|HOST HOTELS & RESORTS L.P. filed this Form 10-K on 02/27/2018|
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
Commission File Number: 001-14625 (Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.)
0-25087 (Host Hotels & Resorts, L.P.)
HOST HOTELS & RESORTS, INC.
HOST HOTELS & RESORTS, L.P.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
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Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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).
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) 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 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. (Check one):
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Host Hotels & Resorts, L.P.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
The aggregate market value of common shares held by non-affiliates of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (based on the closing sale price on the New York Stock Exchange) on June 30, 2017 was $13,268,185,597.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delivered to stockholders in connection with its annual meeting of stockholders to be held on May 17, 2018 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.
This report combines the annual reports on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and Host Hotels & Resorts, L.P. Unless stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, references to “Host Inc.” mean Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., a Maryland corporation, and references to “Host L.P.” mean Host Hotels & Resorts, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, and its consolidated subsidiaries. We use the terms “we” or “our” or “the company” to refer to Host Inc. and Host L.P. together, unless the context indicates otherwise. We use the term Host Inc. to specifically refer to Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and the term Host L.P. to specifically refer to Host Hotels & Resorts, L.P. (and its consolidated subsidiaries) in cases where it is important to distinguish between Host Inc. and Host L.P. Host Inc. owns properties and conducts operations through Host L.P., of which Host Inc. is the sole general partner and of which it holds approximately 99% of the partnership interests (“OP units”) as of December 31, 2017. The remaining partnership interests are owned by various unaffiliated limited partners. As the sole general partner of Host L.P., Host Inc. has the exclusive and complete responsibility for Host L.P.’s day-to-day management and control.
We believe combining the annual reports on Form 10-K of Host Inc. and Host L.P. into this single report results in the following benefits:
Management operates Host Inc. and Host L.P. as one enterprise. The management of Host Inc. consists of the same members who direct the management of Host L.P. The executive officers of Host Inc. are appointed by Host Inc.’s board of directors, but are employed by Host L.P. Host L.P. employs everyone who works for Host Inc. or Host L.P. As general partner with control of Host L.P., Host Inc. consolidates Host L.P. for financial reporting purposes, and Host Inc. does not have significant assets other than its investment in Host L.P. Therefore, the assets and liabilities of Host Inc. and Host L.P. are the same on their respective financial statements.
There are a few differences between Host Inc. and Host L.P., which are reflected in the disclosure in this report. We believe it is important to understand the differences between Host Inc. and Host L.P. in the context of how Host Inc. and Host L.P. operate as an interrelated consolidated company. Host Inc. is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, and its only material asset is its ownership of partnership interests of Host L.P. As a result, Host Inc. does not conduct business itself, other than acting as the sole general partner of Host L.P., and issuing public equity from time to time, the proceeds from which are contributed to Host L.P. in exchange for OP units. Host Inc. itself does not issue any indebtedness and does not guarantee the debt or obligations of Host L.P. Host L.P. holds substantially all of our assets and holds the ownership interests in our joint ventures. Host L.P. conducts the operations of the business and is structured as a limited partnership with no publicly traded equity. Except for net proceeds from public equity issuances by Host Inc., Host L.P. generates the capital required by our business through Host L.P.’s operations, by Host L.P.’s direct or indirect incurrence of indebtedness, or through the issuance of OP units.
The substantive difference between the filings of Host Inc. and Host L.P. is that Host Inc. is a REIT with public stock, while Host L.P. is a partnership with no publicly traded equity. In the financial statements, this difference primarily is reflected in the equity (or partners’ capital for Host L.P.) section of the consolidated balance sheets and in the consolidated statements of equity (or partners’ capital) and in the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss) with respect to the manner in which income is allocated to non-controlling interests. Income allocable to the holders of approximately 1% of the OP units is reflected as income allocable to non-controlling interests at Host Inc. and within net income at Host L.P. Also, earnings per share generally will be slightly less than the earnings per OP unit, as each Host Inc. common share is the equivalent of .97895 OP units (instead of 1 OP unit). Apart from these differences, the financial statements of Host Inc. and Host L.P. are nearly identical.
This report also includes separate Item 9A. Controls and Procedures sections and separate Exhibit 31 and 32 certifications for each of Host Inc. and Host L.P. in order to establish that the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of Host Inc. and the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of Host Inc. as the general partner of Host L.P. have made the requisite certifications and that Host Inc. and Host L.P. are compliant with Rule 13a-15 or Rule 15d-15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and 18 U.S.C. §1350.
Forward Looking Statements
Our disclosure and analysis in this 2017 Form 10-K and in Host Inc.’s 2017 Annual Report to stockholders contain some forward-looking statements that set forth anticipated results based on management’s plans and assumptions. From time to time, we also provide forward-looking statements in other materials we release to the public. Such statements give our current expectations or forecasts of future events; they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. We have tried, wherever possible, to identify each such statement by using words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “will,” “target,” “forecast” and similar expressions in connection with any discussion of future operating or financial performance. In particular, these forward-looking statements include those relating to future actions, future acquisitions or dispositions, future capital expenditures plans, future performance or results of current and anticipated expenses, interest rates, foreign exchange rates or the outcome of contingencies, such as legal proceedings.
We cannot guarantee that any future results discussed in any forward-looking statements will be realized, although we believe that we have been prudent in our plans and assumptions. Achievement of future results is subject to risks, uncertainties and potentially inaccurate assumptions, including those discussed in Item 1A “Risk Factors.” Should known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove inaccurate, actual results could differ materially from past results and those results anticipated, estimated or projected. You should bear this in mind as you consider forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are advised, however, to consult any further disclosures we make or related subjects in our reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Also note that, in our risk factors, we provide a cautionary discussion of risks, uncertainties and possibly inaccurate assumptions relevant to our business. These are factors that, individually or in the aggregate, we believe could cause our actual results to differ materially from past results and those results anticipated, estimated or projected. We note these factors for investors as permitted by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. It is not possible to predict or identify all such risk factors. Consequently, you should not consider the discussion of risk factors to be a complete discussion of all of the potential risks or uncertainties that could affect our business.
Host Inc. was incorporated as a Maryland corporation in 1998 and operates as a self-managed and self-administered REIT. Host Inc. owns properties and conducts operations through Host L.P., of which Host Inc. is the sole general partner and of which it holds approximately 99% of the partnership interests (“OP units”) as of December 31, 2017. The remaining partnership interests are owned by various unaffiliated limited partners. Host Inc. has the exclusive and complete responsibility for Host L.P.’s day-to-day management and control.
As of February 21, 2018, our consolidated lodging portfolio consists of 93 primarily luxury and upper-upscale hotels containing approximately 52,000 rooms, with the majority located in the United States, and with six of the properties located outside of the U.S. in Brazil, Canada and Mexico. In addition, we own non-controlling interests in four domestic and two international joint ventures and a timeshare venture in Hawaii.
Our goal is to be the preeminent owner of high-quality lodging real estate in growing markets in the U.S. and to generate superior long-term returns for our stockholders throughout all lodging cycles through a combination of appreciation in asset values, growth in earnings and dividend distributions. Our strategy to achieve this objective includes:
Geographically Diverse Portfolio. We seek to have a geographically diversified portfolio in top U.S. major markets and premier resort destinations. We primarily will focus on acquisitions and, occasionally, new development opportunities to enhance our portfolio. We focus generally on the following types of assets:
As one of the largest owners of Marriott and Hyatt properties, our hotels are primarily operated under brand names that are among the most respected and widely recognized in the lodging industry. Within these brands, we have focused predominantly on the upper-upscale and luxury asset classes, as we believe they have a broad appeal for both individual and group leisure and business customers. We also may invest in other property types which we believe have the potential for strong demand growth, including urban select service. In addition, we have several unbranded or soft-branded properties that appeal to distinctive customer profiles in certain select submarkets.
