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RHP Ryman Hospitality Properties

Filed: 25 Feb 20, 5:05pm

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from            to

Commission File No. 1-13079

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

Delaware

73-0664379

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee

37214

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (615) 316-6000

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Name of Each Exchange on

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol(s)

Which Registered

Common stock, par value $.01

RHP

New York Stock Exchange

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
NONE

(Title of Class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes  No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes  No

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. Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

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.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer     

Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  Yes  No

The aggregate market value of the shares of Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant based on the closing price of the Common Stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 28, 2019 of $81.09 per share was approximately $3,737,335,683 (assuming for this purpose that shares beneficially owned by persons other than officers or directors of the registrant, and their affiliates, are held by non-affiliates).

As of January 31, 2020, there were 54,898,888 shares of Common Stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

PART I

Throughout this report, we refer to Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Ryman”), together with its subsidiaries, as “we,” “us,” “our,” or the “Company.” For each year discussed, our fiscal year ends on December 31. All of the discussion and analysis in this report should be read with, and is qualified in its entirety by, the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements concern our goals, beliefs, expectations, strategies, objectives, plans, future operating results and underlying assumptions, and other statements that are not necessarily based on historical facts. Without limitation, you can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts, and these statements may contain words such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “might,” “projects,” “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “continue,” “estimate,” or “pursue,” or the negative or other variations thereof or comparable terms. In particular, they include statements relating to, among other things, future actions, strategies, future performance, the outcome of contingencies such as legal proceedings and future financial results. These also include statements regarding (i) the effect of our election to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and maintain REIT status for federal income tax purposes; (ii) the holding of our non-qualifying REIT assets in one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRSs”); (iii) our announced dividend policy including the frequency and amount of any dividend we may pay; (iv) potential growth opportunities, including future expansion of the geographic diversity of our existing asset portfolio through acquisitions and our investment in the joint venture (the “Gaylord Rockies joint venture”) that owns the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado (“Gaylord Rockies”); (v) Marriott International, Inc.’s (“Marriott”) ability to effectively manage our hotels and other properties; (vi) our anticipated capital expenditures and investments; (vii) the potential operating and financial restrictions imposed on our activities under existing and future financing agreements and other contractual arrangements with third parties, including management agreements with Marriott; (viii) our pending acquisition of the Block 21 complex in Austin, Texas (“Block 21”); and (ix) any other business or operational matters. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, our actual results could differ materially from the results anticipated by the forward-looking statements as a result of many known and unknown factors including, but not limited to, those discussed in Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and elsewhere in this report. Any forward-looking statement made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K speaks only as of the date on which the statement is made. New risks and uncertainties may arise from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict these events or how they may affect us. We have no duty to, and do not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements we make in this report, except as may be required by law.

Item 1.            Business

Overview

Ryman is the successor to Gaylord Entertainment Company (“Gaylord”), a Delaware corporation originally incorporated in 1956. As part of the plan to restructure our business operations to facilitate our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, Gaylord merged with and into its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ryman, on October 1, 2012, with Ryman as the surviving corporation, and Ryman succeeded to and began conducting, either directly or indirectly, all of the business conducted by Gaylord immediately prior to the merger. Ryman is a Delaware corporation that began operating as a self-advised and self-administered REIT for federal income tax purposes on January 1, 2013. We specialize in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. As a REIT, we generally will not be subject to federal corporate income taxes on that portion of our capital gain or ordinary income from our REIT operations that is distributed to our stockholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the federal “double taxation” on earnings from our REIT operations, or taxation once at the corporate level and again at the stockholder level, that generally results from investment in a regular C corporation. Our non-REIT operations, which consist of the activities of

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our TRSs that lease or sublease our hotels from our qualified REIT subsidiaries, as well as businesses within our Entertainment segment, continue to be subject, as applicable, to federal and state corporate income taxes.

Our owned assets include a network of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 8,114 rooms that are managed by Marriott under the Gaylord Hotels brand. These four resorts, which we refer to as our Gaylord Hotels properties, consist of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee (“Gaylord Opryland”), the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando, Florida (“Gaylord Palms”), the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center near Dallas, Texas (“Gaylord Texan”) and the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington D.C. (“Gaylord National”). Other owned hotel assets managed by Marriott include the Inn at Opryland, an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, and the AC Hotel at National Harbor, Washington D.C. (“AC Hotel”), an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord National. We also own a 62.1% interest in a joint venture that owns Gaylord Rockies, which opened in December 2018 and is managed by Marriott under the Gaylord Hotels brand.

