent expense.

 

In July 2018, we sold the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach for net proceeds of $94.0 million, and recognized a net gain on the sale of $53.1 million. The sale of the hotel did not represent a strategic shift that had a major impact on our business plan or our primary markets; therefore, the sale did not qualify as a discontinued operation. Also in July 2018, we purchased the land underlying the JW Marriott New Orleans for $15.1 million, including closing costs. Prior to this purchase, we leased the land from an unaffiliated third party. The acquisition of the land eliminates approximately $0.6 million of annual ground lease expense.

 

In October 2018, we sold the Hilton North Houston and the Marriott Houston (the “Houston hotels”) for net proceeds of $32.4 million, and recognized a net gain on the sale of $0.3 million. The sale of the hotels did not represent a strategic shift that had a major impact on our business plan or our primary markets; therefore, the sale did not qualify as a discontinued operation.

 

Also in October 2018, we amended and extended our credit facility agreement and repriced our two unsecured term loans. The amended credit facility agreement provides for a $500.0 million unsecured revolving credit facility, a $100.0 million increase from the previous credit facility. In addition, we have the right to increase the amount of the revolving credit facility, or to add term loans, up to an aggregate commitment of $800.0 million subject to lender approval. Under the terms of the amendment, the interest rate pricing grid for the credit facility was reduced from a range of 155 to 230 basis points over the applicable LIBOR to a range of 140 to 225 basis points over the applicable LIBOR, and the credit facility’s

38


 

maturity date was extended from April 2019 to April 2023. The amendment also repriced the term loans, which bear interest pursuant to a leverage-based pricing grid, from the previous range of 1.80% to 2.55% over the applicable LIBOR to a range of 1.35% to 2.20% over the applicable LIBOR. We entered into interest rate derivative agreements to fix the applicable LIBOR for the full duration of the loans. The spread to LIBOR may vary depending on our overall leverage as defined by our credit agreement. Based on our current leverage, the interest rate of the $85.0 million term loan was reduced from 3.391% under the previous agreement to 2.941% under the current agreement, and the interest rate of the $100.0 million term loan was reduced from 3.653% under the previous agreement to 3.203% under the current agreement. The maturity dates for both term loans remain unchanged.

 

In December 2018, we sold the Marriott Tysons Corner for net proceeds of $84.5 million, and recognized a net gain on the sale of $47.8 million. The sale of the hotel did not represent a strategic shift that had a major impact on our business plan or our primary markets; therefore, the sale did not qualify as a discontinued operation.

 

Operating Activities

 

Revenues. Substantially all of our revenues are derived from the operation of our hotels. Specifically, our revenues consist of the following:

 

·

Room revenue, which is the product of the number of rooms sold and the average daily room rate, or “ADR,” as defined below;

 

·

Food and beverage revenue, which is comprised of revenue realized in the hotel food and beverage outlets as well as banquet and catering events; and

 

·

Other operating revenue, which includes ancillary hotel revenue and other items primarily driven by occupancy such as telephone/internet, parking, spa, facility fees, entertainment and other guest services. Additionally, this category includes, among other things, attrition and cancellation revenue, tenant revenue derived from hotel space leased by third parties and any business interruption proceeds or performance guarantee payments received.

 

Expenses. Our expenses consist of the following:

 

·

Room expense, which is primarily driven by occupancy and, therefore, has a significant correlation with room revenue;

 

·

Food and beverage expense, which is primarily driven by food and beverage sales and banquet and catering bookings and, therefore, has a significant correlation with food and beverage revenue;

 

·

Other operating expense, which includes the corresponding expense of other operating revenue, advertising and promotion, repairs and maintenance, utilities, and franchise costs;

 

·

Property tax, ground lease and insurance expense, which includes the expenses associated with property tax, ground lease and insurance payments, each of which is primarily a fixed expense, however property tax is subject to regular revaluations based on the specific tax regulations and practices of each municipality;

 

·

Other property-level expenses, which includes our property-level general and administrative expenses, such as payroll, benefits and other employee-related expenses, contract and professional fees, credit and collection expenses, employee recruitment, relocation and training expenses, consulting fees, management fees and other expenses;

 

·

Corporate overhead expense, which includes our corporate-level expenses, such as payroll, benefits and other employee-related expenses, amortization of deferred stock compensation, business acquisition and due diligence expenses, legal expenses, association, contract and professional fees, board of director expenses, entity-level state franchise and minimum taxes, travel expenses, office rent and other customary expenses;

 

39


 

·

Depreciation and amortization expense, which includes depreciation on our hotel buildings, improvements and FF&E, along with amortization on our franchise fees and certain intangibles. Additionally, this category includes depreciation and amortization related to FF&E for our corporate office; and

 

·

Impairment loss, which includes the charges we have recognized to reduce the carrying values of the Houston hotels on our balance sheet to their fair values in association with our impairment evaluations.

