For our Weekly Sho we've recorded a 20-minute video with 36 slides highlighting our current views as we head into another earnings season. The cruise line section begins at 4:03, the lodging section begins at 9:00, and the gaming section begins at 15:40. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
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Hotel brand loyalty is critically important because loyalty members pay higher rates, spend more while at the property, stay more frequently, and cost less (i.e. a direct booking guest without OTA commissions), which attracts developers and owners to the brand. Importantly, loyalty is growing. The combined loyalty at the major C-Corps (MAR/HOT, HLT, IHG, CHH, and WH) currently totals ~450M members. Five years ago, those same C-Corps had combined loyalty of only around ~270M members.
WH trades at a discount to peers and we often hear some investors tell us the discount should close over time. Admittedly, the level of WH’s relative valuation seems more compelling to us – specifically versus CHH – as WH has underperformed CHH and its relative valuation to CHH has contracted further since WH’s spinoff last year. However, we continue to rate the stock Peer Perform because we believe there are reasons for a discount to peers – especially relative to MAR and HLT – and there are reasons why we don’t believe the valuation gap will meaningfully close in the near term. In this week’s piece we explore this idea by analyzing ten themes that factor into WH’s relative valuation. Please click the link above for the full report.
In recent years hotels have modified rate options within the booking process while also modifying cancellation policies, we think with a goal to reduce churn and cancellation activity. In years past, hotels offered a standard rate option – book now and pay at check-in. Now, hotels offer multiple options, including an option to pre-pay now at a lower but non-refundable rate. Hotels have also tightened cancellation policies for the standard rate (i.e. pay at check-in rate), with cancellation policies extending from 0-24 hours prior to check-in to in some cases now 72 hours before check-in. These policies have resulted in less cancellations, and on the last earnings call HLT cited cancellations are down 10% over the past several years.
In this week’s piece we discuss five ideas with five charts, including probably way-too-early hurricane forecasts for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season as it relates to cruise lines; NCLH’s recent consistent beat and raise execution, and what that hasn’t meant for the equity multiple; why VAC’s planned analyst day later this Fall seems positive; RevPAR index gains for brands, who seemingly took RevPAR share from independents in 1Q, which we believe is positive for the long-term model; and softer Chinese credit data in April, and what that might mean for Macau GGR. Please click the link above for the full report.
Last week was a busy week filled with cruise, gaming, and lodging earnings reports. In this week’s piece we highlight ten key themes with several charts. Please click the link above for the full report.
For our weekly charts this week we examine why U.S. RevPAR growth has been soft and why we expect it to remain soft. Specifically, we list seven key challenges with supporting charts. Please click the link above for the full report.
For our weekly charts this week we provide an update on IMO 2020 given on-going fluctuating fuel prices as well as some recent and potentially overlooked news on scrubber policy, which could become problematic for CCL. We’ll discuss and later in Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2 we’ll quantify the potential impact to fuel expense. Please click the link above for the full report.
Last week we lowered our Lodging sector rating to Market Weight and downgraded HST to Underperform. Our view is we seem late in the lodging cycle and we think U.S. RevPAR faces risks. See our notes with our complete thesis here and here. To be clear we aren’t making a negative call on all lodging. We’re still bullish on timeshare (VAC and HGV), which is our favorite sub-group, and RevPAR isn’t a KPI for timeshare. We also think the hotel C-Corps can still work in a tepid U.S. RevPAR environment because the asset-light business models are powerful, and efforts by China/Europe to re-stimulate could start to favor names with international exposure like the C-Corps, but admittedly we now see less exciting upside to the C-Corps as reflected by our target prices. Given the move in lodging stocks as well as slowing U.S. RevPAR the risk/reward of the space seems less compelling. Owned real estate in the U.S. seems most exposed to our view, which is the reason for our downgrade of HST to Underperform. Investor feedback on our call has generally been receptive, and it feels like sentiment is definitely biased negative. From our conversations we even sense some bearishness towards the high-quality C-Corps.
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