Enterprise Analytics Platform. Due to the scale of our asset management and business intelligence platform, we believe we are in a unique position to work with our managers to drive operating performance and implement value-added real estate decisions. The size and composition of our portfolio and our affiliation with most of the leading brands and operators in the industry allow our enterprise analytics team to benchmark similar hotels and identify best practices and efficiencies that can improve long-term profitability. We perform independent underwriting of return on investment (“ROI”) projects and potential acquisitions, as well as revenue management analysis of ancillary revenue operations. Our goal is to continue to differentiate our assets within their competitive market, drive operating performance and enhance the overall value of our real estate through the following:
Disciplined Capital Allocation. Guided by a disciplined approach to capital allocation, we are aligned to make investment decisions that seek to deliver the greatest value and returns to stockholders. Our goal is to allocate capital to enhance and improve our portfolio, while balancing the importance of prudently returning capital to stockholders.
For 2018, we will continue our disciplined approach to capital allocation and intend to take advantage of our strong balance sheet and overall scale. We constantly are evaluating both single hotel and hotel portfolio transactions to acquire iconic upper-upscale and luxury properties that we believe have sustainable competitive advantages. Similarly, we intend to continue our capital recycling program with strategic and opportunistic dispositions. This may include asset sales, where we believe the potential for growth is constrained or properties with significant capital expenditures requirements that we do not believe would generate an adequate return on investment exceeding our cost of capital. This also includes reducing our exposure to international investments to focus on our U.S. portfolio.
We may acquire additional properties or dispose of properties through various structures, including transactions involving single assets, portfolios, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions of the securities or assets of other REITs or spin off distributions of hotel properties to our stockholders. We anticipate that any acquisitions may be funded by, or through a combination of, proceeds from the sales of properties, equity offerings of Host Inc., issuances of OP units by Host L.P., incurrence of debt, available cash or advances under our credit facility. We note, however, that the nature and supply of these assets make acquisitions inherently difficult to predict. For these reasons, we can make no assurances that we will be successful in purchasing any one or more hotels that we currently are reviewing, or may in the future review, bid on or negotiate to buy.
We also seek to create and mine value from our existing portfolio through ROI projects. We work closely with our managers to attempt to schedule these projects to minimize operational disruption and environmental impact. ROI projects are designed to take
advantage of changing market conditions and the favorable location of our properties, while seeking to increase profitability and enhance customer satisfaction. These projects are designed to improve the positioning of our hotels within their markets and competitive set and include extensive renovations including lobbies, food and beverage outlets; expanding and/or extensive renovation of ballroom and meeting rooms; major mechanical system upgrades, and green building initiatives and certifications. It also includes projects focused on increasing space profitability or lowering net operating costs, such as converting unprofitable or underutilized space into meeting space, adding guestrooms, and implementing energy and water conservation measures such as energy management systems, solar power, energy and usage efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment and fixtures, and building automation systems.
Renewal and replacement capital expenditures are designed to maintain the quality and competitiveness of our hotels. Typically, room renovations occur at intervals of approximately seven years, but the timing may vary based on the type of property and equipment being renovated. These renovations generally are divided into the following types: soft goods, case goods, bathroom and infrastructure. Soft goods include items such as carpeting, bed spreads, curtains and wall vinyl and may require more frequent updates in order to maintain brand quality standards. Case goods include items such as dressers, desks, couches, restaurant and meeting room chairs and tables; which generally are not replaced as frequently. Bathroom renovations include the replacement of tile, vanity, lighting and plumbing fixtures. Infrastructure includes the physical plant of the hotel, including the roof, elevators/escalators, façade, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and fire systems.
Throughout the lodging cycle, to the extent that we are unable to find appropriate investment opportunities that meet our return requirements, we will focus on returning capital to stockholders through dividends or common stock repurchases. Significant factors we review to determine the level and timing of the returns to stockholders include our current stock price compared to our determination of the underlying value of our assets, current and forecast operating results and the completion of hotel sales.
Powerful and Flexible Balance Sheet. Our goal is to maintain a flexible capital structure that allows us to execute our strategy throughout the lodging cycle. In order to maintain its qualification as a REIT, Host Inc. is required to distribute 90% of its taxable income (other than net capital gain, including taxable income recognized for federal income tax purposes but with regard to which we do not receive cash) to its stockholders each year and, as a result, generally relies on external sources of capital, as well as cash from operations, to finance growth.
Management believes that a strong balance sheet is a key competitive advantage that affords us a lower cost of capital and positions us for external growth. While we may issue debt at any time, we will target a net debt-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) ratio, (or “Leverage Ratio,” as defined in our credit facility) that allows us to maintain an investment grade rating on our senior unsecured debt. We believe an investment grade rating will deliver the most consistent access to capital at the lowest cost.
We seek to structure our debt profile to maintain financial flexibility and a balanced maturity schedule with access to different forms of financing; primarily senior notes and exchangeable debentures, as well as mortgage debt. Generally, we look to minimize the number of assets that are encumbered by mortgage debt, minimize near-term maturities and maintain a balanced maturity schedule. We may issue debt in foreign currencies to match the proceeds thereof with their intended use in order to reduce the potential costs of investing in foreign properties in terms of foreign currency fluctuation and local direct and indirect taxes. Depending on market conditions, we also may utilize variable rate debt which can provide greater protection during a decline in the lodging industry.
In order to increase potential asset sale proceeds, we may look for opportunities to implement value-add capital expenditures projects and ground lease extensions or purchases. In addition, we may obtain or seek to promote the sale of assets that have management contract flexibility, which also can increase the potential sale price. We also may opportunistically dispose of higher-quality assets through direct sales or through the creation of joint ventures and look to deploy the capital received into accretive investment opportunities or return the capital to stockholders.
Corporate Responsibility. Our corporate responsibility strategy focuses on a set of complementary objectives across three themes:
In March 2016, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) issued the provisional standard Real Estate Owners, Developers & Investment Trusts Sustainability Accounting Standard. The provisional standard outlines proposed disclosure topics and accounting metrics for the real estate industry. The recommended energy and water management metrics that best correlate with our industry include energy consumption data coverage as a percentage of floor area (“Energy Intensity”); total energy consumed by portfolio area (“Total Energy Consumption”); water withdrawal as a percentage of total floor area, or number of units (for our calculation we use occupied rooms) (“Water Intensity”); and total water withdrawn by portfolio area (“Total Water Consumption”). The energy and water data we use is collected and reviewed by third-parties who compile the data from property utility statements. These metrics enable us to track the effectiveness of water and energy reduction ROI projects.
We reference key aspects and metrics of our sustainability efforts through the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) Index, in accordance with the GRI framework and, beginning in 2015, contracted with a third-party to provide further verification of our energy and water consumption data. Based on efficiencies gained in both energy and water usage, we achieved savings of approximately $8 million in 2016 and $6 million in 2015 when compared to 2014 Energy Intensity levels. The charts below detail our Energy Intensity, Total Energy Consumption, Water Intensity and Total Water Consumption for 2014 through 2016, the last three fiscal years for which data is available(1):
The Lodging Industry
The lodging industry in the United States consists of private and public entities that operate in a diversified market under a variety of brand names. The lodging industry has several key participants:
The hotel manager is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the hotel, including the employment of hotel staff, the determination of room rates, the development of sales and marketing plans, the preparation of operating and capital expenditures
budgets and the preparation of financial reports for the owner. The hotel manager typically receives fees based on the revenues and profitability of the hotel.