We also own and operate media and entertainment assets including the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for over 90 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied live music venue and former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home; Ole Red, a brand of Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event spaces; and three Nashville-based assets managed by Marriott – Gaylord Springs Golf Links (“Gaylord Springs”), the Wildhorse Saloon, and the General Jackson Showboat (“General Jackson”). We also own a 50% interest in a joint venture intended to create and distribute a linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to the country music lifestyle (“Circle”).

Our operations are organized into three principal business segments: (i) Hospitality, which includes our directly-owned hotel properties and the results of hotel operations, as well as the Gaylord Rockies joint venture; (ii) Entertainment, which includes our Grand Ole Opry assets, the Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM, Ole Red, our other Nashville-based attractions, among others, as well as the Circle joint venture; and (iii) Corporate and Other, which includes corporate expenses. These three business segments — Hospitality, Entertainment, and Corporate and Other — represented approximately 89%, 11%, and 0%, respectively, of our total revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

Financial information by business segment and for each of our Gaylord Hotels properties as of December 31, 2019 and for each of the three years then ended appears in Item 6, “Selected Financial Data,” Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and in “Note 15 – Financial Reporting by Business Segments” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our Strategic Plan

Our goal is to be the nation’s premier hospitality REIT for group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets.

Existing Hotel Property Design. Our Gaylord Hotels properties focus on the large group meetings market in the United States and incorporate meeting and exhibition space, signature guest rooms, food and beverage offerings, fitness and spa facilities and other attractions within a large hotel property so attendees’ needs are met in one location. This strategy creates a better experience for both meeting planners and guests, and has led to our current Gaylord Hotels properties claiming a place among the leading convention hotels in the country.
Expansion of Hotel Asset Portfolio. While our short-term capital allocation strategy has focused on returning capital to stockholders through the payment of dividends, part of our long-term growth strategy includes acquisitions of other hotels, particularly in the group meetings sector of the hospitality industry, either alone or through joint ventures or alliances with one or more third parties. We intend to pursue attractive investment opportunities which meet our acquisition parameters, specifically, group-oriented large hotels and overflow hotels with existing or potential leisure appeal. We are generally interested in highly accessible upper-upscale assets with over 400 hotel rooms in urban and resort group destination markets. We also consider assets that possess or are located near convention centers that present a repositioning opportunity and/or would significantly benefit from capital investment in additional rooms or meeting space. We plan to expand the geographic diversity of our existing asset portfolio through acquisitions. To this end, since December 2018, we

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have increased our investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture from 35% to 62.1%. As a REIT, we do not view independent, large-scale development of resort and convention hotels as part of our long-term growth strategy.
Leverage Brand Name Awareness. We believe the Grand Ole Opry is one of the most recognized entertainment brands in the United States. We promote the Grand Ole Opry name through various media, including our WSM-AM radio station, the Internet and television, and through performances by the Grand Ole Opry’s members, many of whom are renowned country music artists. As such, we have alliances in place with multiple distribution partners in an effort to foster brand extension. We believe that licensing our brand for products may provide an opportunity to increase revenues and cash flow with relatively little capital investment. We are continuously exploring additional products, such as television specials and retail products, through which we can capitalize on our brand affinity and awareness. To this end, we have invested in four Blake Shelton-themed multi-level bar, music venue and event spaces in Nashville, Orlando, Gatlinburg Tennessee, and Tishomingo Oklahoma, named after the Shelton hit “Ol’ Red,” and invested in Circle.

Description of our Hotel Portfolio

Our Gaylord Hotels properties incorporate meeting, convention and exhibition space with a large hotel property so the attendees never have to leave the location during their meetings. This concept of a self-contained destination dedicated primarily to the meetings industry has placed our Gaylord Hotels properties among the leading convention hotels in the country.

Marriott is responsible for the day-to-day management of our Gaylord Hotels, Gaylord Rockies, the Inn at Opryland, and the AC Hotel. We believe that our Gaylord Hotels properties have benefitted and will continue to benefit from Marriott’s expansive sales force and popular frequent traveler program, as well as their ability to manage group business.