 

Other Revenue and Expense. Other revenue and expense consists of the following:

 

·

Gain on sale of assets, which includes the gains we recognized on our hotel sales that do not qualify as discontinued operations;

 

·

Interest and other income, which includes interest we have earned on our restricted and unrestricted cash accounts, as well as any energy or other rebates or property insurance proceeds we have received, miscellaneous income or any gains or losses we have recognized on sales or redemptions of assets other than real estate investments;

 

·

Interest expense, which includes interest expense incurred on our outstanding fixed and variable-rate debt and capital lease obligations, gains or losses on interest rate derivatives, amortization of deferred financing costs, and any loan fees incurred on our debt;

 

·

Loss on extinguishment of debt, which includes losses recognized on amendments or early repayments of mortgages or other debt obligations from the accelerated amortization of deferred financing costs, along with any other costs incurred;

 

·

Income tax (provision) benefit, net which includes federal and state income taxes related to continuing operations charged to the Company net of any refunds received, any adjustments to deferred tax assets, liabilities or valuation allowance, and any adjustments to unrecognized tax positions, along with any related interest and penalties incurred;

 

·

Income from discontinued operations, which includes the results of operations for any hotels or other real estate investments sold during the reporting period that qualify as a discontinued operation, along with the gain or loss realized on the sale of these assets and any extinguishments of related debt or income tax provisions;

 

·

Income from consolidated joint venture attributable to noncontrolling interest, which includes net income attributable to a third-party’s 25.0% ownership interest in the joint venture that owns the Hilton San Diego Bayfront; and

 

·

Preferred stock dividends and redemption charge, which includes dividends accrued on our Series D Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (“Series D preferred stock”) until its redemption in April 2016, as well as dividends accrued on our Series E Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (“Series E preferred stock”) and our Series F Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (“Series F preferred stock”) both of which were issued in 2016, along with any redemption charges for preferred stock redemptions made in excess of net carrying values.

 

Operating Performance Indicators. The following performance indicators are commonly used in the hotel industry:

 

·

Occupancy, which is the quotient of total rooms sold divided by total rooms available;

 

·

Average daily room rate, or ADR, which is the quotient of room revenue divided by total rooms sold;

 

·

Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, which is the product of occupancy and ADR, and does not include food and beverage revenue, or other operating revenue;

 

40


 

·

Comparable RevPAR, which we define as the RevPAR generated by hotels we owned as of the end of the reporting period, but excluding those hotels that we classified as held for sale, those hotels that are undergoing a material renovation or repositioning and those hotels whose room counts have materially changed during either the current or prior year. For hotels that were not owned for the entirety of the comparison periods, comparable RevPAR is calculated using RevPAR generated during periods of prior ownership. We refer to this subset of our hotels used to calculate comparable RevPAR as our “Comparable Portfolio.” Currently our Comparable Portfolio is comprised of the 21 hotels, and includes both our ownership and prior ownership results for the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina acquired in July 2017. We obtained prior ownership information from the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina’s previous owner during the due diligence period before acquiring the hotel. We performed a limited review of the information as part of our analysis of the acquisition. We caution you not to place undue reliance on the prior ownership information;

 

·

RevPAR index, which is the quotient of a hotel’s RevPAR divided by the average RevPAR of its competitors, multiplied by 100. A RevPAR index in excess of 100 indicates a hotel is achieving higher RevPAR than the average of its competitors. In addition to absolute RevPAR index, we monitor changes in RevPAR index;

 

·

EBITDAre, which is net income (loss) excluding: interest expense; benefit or provision for income taxes, including any changes to deferred tax assets or valuation allowances and income taxes applicable to the sale of assets; depreciation and amortization; gains or losses on disposition of depreciated property (including gains or losses on change in control); and impairment write-downs of depreciated property;

 

·

Adjusted EBITDAre, excluding noncontrolling interest, which is EBITDAre adjusted to exclude: the net income (loss) allocated to a third-party’s 25.0% ownership interest in the joint venture that owns the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, along with the noncontrolling partner’s pro rata share of any EBITDAre components; amortization of deferred stock compensation; the impact of any gain or loss from undepreciated asset sales or property damage from natural disasters; prior year property tax assessments or credits; the write-off of development costs associated with abandoned projects; and any other nonrecurring identified adjustments;

 

·

Funds from operations (“FFO”) attributable to common stockholders, which is net income (loss), excluding: preferred stock dividends and any redemption charges; noncontrolling interests; gains and losses from sales of property; real estate-related depreciation and amortization (excluding amortization of deferred financing costs); and real estate-related impairment losses; and

 

·

Adjusted FFO attributable to common stockholders, which is FFO attributable to common stockholders adjusted to exclude: non-real estate-related impairment losses; gains or losses due to property damage from natural disasters; the write-off of development costs associated with abandoned projects; income tax benefits or provisions associated with any changes to deferred tax assets or valuation allowances, the application of net operating loss carryforwards and uncertain tax positions; and any other nonrecurring identified adjustments.