Supply and Demand Trends. Our industry is influenced by the cyclical relationship between the supply of and demand for hotel rooms. Lodging demand growth typically is related to the vitality of the overall economy, in addition to local market factors that stimulate travel to specific destinations. In particular, trends in economic indicators such as GDP growth, business investment, corporate profits and employment growth are key indicators of the relative strength of lodging demand. Lodging demand also will be affected by changes to international travel and changes in technology that enable virtual meetings.
Lodging supply growth generally is driven by overall lodging demand, as extended periods of strong demand growth tend to encourage new development. However, the rate of supply growth also is influenced by a number of additional factors, including the availability of capital, interest rates, construction costs and unique market considerations. The relatively long lead-time required to complete the development of hotels makes supply growth easier to forecast than demand growth, but increases the volatility of the cyclical behavior of the lodging industry. A recent source of supply for the industry has been the rapid growth of professionally managed online short-term rentals, including as a flexible option for apartment buildings. However, the impact on the hotel industry and the availability of these outlets is more variable than typical changes in supply from hotel construction and tends to be very market specific. As illustrated in the charts below for the U.S. lodging industry, at different points in the cycle, demand may increase when there is no new supply or supply may grow when demand is declining.
Our portfolio primarily consists of upper upscale and luxury hotels and, accordingly, its performance is best understood in comparison to the upper upscale category rather than the entire industry. The supply growth rate is expected to continue to increase in 2018. The charts below detail the historical supply, demand and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) growth for the U.S. lodging industry and for the U.S. luxury and upper upscale categories for 2013 to 2017 and forecast data for 2018:
U.S. Lodging Industry Supply, Demand and RevPAR Growth
Source: Historical data - STR, 2018 Forecast - CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research
U.S. Luxury and Upper Upscale Supply, Demand and RevPAR Growth
Source: Historical data - STR, 2018 Forecast - CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research
All of our hotels are managed by third parties pursuant to management or operating agreements, with some of such hotels also subject to separate franchise or license agreements addressing matters pertaining to operation under the designated brand. Under these agreements, the managers have sole responsibility and exclusive authority for all activities necessary for the day-to-day operation of the hotels, including establishing room rates, securing and processing reservations, procuring inventories, supplies and services, providing periodic inspection and consultation visits to the hotels by the managers’ technical and operational experts and promoting and publicizing the hotels. The managers employ all managerial and other employees for the hotels, review hotel operations with a focus on improving revenues and managing expenses, review the maintenance of the hotels, prepare reports, budgets and projections, and provide other administrative and accounting support services to the hotels. These support services include planning and policy services, divisional financial services, product planning and development, employee staffing and training, corporate executive management and certain in-house legal services. We have certain approval rights over budgets, capital expenditures, significant leases and contractual commitments, and various other matters.
General Terms and Provisions – Agreements governing our hotels managed by brand owners (Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and AccorHotels) typically include the terms described below:
One implication of these flexible funding arrangements is that upon sale, one of the parties, either we as the seller or the purchaser is usually required to fund the FF&E reserve to its full level.
In addition to hotels managed by brand owners, we have both branded hotels and non-branded hotels operated by independent managers. Our management agreements with independent managers, while similar in operational scope to agreements with our brand managers, typically have shorter initial terms, no renewal rights, more flexible termination rights, and more limited system-wide services. However, while we have additional flexibility with regard to these operators, certain of those hotels remain subject to underlying franchise or licensing agreements. These franchise or licensing agreements allow us to engage independent managers to operate our hotels under the applicable brand names and to participate in the brands’ reservation and loyalty-rewards systems. Under these agreements, we pay the brand owners a franchise or licensing fee equal to a specified percentage of gross room revenues, as well as other system fees and reimbursements. In addition, we are obligated to maintain applicable brand standards at our franchised hotels.
Host Inc. operates through an umbrella partnership structure in which substantially all of its assets are held by Host L.P., of which Host Inc. is the sole general partner and holds approximately 99% of the OP units as of December 31, 2017. A REIT is a corporation that has elected to be treated as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and that meets certain ownership, organizational and operating requirements set forth under the Code. In general, through payments of dividends to stockholders, a REIT is permitted to reduce or eliminate federal income taxes at the corporate level. Each OP unit owned by holders other than Host Inc. is redeemable, at the option of the holder, for an amount of cash equal to the market value of one share of Host Inc. common stock multiplied by the current conversion factor of 1.021494. Host Inc. has the right to acquire any OP unit offered for redemption directly from the holder in exchange for 1.021494 shares of Host Inc. common stock instead of Host L.P. redeeming such OP unit for cash. Additionally, for every share of common stock issued by Host Inc., Host L.P. will issue .97895 OP units to Host Inc. in exchange for the consideration received from the issuance of the common stock. As of December 31, 2017, non-controlling limited partners held 8.2 million OP units, which were convertible into 8.4 million Host Inc. common shares. Assuming that all OP units held by non-controlling limited partners were converted into common shares, there would have been 747.4 million common shares of Host Inc. outstanding at December 31, 2017.
Our operating structure is as follows:
As a REIT, certain tax laws limit the amount of “non-qualifying” income that Host Inc. and Host L.P. can earn, including income derived directly from the operation of hotels. As a result, we lease substantially all of our consolidated properties to certain of our subsidiaries designated as taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”) for federal income tax purposes or to third party lessees. Our TRSs are subject to income tax and are not limited as to the amount of non-qualifying income they can generate, but they are limited in terms of their value as a percentage of the total value of our assets. Our TRS enter into agreements with third parties to manage the operations of the hotels. Our TRS also may own assets engaging in activities that produce non-qualifying income, such as the development of timeshare or condominium units, subject to certain restrictions. The difference between the hotels’ net operating cash flow and the aggregate rents paid to Host L.P. is retained by our TRS as taxable income. Accordingly, the net effect of the TRS leases is that a portion of the net operating cash flow from our properties is subject to federal, state and, if applicable, foreign corporate income tax.
Our Consolidated Hotel Portfolio
As of February 21, 2018, we owned a portfolio of 93 hotel properties, of which 87 are located in the United States and six are located in Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. Our consolidated hotels located outside the United States collectively have approximately 2,000 rooms. Approximately 2%, 3%, and 4% of our revenues were attributed to the operations of these foreign properties in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. See Note 15. Geographic and Business Segment Information in our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information on revenues in the geographic regions in which we operate.
The lodging industry is viewed as consisting of six different categories, each of which caters to a discrete set of customer tastes and needs: luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale and economy. Our portfolio primarily consists of luxury and upper upscale properties, which are operated under internationally recognized brand names such as Marriott, Westin, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt and Hilton. There also has been a trend towards specialized, smaller boutique hotels that are customized towards a particular customer profile. Generally, these properties will be operated by an independent third party and either will have no brand affiliation, or will be associated with a major brand, while maintaining the majority of its independent identity (which we refer to as “soft-branded” properties).
Revenues earned at our hotels consist of three broad categories: rooms, food and beverage, and other revenues. While approximately 65% of our revenue is generated from room sales, many of our properties feature a variety of amenities that help drive demand and profitability. Our hotels typically include meeting and banquet facilities, a variety of restaurants and lounges, swimming pools, exercise facilities and/or spas, gift shops and parking facilities, the combination of which enable them to serve business, leisure and group travelers.
Our top 40 hotels by RevPAR represent nearly 65% of our total revenues. Additionally, 37 of our consolidated hotels have in excess of 500 rooms. The average age of our properties is 35 years, although substantially all of them have benefited from significant renovations or major additions, as well as regularly scheduled renewal and replacement expenditures and other capital improvements.
By Market Location: The following chart summarizes the composition of our consolidated hotels as of February 21, 2018 by market location based on percentage of 2017 revenues:
We own non-controlling interests in several entities that, as of February 21, 2018, owned, or owned an interest in, 21 hotel properties. The operations of the properties owned by these entities are not consolidated and are included in equity in earnings in our consolidated results of operations. See Part II Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 3. Investments in Affiliates.”