Based on our information, publicly-available information, and information and data obtained from Smith Travel Research, the top 10 hotels within the United States with the highest square footage of self-contained exhibit and meeting space as of January 2020 are as follows:

    

    

    

Total Exhibit and

Meeting Space

Facility (1)

Location

Hotel Rooms

(sq. ft.)

The Venetian Resort & Casino

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

4,028

 

2,250,000

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

3,209

 

2,100,000

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

 

Nashville, TN

 

2,888

 

640,000

MGM Grand Las Vegas

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

5,044

 

602,000

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

 

National Harbor, MD

 

1,996

 

500,000

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

Grapevine, TX

1,814

488,000

Marriott Orlando World Center Resort

 

Orlando, FL

 

2,009

 

450,000

Rosen Shingle Creek Resort

 

Orlando, FL

 

1,501

 

410,000

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center (2)

 

Aurora, CO

 

1,501

 

409,000

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

 

Kissimmee, FL

 

1,416

 

400,000

(1)Bolded facilities are owned by the Company.
(2)The Company owns a 62.1 percent interest through the Gaylord Rockies joint venture.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center — Nashville, Tennessee. Gaylord Opryland is one of the leading convention destinations in the United States based upon number of rooms, exhibit space and conventions held. Designed with lavish gardens and expansive atrium areas, the resort is situated on approximately 172 acres in the Opryland complex. Gaylord Opryland has a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, and a full-service spa with 27,000 square feet of dedicated space. It also serves as a destination resort for vacationers due to its proximity to the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, the General Jackson Showboat, and other attractions in the Nashville area. Gaylord Opryland has 2,888 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 127,000 square feet, 111 banquet/meeting rooms,

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and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 640,000 square feet. Gaylord Opryland is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Silver Winner for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2019 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, Best of the South Award Winner from Meetings Today, and recognition as a member of Meeting & Conventions Hall of Fame. We opened the indoor sections of SoundWaves, a $90 million luxury indoor/outdoor waterpark with over 200,000 square feet of water attractions and amenities adjacent to Gaylord Opryland in December 2018 and the outdoor sections in May 2019.

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center — Kissimmee, Florida. Gaylord Palms has 1,416 signature guest rooms, three ballrooms with approximately 76,000 square feet, 76 banquet/meeting rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 400,000 square feet. The resort is situated on a 65-acre site in Osceola County, Florida, which we have leased pursuant to a 75-year ground lease with a 24-year renewal option. The resort is approximately a five-minute drive from the main gate of the Walt Disney World® Resort complex. Gaylord Palms has a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a new resort pool, and a full-service spa with 20,000 square feet of dedicated space. Hotel guests also have golf privileges at Celebration Golf Club, located approximately two miles from the property. Gaylord Palms is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Bronze Winner for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2019 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, Best of the South Award Winner from Meetings Today, and recognition as a member of Meeting & Conventions Hall of Fame. In 2018, we began construction of a $158 million expansion of Gaylord Palms, which will include an additional 303 guest rooms and 90,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded resort pool and events lawn, and a new multi-level parking structure. The expansion is expected to be completed in summer 2021.

Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center — Grapevine, Texas. Gaylord Texan is situated on approximately 85 acres and is located approximately six minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Of the 85 acres, we own 75 acres and lease approximately 10 acres pursuant to a ground lease. The hotel features a lavish and expansive atrium, 1,814 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 115,000 square feet, 88 banquet/meeting rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 488,000 square feet. The property also includes a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a resort pool, a full-service spa with 25,000 square feet of dedicated space, and an entertainment complex consisting of an approximately 39,000 square foot venue with a performance stage, dance floor, and a two-story outdoor deck. Guests also have access to the adjacent Cowboys Golf Club. The Gaylord Texan is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Gold Winner by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2019 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, and Best of the South Award Winner from Meetings Today. In 2018, we completed construction of a $110 million expansion of Gaylord Texan that included an additional 303 guest rooms and 88,000 square feet of meeting space.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center — National Harbor, Maryland. Gaylord National is situated on approximately 42 acres of land located on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland, eight miles south of Washington, D.C. The hotel has 1,996 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 103,000 square feet, 82 conference and breakout rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 500,000 square feet. The hotel complex includes an 18-story glass atrium, a 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center, a freestanding 24,000-square foot ballroom building offering 16,000 square feet of meeting space on the banks of the Potomac River that opened in May 2017, and entertainment options such as restaurants, shops, and a two-story rooftop nightclub. The Gaylord National is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Gold Winner by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2019 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, and Best of the East Award Winner from Meetings Today.

Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center — Aurora, Colorado. As further discussed in “Note 4 – Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own a 62.1% interest in, and are the managing member of, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture. Gaylord Rockies is

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situated on approximately 85 acres and is located approximately 10 minutes from Denver International Airport. The hotel features a lavish and expansive atrium, 1,501 signature guest rooms, including 114 suites, four ballrooms with up to approximately 60,000 square feet, up to 81 breakout rooms, indoor meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 409,000 square feet, and additional outdoor meeting space of approximately 76,000 square feet. The property also includes a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a full-service spa, five outdoor event spaces and an indoor/outdoor pool complex. The approximately $800 million hotel project opened on a limited basis in December 2018 and on a fully completed basis in January 2019. In February 2020, the Company and its joint venture partner announced an $80 million, 317-room expansion for Gaylord Rockies expected to be completed in early 2022. Gaylord Rockies was awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Silver Winner for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines.

Inn at Opryland. We also own the Inn at Opryland, which is located across the street from Gaylord Opryland. The hotel has 303 rooms and approximately 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

AC Hotel. We also own the AC Hotel, which is located near Gaylord National. The hotel has 192 rooms and approximately 3,700 square feet of meeting space.

Description of our Entertainment Portfolio

The Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry, which celebrated its 94th anniversary in 2019, is one of the most widely known platforms for country music in the world. The Opry features a live country music show with performances every Friday and Saturday night, as well as additional weekly performances on a seasonal basis. The Grand Ole Opry House, home of the Grand Ole Opry, seats approximately 4,400, is located in the Opryland complex, and was named the Venue of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2014. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Opry House in 1974 from its most famous home in the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Each week, the Grand Ole Opry is broadcast live to millions of country lifestyle consumers on radio via WSM-AM and Sirius/XM Radio and streamed on the Internet. The show has been broadcast since 1925 on WSM-AM, making it the longest running live radio program in the United States. In addition to performances by its members, the Grand Ole Opry presents performances by many other country music artists and other acts. We recently completed construction of an approximately $20 million expansion to the Grand Ole Opry House, which includes a larger retail space, additional food and beverage options, a redesigned box office, VIP lounge area with a backstage tour theater, and additional parking.

Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman Auditorium, which was built in 1892 and seats approximately 2,300, is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The former home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium was renovated and re-opened in 1994 for concerts and musical productions. In June 2015, the Ryman completed a $14 million expansion, including updated museum exhibits, a new museum theatre and a new café. The Grand Ole Opry returns to the Ryman Auditorium periodically, most recently from November 2019 to January 2020. In 2019, the Ryman Auditorium was named “Theatre of the Year” by Pollstar Concert Industry Awards for the ninth consecutive year, “Venue of the Year” by the Country Music Association for the fifth consecutive year, and “Venue of the Year – Small Capacity” by the Academy of Country Music for the sixth time.

WSM-AM. WSM-AM commenced broadcasting in 1925. The involvement of Ryman’s predecessors with country music dates back to the creation of the radio program that became The Grand Ole Opry, which has been broadcast live on WSM-AM since 1925. WSM-AM is broadcast from the Gaylord Opryland complex in Nashville and has a country music format. WSM-AM is one of the nation’s “clear channel” stations, meaning that no other station in a 750-mile radius uses the same frequency for night time broadcasts. As a result, the station’s signal, transmitted by a 50,000-watt transmitter, can be heard at night in much of the United States and parts of Canada.

Ole Red. In May 2018, we opened our flagship Ole Red location, a multi-level entertainment venue in downtown Nashville. The 26,000-square foot venue features a two-story bar and restaurant, performance space, private event space and a 6,000-square foot rooftop restaurant and bar. We own additional Ole Red locations in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and are developing an additional location in Orlando, Florida that is expected to open in Spring 2020.

