Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (HST)

Q2 2010 Earnings Conference Call

July 21, 2010 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Gregory Larson – EVP, Corporate Strategy & Fund Management

W. Edward Walter – CEO, President and Director

Larry Harvey – CFO and EVP

Analysts

Felicia Hendrix – Barclays Capital

Andrew Whitman – Baird

Jeffrey Donnelly – Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Donnelly – Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

William Crow – Raymond James & Associates

Joseph Greff – JP Morgan Chase & Co

Joshua Attie – Citigroup Inc

Michael Billerman – Citigroup Inc

Chris Woronka – Deutsche Bank AG

Presentation

Operator

To begin, good day, and welcome to the Host Hotels & Resorts, Incorporated Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over it to the Executive Vice President, Mr. Greg Larson. Please go ahead, sir.

Gregory Larson

Well, thank you. Welcome to the Host Hotels & Resorts Second Quarter 2010 Earnings Call. Before we begin, I'd like to remind everyone that many of the comments made today are considered to be forward-looking statements under Federal Securities laws. These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause future results to differ from those expressed, and we are not obligated to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Additionally, on today's call we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial information such as FFO, adjusted EBITDA and comparable hotel results. You can find this information together with reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP information in today's earnings press release, in our 8-K filed with the SEC and on our website at hosthotels.com.

This morning, Ed Walter, our President and Chief Executive Officer, will provide a brief overview of our second quarter results and then we'll describe the current operating environment as well as the company's outlook for the remainder of 2010. Larry Harvey, our Chief Financial Officer, will then provide greater detail on our second quarter results, including regional and market performance. Following the remarks, we will be available to respond to your questions. And now here is Ed.

W. Edward Walter

Thanks, Greg. Good morning, everyone. We are pleased to report that for the second straight quarter our operating results and trends were significantly better than we expected. The improving economy and resulting ramp up in demand generated sequential improvement in RevPAR throughout the quarter. This positive momentum has enabled us to increase our estimates for the second time this year, which I will discuss further in a moment.

We've also been successful in placing some great hotels under contract, which will further enhance the quality of our portfolio.

First, let's talk about our second quarter results. Our comparable hotel RevPAR for the second quarter increased 8.1% driven by an increase in occupancy of 6 percentage points and offset by a slight decrease in our average rate of $0.07. Our average rate was at $165 and our average occupancy was 73.8%. Strong group business helped drive an 8.6% increase in food and beverage revenues.

Overall revenue growth is 6.2% combined with flat comparable hotel adjusted operating profit margins resulted in adjusted EBITDA of $250 million for the second quarter and FFO per diluted share of $0.23.

On a year-to-date basis, comparable hotel RevPAR increased 3.5%, and food and beverage revenues grew 3.1%. Total year-to-date revenue growth of 1.7% combined with comparable hotel adjusted operating profit margins that declined 110 basis points, resulted in year-to-date adjusted EBITDA of 376 million and year-to-date FFO per diluted share of $0.31. I should note that RevPAR improved throughout the quarter, with period six achieving RevPAR growth of nearly aided by our first overall rate growth in over a year and a half.

On a calendar-year-basis, our second quarter RevPAR was up nearly 10%. In general for the quarter the occupancy increase was better than we had expected and the average rate declined less than we anticipated resulting in a better than expected RevPAR and EBITDA.

Turning to our business mix for the quarter, we continue to see positive demand trends which resulted in a substantial increase in overall room nights for the quarter of almost 9% compare to last year. More importantly, we are seeing demand recover specifically in our higher rated business segments for both group and transient. This is an extremely positive sign and suggests that hotels were becoming less reliant on discount as booking as demand continues to strengthen.

Transient room nights increased 8%, led by an 11% increase in our Premium and Corporate segments and a 33% increase in the Special Corporate segment. The recovery and business travel that we experienced in the first quarter continued to gain momentum this quarter. In addition, the average rate in our Premium and Corporate businesses increased by more than 6% resulting in revenue growth of 8% in those segments.

Conversely, we experienced a 1% decrease in discount room nights, which was the first decline in discount room nights, which was the first decline in this segment in 2007. This should be viewed as positive sign that hotels are more confident in their ability to attract higher rate of business travelers.

Overall, the combination of higher rates and the positive shifts of business mix resulted in the transient average rate increase of almost 3% for the quarter, the first that's increased in two years leading to an increase in transient revenue of 11%.

The recovery that begun in group businesses, the beginning of the year accelerated as total groups demand increased 10% for the second quarter lead by a 16% increase in corporate group. These trends were even more pronounced in our Luxury hotels, where group activity increased by 7% and corporate group was up by 34%.

In the quarter for the quarter bookings in the discount segment grew approximately 33%, while higher rated association and corporate bookings grew 121% indicating that hotels are starting to rely less on the discount markets for short-term bookings and focus more on higher rate of business. The strong group demand combined with the gradual shifts and business mix held the average rate decline in the group to less than 5% and resulted in nearly a 5% increase in group revenues.

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