HOT Q2 2014 CONF CALL NOTES

Strong secular tailwinds, but one major headwind...

 

 

CONF CALL

Q1 2014 Results:

  • Global economy "bouncing along" and slightly improving
  • Worldwide presence makes HOT more susceptible to global gyrations
  • Watching Thailand, Egypt, Russia, and Emerging Markets carefully...

North America

  • RevPAR >7%
  • Occupancy at record highs
  • Late cycle: RevPAR should be rate driven, but several years away from new supply in most markets - especially at the high end
  • Momentum continuing into Q2, RevPAR expected in 6-7%

Europe

  • RevPAR 2.5% but Q1 is slow season

Africa/Middle East

  • Outlook doesn't include a dramatic improvement
  • 11 hotels pulled results lower
  • Saudi Arabia stronger

Latin AM

  • Mixed, emerging two-tier region
  • Mexico & central:  combined revpar +14%
  • 2nd Tier: Venezuela, Brazil, Argentia - struggling, f(x) issues

China

  • Expect Q2 slightly slower following strong Q1 results
  • RevPAR +12% driven by Sheraton Macau with 90% occupancy
  • ex Sheraton Macau (Mainland China) 6% RevPAR growth
  • performance stronger than expected
  • inbound travel to china dropped and Central Gov't austerity
  • promoting the company across all segments, markets, and channels
  • >70% occupancy PRC nationals
  • Fewer large customers, few long lead time clients, booking window short/close in
  • Results driven by increasing occupancy and not rates

Other Asia

  • Bangkok: riots hurt results
  • Thailand: much stronger
  • Asia ex China continue growth trends

Bal Harbour:

  • only two condo remain unsold

Secular Growth in Cities:

  • Top 100 Cities = 40% of global GDP
  • Next 500 Cities = almost 40% of global GDP
  • these 500 Cities = new development opportunity (Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis)
  • 200 cities global that could support at least one Sheraton and not have a Sheraton today

Q&A - 5 of the 12 questions focused on share repurchase strategy or capital plans.  The natives are getting restless...

  • Share repurchase vs. special dividends:
    • constantly recalibrating how to return to shareholders will use dividend, special dividend and share repurchase avenues
    • special dividends: not adverse to one-time, like flexibility of quarterly
  • Asset sales:
    • now have more asset for sale since the global financial crisis
    • North American portfolio, as well as assets in Europe and Asia
  • Asset buyer profile
    • Europe/Large one-offs:  UHNW family or person, sovereign wealth
    • US: portfolio sales to PE, funds, or private buyer
    • Geographic:  Middle East and ethic Chinese around the world
  • Stock under performance due to lack of share repurchase vs. Emerging Market issues...
  • NA system wide vs. owned RevPAR differential:  less than 20 NA owned, skewed to NYC and Canada = Q1 under performance, purely geographic
  • Corp Negotiated:  mid single digits rates
  • Corp Group:  stronger and healthiest of all group
  • Corp Group F&B:  still focused on keeping costs down
  • US:  1/3 group with long lead time vs. 2/3 non-group
    • Non-US: 1/4 group with short lead time
  • Airbnb:  real phenomenon, disruptive, concern is similar to OTA onset 10 year ago.
  • Termination Fees:  anticipated for Q1 2014, 8%-10% growth for Q2 and FY 2014
  • Underlevered Balance Sheet indicate interest in reinvesting through a brand acquisition?
  • Europe:  70-75% business traveler world-wide, but destination hotels in Italy, France, Spain so summer mix is skewed to leisure - summer will tell if Europe bounces strongly higher. 

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