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The General Jackson Showboat. We own the General Jackson Showboat, a 300-foot, four-deck paddle wheel showboat on the Cumberland River, which flows past the Gaylord Opryland complex in Nashville. Its Victorian Theatre can seat 600 people for banquets and 1,000 people for theater-style presentations. The showboat stages Broadway-style shows and other theatrical productions. The General Jackson is one of many sources of entertainment that is available to conventions held at Gaylord Opryland. During the day, it operates cruises, primarily serving tourists visiting the Gaylord Opryland complex and the Nashville area. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the General Jackson.

Gaylord Springs. Minutes from Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Springs, our 18-hole championship golf course, was designed by former U.S. Open and PGA Champion Larry Nelson. The 40,000 square-foot antebellum-style clubhouse offers meeting space for up to 500 guests. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of Gaylord Springs.

The Wildhorse Saloon. Since 1994, we have owned the Wildhorse Saloon, a country music performance venue on historic Second Avenue in downtown Nashville. The three-story facility includes a dance floor of approximately 2,000 square feet, as well as a restaurant and banquet facility that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the Wildhorse Saloon.

Corporate and Other Segment

Our Corporate and Other segment includes operating and general and administrative expenses related to the overall management of the Company which are not allocated to the other reportable segments, including certain costs for our retirement plans, equity-based compensation plans, information technology, human resources, accounting, and other administrative expenses.

Corporate History and Structure

We were originally incorporated in 1956 and were reorganized in connection with a 1997 corporate restructuring. Prior to our REIT conversion, we operated as a C corporation. In 2012, we completed restructuring transactions intended to facilitate our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, which included the merger, effective on October 1, 2012, of our predecessor, Gaylord, with and into its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ryman, with Ryman surviving the merger, at which time Ryman succeeded to and began conducting, directly or indirectly, all of the business conducted by Gaylord immediately prior to the merger. Prior to Marriott’s assumption of the day-to-day management of our hotels and certain of our Nashville attractions, we managed such assets. We elected REIT status effective January 1, 2013.

All of our assets are held by, and all of our operations are conducted through, RHP Hotel Properties, LP, a Delaware limited partnership (the “Operating Partnership”). On December 31, 2018, we amended the limited partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership to provide that its partnership units may be exchanged on a one-for-one basis for shares of our common stock. Under certain circumstances, we may issue such partnership units as consideration to acquire hotel properties. By offering partnership units, the seller of such hotel property could defer federal income tax on any of the seller’s gains on sale, and this tax advantage may enable us to acquire hotel properties in the future which otherwise may not be available for sale.

As a REIT, at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year must generally be derived from “rents from real property” or other income permitted by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). To meet this requirement, our hotel properties are owned or leased by certain subsidiaries of the Operating Partnership, which are disregarded entities for federal income tax purposes, and these subsidiaries lease or sublease our hotels to our TRSs pursuant to leases that contain economic terms which are similar to leases between unrelated parties. The rent that we receive from our TRS lessees qualifies as “rents from real property” as long as the property is operated on behalf of our TRS lessees by a person who qualifies as an “independent contractor” (as defined in the Code) and who is, or is related to a person who is, actively engaged in the trade or business of operating “qualified lodging facilities” (as defined in the Code) for any person unrelated to us and our TRS lessees (an “eligible independent contractor”). Our TRS lessees have engaged Marriott to manage the day-to-day operations of our hotels as an eligible independent contractor.

In addition, we own our Entertainment businesses in TRSs, and certain of those TRSs have engaged Marriott to manage their assets, as described above.

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Tax Status

As a REIT, we generally are not subject to corporate federal income tax on that portion of our REIT taxable income that we distribute to our stockholders. In addition to the requirement that 75% of our gross income for each taxable year be derived from “rents from real property” discussed above, we are subject to other organizational and operational requirements including the requirement that we distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income each year and the requirement that no more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include various kinds of entities). We will be subject to federal and state income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates to the extent we distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income in any taxable year or if we fail to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes in any taxable year. In that latter event, we will also not be permitted to qualify for treatment as a REIT for federal income tax purposes until the fifth year following any year in which qualification is lost. Our non-REIT operations, which consist of the activities of our TRSs that lease or sublease our hotels from the Operating Partnership, as well as businesses within our Entertainment segment, will continue to be subject, as applicable, to federal and state corporate income taxes.