European Joint Venture. We own a general and limited partner interest in a joint venture in Europe (“Euro JV”). The Euro JV consists of two funds, which we refer to as Euro JV Fund I and Euro JV Fund II, in which we hold an approximate one-third interest through both general and limited partner interests. The Euro JV owns the following hotels:
The lodging industry is highly competitive. Competition often is specific to individual markets and is based on a number of factors, including location, brand, guest facilities and amenities, level of service, room rates and the quality of accommodations. The lodging industry is viewed as consisting of six different categories, each of which caters to a discrete set of customer tastes and needs: luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale and economy. The classification of a property is based on lodging industry standards, which take into consideration many factors, such as guest facilities and amenities, level of service and quality of accommodations. Most of our hotels operate in urban and resort markets either as luxury properties under such brand names as Fairmont®, Grand Hyatt®, JW Marriott®, Ritz-Carlton®, St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection® and W®, or as upper upscale properties under such brand names as Embassy Suites®, Hilton®, Hyatt®, Le Méridien®, Marriott®, Marriott Marquis®, Autograph Collection®, Curio – A Collection by Hilton®, Marriott Suites®, Pullman®, Renaissance®, Sheraton®, Swissôtel® and Westin®. (1) While our hotels primarily compete with other hotels in the luxury and upper upscale category, they also may compete with hotels in other lower-tier categories. In addition, many management contracts for our hotels do not prohibit our managers from converting, franchising or developing other hotel properties in our markets. As a result, our hotels compete with other hotels that our managers may own, invest in, manage or franchise.
We also compete with other REITs and other public and private investors for the acquisition of new properties and investment opportunities, both in domestic and international markets, as we attempt to position our portfolio to best take advantage of changes in markets and travel patterns of our customers.
Our hotel sales traditionally have experienced moderate seasonality, which varies based on the individual property and the region. Hotel sales for our consolidated portfolio averaged approximately 25%, 27%, 23% and 25% for the first, second, third and fourth calendar quarters, respectively, in 2017.
Environmental and Regulatory Matters
Under various federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations, a current or previous owner or operator of real property may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances. These laws may impose liability whether or not the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of such hazardous or toxic substances. In addition, certain environmental laws and common law principles could be used to impose liability for release of hazardous or toxic materials, and third parties may seek recovery from owners or operators of real properties for personal injury associated with exposure to released hazardous or toxic materials. Environmental laws also may impose restrictions on the manner in which property may be used or businesses may be operated, and these restrictions may require corrective or other expenditures. In connection with our current or prior ownership or operation of hotels, we potentially may be liable for various environmental costs or liabilities. Although currently we are not aware of any material environmental claims pending or threatened against us, we can offer no assurance that a material environmental claim will not be asserted against us in the future.
As of February 21, 2018, we had 205 employees, of which 198 work in the United States, including our regional offices in Miami and San Diego. We had 7 employees located in our offices in London and Amsterdam. None of Host’s employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. The number of employees referenced above does not include the hotel employees of our three hotels in Brazil, which, while technically Host employees, are under the direct supervision and control of our third-party hotel managers. Our third-party managers are responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of our hotels. Although we do not manage employees at our consolidated hotels, we still are subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force, particularly those hotels with unionized labor. For a discussion of these relationships, see Part I Item 1A. “Risk Factors—We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor.”
Employees at certain of our third-party managed hotels are covered by collective bargaining agreements that are subject to review and renewal on a regular basis. For a discussion of these relationships, see Part I Item 1A. “Risk Factors—We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor.”
Where to Find Additional Information
The address of our principal executive office is 6903 Rockledge Drive, Suite 1500, Bethesda, Maryland, 20817. Our phone number is 240-744-1000. We maintain an internet website at: www.hosthotels.com. Through our website, we make available free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed electronically with, or furnished to, the SEC, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The public also may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov.
Our website also is a key source of important information about us. We routinely post to the Investor Relations section of our website important information about our business, our operating results and our financial condition and prospects, including, for example, information about material acquisitions and dispositions, our earnings releases and certain supplemental financial information to our earnings releases. We also post to our website copies of investor presentations and we update those presentations periodically, which also contain important information about us. The website has a Governance page in the Our Company section that includes, among other things, copies of our Bylaws, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, our Corporate Governance Guidelines and the charters for each standing committee of Host Inc.’s Board of Directors, which currently include the Audit Committee, the Compensation Policy Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Copies of these charters and policies, Host Inc.’s Bylaws and Host L.P.’s partnership agreement also are available in print to stockholders and unitholders upon request to Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., 6903 Rockledge Drive, Suite 1500, Bethesda, Maryland 20817, Attn: Secretary. Please note that the information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference in, or considered to be a part of, any document, unless expressly incorporated by reference therein.
For an enterprise as large and complex as we are, a wide range of factors could materially affect future results and performance. The statements in this section describe the major risks to our business and should be considered carefully. In addition, these statements constitute our cautionary statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Financial Risks and Risks of Operation
Our revenues and the value of our properties are subject to conditions affecting the lodging industry.
The performance of the lodging industry traditionally has been affected by the strength of the general economy and, specifically, growth in gross domestic product (“GDP”). Because lodging industry demand typically follows the general economy, the lodging industry is cyclical, which contributes to potentially large fluctuations in our financial condition and results of operations. Changes in travel patterns of both business and leisure travelers, particularly during periods of economic contraction or low levels of economic growth, may create difficulties for the industry over the long-term and adversely affect our results of operations.
In addition, the majority of our hotels are classified as luxury or upper upscale and generally target business and high-end leisure travelers. In periods of economic difficulties, business and leisure travelers may seek to reduce travel costs by limiting travel or seeking to reduce costs of their trips. Consequently, our hotels may be more susceptible to a decrease in revenue during an economic downturn, as compared to hotels in other categories that have lower room rates. For instance, reductions in overall travel and reductions in travel to luxury and upper upscale hotels during the recession in 2008 and 2009 significantly affected our results of operations.
Other circumstances affecting the lodging industry which may affect our performance and the forecasts we make include:
We cannot assure you that adverse changes in the general economy or other circumstances that affect the lodging industry will not have an adverse effect on the hotel revenue or earnings at our properties. A reduction in our revenue or earnings as a result of the above risks may reduce our working capital and revenue, impact our long-term business strategy and impact the value of our assets and our ability to meet certain covenants in our existing debt agreements. In addition, we may incur impairment charges in the future,
which charges will affect negatively our results of operations. We can provide no assurance that any impairment loss recognized will not be material to our results of operations.
In addition to general economic conditions affecting the lodging industry, new hotel room supply is an important factor that can affect the lodging industry’s performance and overbuilding has the potential to further exacerbate the negative impact of an economic downturn. Room rates and occupancy, and thus RevPAR, tend to increase when demand growth exceeds supply growth. A reduction or slowdown in the growth of lodging demand or increased growth in lodging supply could result in returns that are substantially below expectations or result in losses which could materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.
We depend on external sources of capital for future growth; therefore, any disruption to our ability to access capital at times, and on terms reasonably acceptable to us, may affect adversely our business and results of operations.
Since we have elected REIT status, Host Inc. must finance its growth and fund debt repayments largely with external sources of capital because it is required to distribute to its stockholders at least 90% of its taxable income (other than net capital gain) each year in order to qualify as a REIT, including taxable income recognized for federal income tax purposes but with regard to which it does not receive cash. Funds used by Host Inc. to make required distributions are provided by distributions from Host L.P. Our ability to access external capital could be hampered by a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including:
The occurrence of any of these factors, individually or in combination, could prevent us from being able to obtain the external capital we require on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to finance our future growth and on our results of operations and financial condition. Potential consequences of disruptions in U.S. and global equity and credit markets and, as a result, an inability for us to access external capital at times, and on terms, reasonably acceptable to us could include:
We operate in a highly competitive industry.