 

Factors Affecting Our Operating Results. The primary factors affecting our operating results include overall demand for hotel rooms, the pace of new hotel development, or supply, and the relative performance of our operators in increasing revenue and controlling hotel operating expenses.

 

·

Demand. The demand for lodging generally fluctuates with the overall economy. In 2017, our Comparable Portfolio RevPAR, excluding the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina which opened in January 2017, increased 4.2% as compared to 2016, with a 110 basis point increase in occupancy. In 2018, Comparable Portfolio RevPAR , which was impacted by renovations at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, the JW Marriott New Orleans, the Marriott Boston Long Wharf and the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport (the “Four Renovation Hotels”), increased 2.8% as compared to 2017, with a 30 basis point decrease in occupancy.

 

·

Supply. The addition of new competitive hotels affects the ability of existing hotels to absorb demand for lodging and, therefore, impacts the ability to drive RevPAR and profits. The development of new hotels is largely driven by construction costs and expected performance of existing hotels. In aggregate, we expect the U.S. hotel supply to increase over the near term. On a market-by-market basis, some markets may experience new hotel room openings at or greater than historic levels, including in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City

41


 

and Portland where there are currently higher-than-average new hotel room openings. Additionally, an increase in the supply of vacation rental or sharing services such as Airbnb also affects the ability of existing hotels to drive RevPAR and profits. 

 

·

Revenues and Expenses. We believe that marginal improvements in RevPAR index, even in the face of declining revenues, are a good indicator of the relative quality and appeal of our hotels, and our operators’ effectiveness in maximizing revenues. Similarly, we also evaluate our operators’ effectiveness in minimizing incremental operating expenses in the context of increasing revenues or, conversely, in reducing operating expenses in the context of declining revenues.

 

With respect to improving RevPAR index, we continually work with our hotel operators to optimize revenue management initiatives while taking into consideration market demand trends and the pricing strategies of competitor hotels in our markets. We also develop capital investment programs designed to ensure each of our hotels is well renovated and positioned to appeal to groups and individual travelers fitting target guest profiles. Increased capital investment in our properties may lead to short-term revenue disruption and negatively impact RevPAR index. Our revenue management initiatives are generally oriented towards maximizing ADR even if the result may be lower occupancy than may be achieved through lower ADR. Increases in RevPAR attributable to increases in ADR may be accompanied by minimal additional expenses, while increases in RevPAR attributable to higher occupancy may result in higher variable expenses such as housekeeping, guest supplies, labor and utilities expense. Our Comparable Portfolio RevPAR index increased 80 basis points in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase in our Comparable Portfolio RevPAR index was primarily due to increases in the RevPAR index at the Wailea Beach Resort post-repositioning, at the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina as the hotel ramped up after its January 2017 opening and at both the Embassy Suites La Jolla and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront due to strong group bases that allowed the hotels to increase rates. These increases were partially offset by decreases in the RevPAR index at three of the Four Renovation Hotels, at the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles due to new supply and recently renovated area hotels and at the Hilton New Orleans St. Charles due to a weak market. Excluding the Oceans Edge Resort & Marina, our Comparable Portfolio RevPAR index increased 210 basis points in 2017 as compared to 2016. The increase was due in part to increased rates at our Boston Park Plaza and Wailea Beach Resort post-repositioning. These increases were partially offset by decreased rates at our Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles and Renaissance Los Angeles Airport due to increased competition from area hotels that were newly constructed or under renovation during 2016.

 

We continue to work with our operators to identify operational efficiencies designed to reduce expenses while minimally affecting guest experience and hotel employee satisfaction. Key asset management initiatives include optimizing hotel staffing levels, increasing the efficiency of the hotels, such as installing energy efficient management and inventory control systems, and selectively combining certain food and beverage outlets. Our operational efficiency initiatives may be difficult to implement, as most categories of variable operating expenses, such as utilities and housekeeping labor costs, fluctuate with changes in occupancy. Furthermore, our hotels operate with significant fixed costs, such as general and administrative expense, insurance, property taxes, and other expenses associated with owning hotels, over which our operators have little control. We have experienced, either currently or in the past, increases in hourly wages, employee benefits, utility costs and property insurance, which have negatively affected our operating margins. Moreover, there are limits to how far our operators can reduce expenses without affecting brand standards or the competitiveness of our hotels.

 

42


 

Operating Results. The following table presents our operating results for our total portfolio for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, including the amount and percentage change in the results between the two periods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2018

    

2017

    

Change $

    

Change %

 

 

(in thousands, except statistical data)

 

REVENUES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room

 

$

799,369

 

$

829,320

 

$

(29,951)

 

(3.6)

%

Food and beverage

 

 

284,668

 

 

296,933

 

 

(12,265)

 

(4.1)

%

Other operating

 

 

75,016

 

 

67,385

 

 

7,631

 

11.3

%

Total revenues

 

 

1,159,053

 

 

1,193,638

 

 

(34,585)

 

(2.9)

%

OPERATING EXPENSES