Employees

At December 31, 2019, we had approximately 593 full-time and 613 part-time and temporary employees. Of these, approximately 498 full-time and 610 part-time employees were employed in our Entertainment segment; and approximately 95 full-time employees and 3 part-time employees were employed in our Corporate and Other segment, with several of those Corporate and Other segment employees providing direct support to our Entertainment segment. We believe our relations with our employees are good. In connection with Marriott’s assumption of the day-to-day management of our Gaylord Hotels properties and certain other assets, effective in 2012, our former employees involved in the day-to-day operations of our Gaylord Hotels, as well as the Inn at Opryland, the General Jackson, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse Saloon, became employees of Marriott. Since that time, Marriott has been responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of these properties, as well as Gaylord Rockies and the AC Hotel upon opening.

Competition

Hospitality

Our current hotel properties compete with numerous other hotels throughout the United States and abroad, particularly the approximately 100 convention hotels that, on average, have over 1,000 rooms and a significant amount of meeting and exhibit space. We believe that competition among convention hotels is based on, among other things: (i) the hotel’s reputation, (ii) the quality of the hotel’s facility, (iii) the quality and scope of a hotel’s meeting and convention facilities and services, (iv) the desirability of a hotel’s location, (v) travel distance to a hotel for meeting attendees, (vi) a hotel facility’s accessibility to a recognized airport, (vii) the amount of entertainment and recreational options available in and in the vicinity of the hotel, (viii) service levels at the hotel, and (ix) price. Our hotels also compete against large municipal convention centers, including Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Washington, D.C. and Denver.

The hotel business is management and marketing intensive. Our current hotel properties compete with other hotels throughout the United States for high quality management and marketing personnel. We believe that Marriott’s international brand, marketing scale and ability to manage group business have improved our hotels’ competitive position. However, there can be no assurance that Marriott will be able to continue to attract and retain employees with the requisite managerial and marketing skills.

Additionally, as a REIT, we compete for investment opportunities in the hospitality industry, particularly the group-oriented meetings sector of the hospitality industry, with entities that may have substantially greater financial and other resources than we have. These entities generally may be able to accept more risk than we can prudently manage. Our focus on acquiring hotels in the large group meetings sector of the hospitality industry and the competition in this sector may generally limit the number of hotel properties that we are able to acquire. This competition may also 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.

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Entertainment

The Grand Ole Opry and our other entertainment businesses compete with all other forms of entertainment and recreational activities. The success of the Entertainment group is dependent upon certain factors beyond our control, including economic conditions, the amount of available leisure time, transportation cost, public taste and weather conditions. Our radio station competes with numerous other types of entertainment businesses and advertisement media, and success is often dependent on taste and fashion, which may fluctuate from time to time.

Management Agreements

Gaylord Hotels. We are a party to a management agreement with Marriott for each of our four owned Gaylord Hotels properties, as well as a pooling agreement with Marriott with respect to our four owned Gaylord Hotels properties on an aggregate basis. Each of the management agreements has a term expiring in 2047, with three automatic 10-year renewal periods (provided the applicable hotel has met certain performance thresholds). Each of the management agreements requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of gross revenues from the applicable property for each fiscal year or portion thereof. Additionally, the pooling agreement requires us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 10% of the first $15.0 million of pooled available cash flow (which is generally operating profit for the pooled hotels less an owner’s priority) plus 20% of any additional pooled available cash flow over such threshold. The owner’s priority is collectively $240 million, plus certain additional amounts, including 10% of certain non-routine capital expenditures and conversion work, and 10% of replacements of furniture, fixtures, and equipment and routine capital expenditures in excess of a reserve. If one or more of our Gaylord Hotels properties were not a “pooled hotel” (i.e., if we cease to own the hotel or we lease the hotel to a third party), the thresholds used to calculate the incentive fee in the pooling agreement will be adjusted, and the incentive fee for the non-pooled hotel will be based on such hotel’s performance. The management agreements and pooling agreement also contain certain restrictions on our incurring indebtedness that encumber our Gaylord Hotels properties on an individual or aggregate basis. The management agreements may be terminated earlier than the stated term if certain events occur, including the failure of Marriott to satisfy certain performance standards. The management agreements prohibit us from selling the Gaylord Hotels properties to certain persons, including any person who does not, in Marriott’s reasonable judgment, have sufficient financial resources and liquidity to fulfil our obligations under the management agreements, or any person who owns a controlling interest in a hotel brand (e.g., Hilton or Hyatt) totaling at least ten full-service hotels that are not affiliated with a brand but that are marketed and operated as a collective group, if such brand or group of hotels compete with Marriott. In addition, we may not sell a Gaylord Hotels property if we are then in breach of the applicable management agreement.

