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Ashford's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Some factors that affected the quarter’s RevPAR in DC were related to the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure Program particularly in the Crystal City area where several of our assets are located. Also affecting our RevPAR for the quarter was the fact that our second largest market Dallas, hosted the Super Bowl during the first quarter last year which makes year-over-year comparisons challenging.

Lastly airport markets generally, and our airport markets in particular experienced better weather by comparison to last year resulting in fewer stranded passengers needing hotel rooms. In January and February for 2011 the nation experienced 45000 cancelled flights compared to 12000 for this year. Clearly compared to our peers we have one the most diversified geographic portfolios which we believe mitigates risk. The pace of the economic recovery in certain markets could at times contribute to RevPAR variations.

However we continue to see the hotel RevPAR recovery as broad based, noting that for the entire industry, the top performing markets for the first quarter were Nashville, New Orleans and Waikiki, while the top performing segments was highway locations. Additionally we have implemented an aggressive CapEx program which is having an impact on RevPAR. We believe these capital expenditures will result in the future strong market share gains.

We are targeted to spend a $120 million to $135 million for 2012 and during the first quarter we spent $29.5 million in 32 hotels. By comparison to our historical experience with CapEx initiatives in other quarters, we are seeing an impact on RevPAR from the acceleration of our work and a scope for the refurbishments. If we were to exclude those assets in renovation our RevPAR would have reflected 4.8% growth.

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