The lodging industry is highly competitive. Our principal competitors are other owners and investors in upper upscale and luxury full-service hotels, including other lodging REITs. Our hotels face strong competition for individual guests, group reservations and conference business from major hospitality chains with well-established and recognized brands as well as from other smaller hotel chains, independent and local hotel owners and operators. We compete for customers based primarily on brand name recognition and reputation, as well as location, room rates, property size and availability of rooms and conference space, quality of the accommodations, customer satisfaction, amenities and the ability to earn and redeem loyalty program points. New hotels may be constructed and these additions to supply create new competitors, in some cases without corresponding increases in demand for hotel rooms. Our competitors may have similar or greater commercial and financial resources which allow them to improve their properties in ways that affect our ability to compete for guests effectively and adversely affect our revenues and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.
We also compete for hotel acquisitions with entities that have similar investment objectives as we do. This competition could limit the number of investment opportunities that we find suitable for our business. It also may increase the bargaining power of
property owners seeking to sell to us, making it more difficult for us to acquire new properties on attractive terms or on the terms contemplated in our business plan.
There are inherent risks with investments in real estate, including the relative illiquidity of real estate investments.
Investments in real estate are inherently illiquid and cannot generally be quickly sold. For this reason, we cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any hotel that we desire to sell for the price or on terms acceptable to us, or the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close on the sale of a hotel. Therefore, we may not be able to vary our portfolio promptly in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions and dispose of assets at opportune times or on favorable terms, which may adversely affect our cash flows and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.
In addition, real estate ownership is subject to various risks, including:
We have substantial debt and may incur additional debt.
As of December 31, 2017, we and our subsidiaries had total indebtedness of approximately $4.0 billion. Our indebtedness requires us to commit a significant portion of our annual cash flow from operations to debt service payments, which reduces the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, expansion efforts, dividends and distributions and other general corporate needs. Additionally, our substantial indebtedness could:
If our cash flow and working capital are not sufficient to fund our expenditures or service our indebtedness, we will be required to raise additional funds through:
We cannot make any assurances that any of these sources of funds will be available to us or, if available, will be on terms that we would find acceptable or in amounts sufficient to meet our obligations or fulfill our business plan. Under certain circumstances, we would be required to use the cash generated by any or all of the events described above to repay other indebtedness.
The terms of our indebtedness and preferred units place restrictions on us and our subsidiaries and these restrictions reduce our operational flexibility and create default risks.
We are, and may in the future become, party to agreements and instruments that place restrictions on us and our subsidiaries. For instance, the covenants in the documents governing the terms of our senior notes and our credit facility restrict, among other things, our ability to:
In addition, certain covenants in our credit facility also require us and our subsidiaries to meet financial metrics. The restrictive covenants in the applicable indenture(s), the credit facility and the documents governing our other debt (including any mortgage debt) will reduce our flexibility in conducting our operations and will limit our ability to engage in activities that may be in our long-term best interest. Failure to comply with these restrictive covenants could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, could result in the acceleration of all or a substantial portion of our debt. For a detailed description of the covenants and restrictions imposed by the documents governing our indebtedness, see Part II Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition.”
An increase in interest rates would increase the interest costs on our credit facility and on our floating rate debt and could impact adversely our ability to refinance existing debt or sell assets.
Interest payments for borrowings on our credit facility and the mortgages on certain non-consolidated properties are based on floating rates. As a result, an increase in interest rates will reduce our cash flow available for other corporate purposes, including investments in our portfolio. As of December 31, 2017, approximately 30% of our debt is subject to floating interest rates.
Rising interest rates also could limit our ability to refinance existing debt when it matures and increase interest costs on any debt that is refinanced. We may from time to time enter into agreements such as interest rate swaps, caps, floors and other interest rate hedging contracts. Currently, the majority of our mortgages with floating rates, including mortgages on our joint venture properties, are fully or partially hedged through the use of floating-to-fixed interest rate swaps or interest rate caps. These agreements expose us to the risk that other parties to the agreements will not perform or that the agreements will be unenforceable. In addition, an increase in interest rates could decrease the amount third parties are willing to pay for our assets, thereby limiting our ability to dispose of assets as part of our business strategy.
Our expenses may not decrease if our revenue decreases.
Many of the expenses associated with owning and operating hotels, such as debt-service payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and employee wages and benefits, are relatively inflexible. They do not necessarily decrease directly with a reduction in revenue at the hotels and may be subject to increases that are not tied to the performance of our hotels or the increase in the rate of inflation generally. Also, as of December 31, 2017, 26 of our hotels are subject to third-party ground leases, which generally require periodic increases in ground rent payments. Our ability to pay these rents could be affected adversely if our hotel revenues do not increase at the same or a greater rate than the increases in rental payments under the ground leases. For further information on our ground leases, please see Exhibit 99.1 filed with this report.
Additionally, certain costs, such as wages, benefits and insurance, may exceed the rate of inflation in any given period. In the event of a significant decrease in demand, our hotel managers may not be able to reduce the size of hotel work forces in order to decrease wages and benefits. Our managers also may be unable to offset any fixed or increased expenses with higher room rates. Any of our efforts to reduce operating costs also could adversely affect the future growth of our business and the value of our hotel properties.
Our acquisition of additional properties and disposition of certain properties may have a significant effect on our business, liquidity, financial position and/or results of operations.
We may acquire properties through various structures, including transactions involving portfolios, single assets, joint ventures and acquisitions of all or substantially all of the securities or assets of other REITs or similar real estate ownership entities. We anticipate that our acquisitions will be financed with a combination of methods and a variety of sources of external capital, including proceeds from Host Inc. equity offerings, issuance of limited partnership interests of Host L.P., advances under our credit facility, the incurrence or assumption of indebtedness and proceeds from the sale of assets. Our inability to access external sources of capital may limit our ability to finance acquisitions. For a discussion of factors that may limit our access to sources of capital, see “—We depend on external sources of capital for future growth; therefore, any disruption to our ability to access capital at times, and on terms reasonably acceptable to us, may affect adversely our business and results of operations.” In addition, certain of these factors, such as disruption in the global capital markets, may limit the ability of purchasers to finance their acquisition of our hotels and therefore our ability to use disposition proceeds to finance our acquisitions.
We routinely are actively engaged in the process of identifying, analyzing and negotiating possible acquisition transactions. We cannot provide any assurances that we will be successful in consummating future acquisitions on favorable terms or that we will realize the benefits that we anticipate from such acquisitions. Our failure to realize the intended benefits from one or more acquisitions could have a significant adverse effect on our business, liquidity, financial position and/or results of operations. These adverse effects may occur because the performance of the property does not support the additional indebtedness and related interest expense that we incurred as a result of the acquisition. In addition, assets and entities that we have acquired, or may in the future acquire, may be subject to unknown or contingent liabilities for which we may have no recourse, or only limited recourse, against the sellers. In general, the representations and warranties provided in the transaction agreements may not survive long enough for us to become aware of such liabilities and to seek recourse against our sellers and indemnification covering representations and warranties often is 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 recover any amounts with respect to losses due to breaches by the sellers of their representations and warranties. The total amount of costs and expenses that may be incurred with respect to liabilities associated with acquired hotels and entities may exceed our expectations, plus we may experience other unanticipated adverse effects, all of which may affect adversely our revenues, expenses, operating results and financial condition. Finally, indemnification agreements between us and the sellers typically provide that the sellers will retain certain specified liabilities relating to the assets and entities acquired by us. While the sellers generally are contractually obligated to pay all losses and other expenses relating to such retained liabilities without regard to survival limitations, materiality thresholds, deductibles or caps on losses, there can be no guarantee that such arrangements will not require us to incur losses or other expenses in addition to those incurred by the sellers.