Gaylord Rockies. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of Gaylord Rockies pursuant to a management agreement that requires the joint venture to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 3% of gross revenues for each fiscal year or portion thereof. This management agreement expires in 2049, with two automatic 20-year renewal periods (provided the hotel has met certain performance thresholds). Additionally, this management agreement requires the joint venture to pay Marriott an incentive fee of 20% of available cash flow (as defined in the management agreement). The owner’s priority is $81.4 million, plus certain additional amounts, including 10.75% of certain non-routine capital expenditures.

Inn at Opryland. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the Inn at Opryland pursuant to a management agreement that requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of gross revenues for each fiscal year or portion thereof. This management agreement expires in 2022, with five five-year renewal options, so long as neither party terminates the agreement. Additionally, this management agreement requires us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 20% of the excess of available cash flow (as defined in the management agreement) over a certain threshold.

AC Hotel. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the AC Hotel pursuant to a management agreement that requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of 7% of gross revenues. This management agreement expires in 2040, with two ten-year renewal options so long as neither party terminates the agreement. Additionally, this management agreement requires us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 20% of the excess of available cash flow (as defined in the management agreement) over a certain threshold.

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Certain Nashville Attractions. Marriott manages the General Jackson, the Wildhorse Saloon, and Gaylord Springs pursuant to management agreements. Each of these management agreements require us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of total revenues. Additionally, the management agreements require us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 20% of the excess of available cash flow (as defined in the management agreements) over a certain threshold. The management agreements for the General Jackson and the Wildhorse Saloon expired in 2017, with five one-year renewal options, the third of which was exercised in 2019, so long as neither party terminates the agreement. The management agreement for Gaylord Springs expires in 2022.

Total base management fees incurred during 2019, 2018 and 2017 were $31.6 million, $23.3 million and $22.0 million, respectively. Total incentive fees incurred during 2019, 2018 and 2017 were $12.6 million, $11.8 million and $6.1 million, respectively. Management fees are presented in the accompanying financial information net of the amortization of the deferred management rights proceeds discussed further in “Note 6 – Deferred Management Rights Proceeds” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Seasonality

Portions of our business are seasonal in nature. The group convention business at our Gaylord Hotels properties is subject to reduced levels of demand during the year-end holiday periods.

Regulation and Legislation

Hospitality

Our current hotel properties are subject to certain federal, state, and local governmental laws and regulations including, without limitation, labor regulations, health and safety laws and environmental regulations applicable to hotel and restaurant operations. The hotels are also subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws, as well as regulations pursuant thereto. We believe that our hotel properties and our attractions are in substantial compliance with such regulations. In addition, the sale of alcoholic beverages by a hotel requires a license and is subject to regulation by the applicable state and local authorities. The agencies involved have the power to limit, condition, suspend or revoke any such license, and any disciplinary action or revocation could have an adverse effect upon the results of operations of our Hospitality segment. Pursuant to management agreements with Marriott, we do not control many of these activities at our hotel properties, and we rely on Marriott to comply with all such federal, state and local governmental laws and regulations with respect to such properties. However, under the terms of our management agreements with Marriott, we may be required to bear the cost of any capital expenditures necessary to comply with a legal requirement.

Entertainment

WSM-AM is subject to regulation under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Under the Communications Act, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, among other things, assigns frequency bands for broadcasting; determines the frequencies, location, and signal strength of stations; issues, renews, revokes, and modifies station licenses; regulates equipment used by stations; and adopts and implements regulations and policies that directly or indirectly affect the ownership, operation, and other practices of broadcasting stations. Licenses issued for radio stations have terms of eight years. Radio broadcast licenses are renewable upon application to the FCC and in the past have been renewed except in rare cases. Competing applications will not be accepted at the time of license renewal, and will not be entertained at all unless the FCC first concludes that renewal of the license would not serve the public interest. A station will be entitled to renewal in the absence of serious violations of the Communications Act or FCC regulations or other violations which constitute a pattern of abuse. WSM-AM’s current radio station license will expire in August 2020; however, we are not aware of any reason why WSM-AM’s radio station license should not be renewed.