We also are actively engaged in the process of identifying, analyzing and negotiating possible transactions for disposing of certain of our hotel properties. Under current market conditions, based on our experience, we expect that any future sale of our hotel properties may be effected through any of several structures, including sale transactions involving portfolios or single assets, joint ventures with third parties and spin-off distributions of hotel properties to our security holders. We anticipate that any potential purchaser of our hotel properties may finance its purchase through a combination of methods, including cash or the issuance to us of its securities or those of one of its affiliates. Therefore, to maximize the value of hotel properties that we may in the future decide to dispose of, we may consider a range of transaction structures that we determine under the circumstances are in our best interest. We cannot provide any assurances that we will successfully conclude any transaction to dispose of any one or more of our properties or that the terms of any such transaction will maximize the value of hotel properties being sold.
We may not achieve the value we anticipate from new hotel developments or value enhancement projects at our existing hotels.
We currently are, and in the future may be, involved in the development or redevelopment of hotel properties, timeshare units or other alternate uses of portions of our existing properties, including the development of retail, office or apartments, including through joint ventures. There are risks inherent in any new development, including:
In addition, to the extent that developments are conducted through joint ventures, this creates additional risks, including the possibility that our partners may not meet their financial obligations or will develop business interests, policies or objectives that are inconsistent with ours. See “—We may acquire hotel properties through joint ventures with third parties that could result in conflicts.”
Any of the above factors could affect adversely our and our partners’ ability to complete the developments on schedule and consistent with the scope that currently is contemplated, or to achieve the intended value of these projects. For these reasons, there can be no assurances as to the value to be realized by us from these transactions or any future similar transactions.
To maintain our status as a REIT, we are not permitted to operate or manage any of our hotels. As a result, we, through our TRSs, have entered into management agreements with third-party managers to operate our hotel properties. For this reason, we are unable to directly implement strategic business decisions with respect to the daily operation and marketing of our hotels, such as decisions with respect to the setting of room rates, food and beverage pricing and certain similar matters. Although we consult with our hotel operators with respect to strategic business plans, the hotel operators are under no obligation to implement any of our recommendations with respect to these matters. While we monitor the hotel managers’ performance, we have limited recourse under our management agreements if we believe that the hotel managers are not performing adequately. The cash flow from our hotels may be affected adversely if our managers fail to provide quality services and amenities or if they or their affiliates fail to maintain a quality brand name. Because our management agreements are long-term in nature, we also may not be able to terminate these agreements if we believe the manager is not performing adequately.
From time to time, we have had, and continue to have, differences with the managers of our hotels over their performance and compliance with the terms of our management agreements. We generally resolve issues with our managers through discussions and negotiations. However, if we are unable to reach satisfactory results through discussions and negotiations, we may choose to litigate the dispute or submit the matter to third-party dispute resolution. Failure by our hotel managers to fully perform the duties agreed to in our management agreements or the failure of our managers to adequately manage the risks associated with hotel operations could affect adversely our results of operations.
In addition, our hotel managers or their affiliates manage, and in some cases own, have invested in, or provided credit support or operating guarantees, to hotels that compete with our hotels, all of which may result in conflicts of interest. As a result, our hotel managers have in the past made, and may in the future make, decisions regarding competing lodging facilities that are not or would not be in our best interest.
Furthermore, our management agreements for our brand managed properties generally have provisions that can restrict our ability to sell, lease or otherwise transfer our hotels, unless the transferee is not a competitor of the manager and the transferee assumes the related management agreements and meets specified other conditions. Our ability to finance or sell our properties, depending upon the structure of such transactions, may require the manager’s consent. Similarly, decisions with respect to the repositioning of a hotel, such as the outsourcing of food and beverage outlets, may require the manager’s consent.
The properties managed by Marriott International account for most of our revenues and operating income. Adverse developments in Marriott’s business and affairs or financial condition could have a material adverse effect on us.
On September 23, 2016, Marriott International completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, bringing Starwood’s brands under Marriott’s management. As a result of the merger, approximately 78% of our properties (as measured by 2017 revenues) now are managed or franchised by Marriott. We rely on Marriott’s personnel, expertise, technical resources and information systems, proprietary information, good faith and judgment to manage and maintain our hotel operations efficiently, effectively, profitably and in compliance with the terms, responsibilities and duties of our management agreements and all applicable laws and regulations. Any adverse developments in Marriott’s business and affairs or financial condition could impair its ability to manage our properties and could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, the integration of Starwood’s brands under Marriott management may expose us to additional risks and costs at our properties, and will place a significant burden on Marriott’s management and internal resources and the potential for diversion of its attention from the day-to-day business operations of its hotels, including hotels owned by us.
We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor.
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 (other than employing, but not managing or supervising, the employees at our properties in Brazil), we still remain subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force, particularly at those hotels with unionized labor. 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 hotel operating costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. As we are not the employer nor bound by any collective bargaining agreement, we do not negotiate with any labor organization, and it is the responsibility of each property’s manager to enter into such labor contracts. Our ability, if any, to have any meaningful impact on the outcome of these negotiations is restricted by and dependent on the individual management agreement covering a specific property and we may have little ability to control the outcome of these negotiations.
Our hotels have an ongoing need for renovations and potentially significant capital expenditures in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, maintain brand standards or to comply with applicable laws or regulations. The timing and costs of such renovations or improvements may result in reduced operating performance during construction and may not improve the return on these investments.
We are required by our loan agreements or agreements with our hotel managers to make agreed upon capital expenditures. In addition, we will need to make further capital expenditures in order to remain competitive with other hotels, to maintain the economic value of our hotels and to comply with applicable laws and regulations. The timing of these improvements can affect hotel performance, particularly if the improvements require closure of a significant number of rooms or other features of the hotels, such as ballrooms, meeting space and restaurants. These capital improvements reduce the availability of cash for other purposes and are subject to cost overruns and delays. In addition, because we depend on external sources of capital, we may not have the necessary funds to invest and, if we fail to maintain our properties in accordance with brand standards set by our managers, they may terminate the management agreement. Moreover, we may not necessarily realize a significant, or any, improvement in the performance of the hotels at which we make these investments.
Our hotels are geographically concentrated in a limited number of large urban cities and, accordingly, we could be disproportionately harmed by adverse changes to these markets, a natural disaster or threat of a terrorist attack.
The concentration of our hotels in a limited number of large urban cities exposes us to greater risk to local economic or business conditions, changes in hotel supply in these cities, and other conditions than more geographically diversified hotel companies. Hotels in New York, Washington, D.C., San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Florida, Hawaii, Atlanta, and Los Angeles represented approximately 74% of our 2017 revenues. An economic downturn, an increase in hotel supply in these cities, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or similar disaster in any one of these cities likely would cause a decline in the hotel market and adversely affect occupancy rates, the financial performance of our hotels in these cities and our overall results of operations. For example, in September 2017, our operations in Florida and Houston were impacted negatively by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In 2013, decreased U.S. government demand for hotel rooms (approximately 5% of our business) in markets such as Washington, D.C. had a negative impact on our results of operations.
The threat of terrorism also may negatively impact hotel occupancy and average daily rate, due to resulting disruptions in business and leisure travel patterns and concerns about travel safety. Hotels in major metropolitan areas, such as the major cities that represent our largest markets, may be particularly adversely affected due to concerns about travel safety. The possibility of future attacks may hamper business and leisure travel patterns and, accordingly, the performance of our business and our operations.
The ownership of hotels outside the United States will expose us to risks related to owning hotels in those international markets.
As of December 31, 2017, we own directly six hotels located outside of the United States. We also are party to a joint venture that owns 11 hotels in Europe and to a joint venture that owns a non-controlling interest in seven hotels in India. We may have difficulty managing entry into new geographic markets where we have limited knowledge and understanding of the local economy, an absence of business relationships in the area, or unfamiliarity with local governmental and permitting procedures and regulations. There are risks inherent in conducting business outside of the United States, which include:
Any of these factors could affect adversely our ability to obtain all of the intended benefits of our international operations. If we do not effectively manage and successfully integrate the international hotels into our organization, our operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.
We may acquire hotel properties through joint ventures with third parties that could result in conflicts.
We have made investments in joint ventures and are exploring further investment opportunities. We may, from time to time, invest as a co-venturer in other entities holding hotel properties instead of purchasing them directly. We also may sell interests in existing properties to a third party as part of forming a joint venture with the third party. Investments in joint ventures may 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. Co-venturers often share control over the operation of a joint venture. Actions by a co-venturer also could subject the assets to additional risks as a result of any of the following circumstances:
For certain joint ventures, we might not be able to take action without the approval of our joint venture partners. Disputes between us and our partners or co-venturers may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and may negatively impact operations.
Although our joint ventures may generate positive cash flow, in some cases they may be unable to distribute cash flow to the joint venture partners due to tax laws or other restrictions on our ability to repatriate non-U.S. earnings in a tax efficient manner. Additionally, in some cases our joint venture partners share control over distributions and may choose to retain capital in the joint venture rather than to distribute it. Because our ability to generate liquidity from our joint ventures depends in part on their ability to distribute capital to us, our failure to receive distributions from our joint ventures could reduce our cash flow return on these investments.
The growth of internet reservation channels could adversely affect our business.
A significant percentage of hotel rooms for individual or “transient” customers are booked through internet travel intermediaries. Search engines and peer-to-peer inventory sources also provide online travel services that compete with our hotels. If bookings shift to higher cost distribution channels, including these internet travel intermediaries, it could materially impact our revenues and profitability. Additionally, as intermediary bookings increase, they may be able to obtain higher commissions, reduced room rates or other significant contract concessions from the brands and hotel management companies operating our hotels. Also, although internet travel intermediaries traditionally have competed to attract transient business rather than group and convention business, in recent years they have expanded 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 also increase our cost of sales for group and convention business. Consolidation of internet travel intermediaries, and the entry of major internet companies into the internet travel bookings business, also could divert bookings away from the websites of our hotel managers and increase our cost of sales.
Full insurance recovery for terrorist acts may not be possible.
We generally obtain terrorism insurance to cover property damage caused by acts of terrorism under separate standalone policies of insurance as well as policies on U.S. properties which currently are subject to U.S. federal government cost sharing as provided in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (“TRIPRA”), which has been extended through December 31, 2020. We also have terrorism insurance under our general liability program and in our program for directors’ and officers’ coverage. We also obtain terrorism insurance to cover some of our foreign properties through insurance programs involving or administered by foreign governments. We may not be able to recover fully under our existing terrorism insurance policies for losses caused by some types of terrorist acts, and neither U.S. nor foreign terrorism insurance legislation or regulations ensure that we will be able to obtain terrorism insurance in adequate amounts or at acceptable premium levels in the future.
TRIPRA distinguishes between “direct insurers” (those which write policies directly insuring commercial businesses) and “reinsurers” (those which issue policies to direct insurers, absorbing some of the risk in the direct insurers’ policies). TRIPRA requires direct insurers to offer terrorism insurance, except for nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological (“NBCR”) perils and most direct insurers have been unwilling to provide NBCR coverage, even with government reimbursement. TRIPRA does not require reinsurers to provide any terrorism coverage. Any damage related to war and to NBCR incidents, therefore, is excluded under policies covering
our U.S. properties. Moreover, many of our foreign properties also are not covered against NBCR perils. We obtain a certain amount of property insurance coverage on our U.S. properties for NBCR perils through our wholly-owned subsidiary that acts as our direct insurer against such perils to the extent of reimbursement under TRIPRA. We ultimately are responsible for any loss borne by our insurance subsidiary.
As a result of the above, there remains uncertainty regarding the adequacy and cost of terrorism coverage that will be available to protect our interests in the event of terrorist attacks that impact our properties.
Some potential losses are not covered by insurance.
We, or our hotel managers, carry comprehensive insurance coverage for general liability, property, business interruption and other risks with respect to all of our hotels and other properties. These policies offer coverage features and insured limits that we believe are customary for similar types of properties. Generally, our “all-risk” property policies provide coverage that is available on a per-occurrence basis and that, for each occurrence, has an overall limit, as well as various sub-limits, on the amount of insurance proceeds we can receive. Sub-limits exist for certain types of claims, such as service interruption, debris removal, expediting costs, landscaping replacement and natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, and may be subject to annual aggregate coverage limits. The dollar amounts of these sub-limits are significantly lower than the dollar amounts of the overall coverage limit. In this regard, hotels in certain of our markets, including California, Florida and Seattle, have in the past been and continue to be particularly susceptible to damage from natural disasters. Recovery under the applicable policies also is subject to substantial deductibles and complex calculations of lost business income. There is no assurance that this insurance, where maintained, will fully fund the re-building or restoration of a hotel that is impacted by an earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster, or the income lost as a result of the damage. Our property policies also provide that all of the claims from each of our properties resulting from a particular insurable event must be combined for purposes of evaluating whether the aggregate limits and sub-limits contained in our policies have been exceeded and, in the case where the manager of one of our hotels provides this coverage, any such claims will be combined with the claims of other owners participating in the manager’s program for the same purpose. Therefore, if an insurable event occurs that affects more than one of our hotels, or, in the case of hotels where coverage is provided by the manager, affects hotels owned by others, the claims from each affected hotel will be added together to determine whether the aggregate limit or sub-limits, depending on the type of claim, have been reached. Each affected hotel only may receive a proportional share of the amount of insurance proceeds provided for under the policy if the total value of the loss exceeds the aggregate limits available. We may incur losses in excess of insured limits and, as a result, we may be even less likely to receive complete coverage for risks that affect multiple properties, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or certain types of terrorism.
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. Should a loss in excess of insured limits or an uninsured loss occur, or should we be unsuccessful in obtaining coverage from an insurance carrier, we could lose all or a part of the capital we have invested in a property, as well as the anticipated future revenue from the hotel. In that event, we might nevertheless remain obligated for any mortgage debt or other financial obligations related to the property.
Cyber threats and the risk of data breaches or disruptions of our managers’ or our own information technology systems could materially adversely affect our business.
Our third party hotel managers are dependent on information technology networks and systems, including the internet, to access, process, transmit and store proprietary and customer information. These complex networks include reservation systems, vacation exchange systems, hotel management systems, customer databases, call centers, administrative systems, and third party vendor systems. These systems require the collection and retention of large volumes of personally identifiable information of hotel guests, including credit card numbers. Our hotel managers may store and process such proprietary and customer information both on systems located at the hotels we own and other hotels that they operate, their corporate locations and at third-party owned facilities, including, for example, in a third-party hosted cloud environment. These information networks and systems can be vulnerable to threats such as system, network or internet failures; computer hacking or business disruption; cyber-terrorism; viruses, worms or other malicious software programs; and employee error, negligence or fraud. These threats can be introduced in any number of ways, including through third parties accessing our hotel managers’ information networks and systems. The risks from these cyber threats are significant. We rely on the security systems of our managers to protect proprietary and customer information from these threats. Any compromise of our managers’ networks could result in a disruption to operations, such as disruptions in fulfilling guest reservations, delayed bookings or sales, or lost guest reservations. Any of these events could, in turn, result in disruption of the operations of the hotels we own that are managed by them, in increased costs and in potential litigation and liability. All of our major hotel management companies and a majority of our third party operators maintain insurance against cyber threats. However, these policies provide varying limits and may be subject to sub limits for certain types of claims, and it is not expected that these policies will provide a total recovery of all potential losses. In addition, public disclosure, or loss of customer or proprietary information, could result in damage to
the manager’s reputation and a loss of confidence among hotel guests and result in reputational harm for the hotels owned by us and managed by them, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition to the information technologies and systems of our managers used to operate our hotels, we have our own corporate technologies and systems that are used to access, store, transmit, and manage or support a variety of business processes. There can be no assurance that the security measures we have taken to protect the contents of these systems 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, and attacks by hackers. Disruptions in service, system shutdowns and security breaches in the information technologies and systems we use, including unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, could have a material adverse effect on our business, our financial reporting and compliance, and subject us to liability claims or regulatory penalties which could be significant. While we have our own cyber insurance policy to address these exposures, we do not expect it will cover all losses that we could experience from these exposures.
Litigation judgments or settlements could have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition.
We are involved in various legal proceedings in the ordinary course of business and are vigorously defending these claims; however, no assurances can be given as to the outcome of any pending legal proceedings. We believe, based on currently available information, that the results of such proceedings, in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, but might be material to our operating results for any particular period, depending, in part, upon the operating results for such period. We also could become the subject of future claims by the operators of our hotels, individuals or companies who use our hotels, our investors, our joint venture partners or regulating entities and these claims could have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition and performance.
We depend on our key personnel.
Our continued success depends on the efforts and abilities of our executive officers and other key personnel. None of our key personnel have employment agreements and we do not maintain key person life insurance for any of our executive officers. These individuals are important to our business and strategy and to the extent that any of them departs and is not replaced with a qualified substitute, such person’s departure could harm our operations and financial condition.
Exchange rate fluctuations could affect adversely our financial results.
Currency exchange rate fluctuations could affect our results of operations and financial position. We generate revenue and expenses in such foreign currencies as the Euro, the Canadian dollar, the Mexican peso, the British pound sterling, the Swedish krona, the Brazilian real and the Indian rupee. Although we may enter into foreign exchange agreements with financial institutions and/or obtain local currency mortgage debt in order to reduce our exposure to fluctuations in the value of these and other foreign currencies, these transactions, if entered into, will not eliminate entirely that risk. To the extent that we are unable to match revenue received in foreign currencies with expenses paid in that same currency, exchange rate fluctuations could have a negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, because our consolidated financial results are reported in U.S. dollars, if we generate revenues or earnings in other currencies, the conversion of such amounts to U.S. dollars can result in an increase or decrease of the amount of our revenues or earnings as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.
Similarly, changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar can result in increases or decreases in demand at our U.S. properties from international travelers coming to the United States. Because of the concentration of our hotels in major U.S. cities, we may have more exposure to fluctuations in international travel to the United States than other lodging companies without investments located as heavily in these markets.
Applicable REIT laws may restrict certain business activities.
As a REIT, each of Host Inc. and its subsidiary REIT is subject to various restrictions on the types of income it can earn, assets it can own and activities in which it can engage. Business activities that could be restricted by applicable REIT laws include, but are not limited to, developing alternative uses of real estate and the ownership of hotels that are not leased to a TRS, including the development and/or sale of timeshare or condominium units or the related land parcels. Due to these restrictions, we anticipate that we will continue to conduct certain business activities, including, but not limited to, those mentioned above, in one or more of our TRSs. Our TRSs are taxable as regular C corporations and are subject to federal, state, local, and, if applicable, foreign taxation on their taxable income.
Our properties are subject to requirements and potential liabilities under various foreign and U.S. federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations. Unidentified environmental liabilities could arise and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and performance. Additionally, even after we have sold a property, we may be liable for environmental liabilities that occurred during our ownership. Federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment may require a current or previous owner or operator of real estate to investigate and remediate hazardous or toxic substances or petroleum product releases at the property. The owner or operator may be required to pay a governmental entity or third parties for property damage, and for investigation and remediation costs incurred by the parties in connection with the contamination. These laws typically impose clean-up responsibility and liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of or caused the presence of the contaminants. Even if more than one person may have been responsible for the contamination, each person covered by the environmental laws may be held responsible for all of the clean-up costs incurred. In addition, third parties may sue the owner or operator of a site for damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from that site. Environmental laws also govern the presence, maintenance and removal of toxic or hazardous substances. These laws require that owners or operators of buildings properly manage and maintain these substances and notify and train those who may come into contact with them and undertake special precautions. These laws may impose fines and penalties on building owners or operators who fail to comply with these requirements and may allow third parties to seek recovery from owners or operators for personal injury associated with exposure to toxic or hazardous materials.
We face possible risks associated with natural disasters and the physical effects of climate change.
We are subject to the risks associated with natural disasters and the physical effects of climate change, which can include more frequent or severe storms, droughts, hurricanes and flooding, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our properties, operations and business. To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, our coastal markets also could experience increases in storm intensity and rising sea-levels causing damage to our properties. 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 properties 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 properties, such as the cost of water or energy, and requiring us to expend funds as we seek to repair and protect our properties against such risks. There can be no assurance that climate change will not have a material adverse effect on our properties, operations or business.
Compliance with other government regulations can be costly.
Our hotels are subject to various other forms of regulation, including Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), building codes and regulations pertaining to fire and life safety. Under the ADA, all public accommodations are required to meet certain federal rules related to access and use by disabled persons. These laws and regulations may be changed from time-to-time, or new regulations adopted, resulting in additional costs of compliance, including potential litigation. A determination that we are not in compliance with the ADA or other laws and regulations could result in a court order to bring the hotel into compliance, imposition of civil penalties in cases brought by the Justice Department, or an award of attorneys’ fees to private litigants. Compliance with the ADA and other laws and regulations could require substantial capital expenditures. Any increased costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In addition, the operations of our international properties are subject to a variety of United States and international laws and regulations, including the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). We have policies and procedures designed to promote compliance with the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws, but we cannot assure that we will continue to be found to be operating in compliance with, or be able to detect violations of, any such laws or regulations. In addition, we cannot predict the nature, scope or effect of future regulatory requirements to which our international properties might be subject and the manner in which existing laws might be administered or interpreted.
Risks of Ownership of Host Inc.’s Common Stock
There are limitations on the acquisition of Host Inc. common stock and changes in control.
Host Inc.’s charter and by-laws, the partnership agreement of Host L.P., and the Maryland General Corporation Law (the “MGCL”) contain a number of provisions, the exercise or existence of which could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for Host Inc.’s stockholders or Host L.P.’s unitholders, including the following:
Stock acquired or held in violation of the ownership limit will be transferred automatically to a trust for the benefit of a designated charitable beneficiary, and the intended acquirer of the stock in violation of the ownership limit will not be entitled to any distributions thereon, to vote those shares of stock or to receive any proceeds from the subsequent sale of the stock in excess of the lesser of the price paid for the stock or the amount realized from the sale. A transfer of shares of Host Inc.’s stock to a person who, as a result of the transfer, violates the ownership limit may be void under certain circumstances, and, in any event, would deny that person any of the economic benefits of owning shares of Host Inc.’s stock in excess of the ownership limit. These restrictions will not apply if Host Inc.’s Board of Directors determines that it no longer is in Host Inc.’s best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with the restrictions on transfer and ownership no longer is required for Host Inc. to qualify as a REIT.