Circle is subject to U.S. federal regulation of broadcast media, including FCC regulations on programming networks and content distributors. These include regulations related to closed captioning, advertising restrictions, obscenity restrictions and pricing, among others.

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Our entertainment attractions are also subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state laws, as well as the laws and regulatory activities associated with the sale of alcoholic beverages described above. Pursuant to management agreements with Marriott, we do not control many of these activities with respect to the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs, and the Wildhorse Saloon, and we rely on Marriott to comply with all such federal, state and local governmental laws and regulations with respect to such businesses. However, under the terms of our management agreements with Marriott, we may be required to bear the cost of any capital expenditures necessary to comply with a legal requirement.

Additional Information

Our web site address is www.rymanhp.com. We make available free of charge through our web site our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, definitive proxy statements, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The information provided on our web site is not part of this report, and is therefore not incorporated by reference unless such information is otherwise specifically referenced elsewhere in this report. The public may also read and copy any materials that we file with the SEC on their website at www.sec.gov.

Executive Officers of the Registrant

The following table sets forth certain information regarding the executive officers of the Company at January 1, 2020. All officers serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors (subject to, in the case of officers who have entered into employment agreements with the Company, the terms of such employment agreements).

NAME

    

AGE

    

POSITION

Colin V. Reed

72

Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Fioravanti

58

President and Chief Financial Officer

Patrick Chaffin

46

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Bennett Westbrook

53

Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer

Scott J. Lynn

46

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Jennifer Hutcheson

42

Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

The following is additional information with respect to the above-named executive officers.

Colin V. Reed has served as Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company since April 2001, and Mr. Reed was also elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company in May 2005. Until November 2008, and again from November 2012 to March 2015, Mr. Reed also served as President of the Company. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Reed had served as a member of the three-executive Office of the President of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. (now Caesar’s Entertainment) since May 1999, and he had served as Harrah’s Chief Financial Officer since April 1997. Mr. Reed also was a director of Harrah’s from 1998 to May 2001. Mr. Reed served in a variety of other management positions with Harrah’s and its predecessor, Holiday Corp., since 1977. Mr. Reed is a director of First Horizon National Corporation.

Mark Fioravanti is President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company, a position he has held since March 2015. Prior to that time, Mr. Fioravanti served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company. Until June 2009, Mr. Fioravanti served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer of the Company, a position he had held since June 2007. Prior to such time, Mr. Fioravanti had served as Executive Vice President of the Company and President of ResortQuest International since March 2004. From August 2002 to March 2004, Mr. Fioravanti was the Company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. Prior to joining the Company in August 2002, Mr. Fioravanti spent nine years in a variety of roles with casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., where he was most recently Vice President of Finance and Administration of Harrah’s New Orleans. Mr. Fioravanti graduated from The Ohio State University, where he earned his B.S. degree. He also holds an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

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Patrick Chaffin is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company, a position he has held since May 2019. In this role, Mr. Chaffin leads our asset management function, state and local government relations, product enhancement and site selection for our hotel portfolio’s growth. From April 2018 to May 2019, he was Executive Vice President of Asset Management for the Company. From January 2013 to March 2018, he was the Senior Vice President of Asset Management. From January 2007 to December 2012, he led the strategic planning, operations analysis and investor relations functions for Gaylord Entertainment. Prior to its sale in June 2007, Mr. Chaffin served as the head of finance for ResortQuest International, formerly a division of Gaylord Entertainment. Prior to joining Gaylord Entertainment in January 2005, Mr. Chaffin worked for General Motors Corporation for 9 years serving in a variety of corporate and manufacturing positions. Mr. Chaffin earned a B.S. degree from Lipscomb University and an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

Bennett Westbrook is Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, a position he has held since June 2016. Prior to that time, Mr. Westbrook served as Senior Vice President of Investments and Design and Construction for the Company. Mr. Westbrook leads the Company’s acquisition, development, and design and construction efforts on hospitality projects and other real estate and investment-related projects. Prior to joining the Company in 2001, Mr. Westbrook was Corporate Director of Development at Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. from 2000-2001, Regional Real Estate Manager for Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s, Inc.) from 1997-2000, and Director of Development at Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. from 1994-1997. Mr. Westbrook earned both his B.A. degree in Political Science and MBA degree at Vanderbilt University.

Scott J. Lynn is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Company, a position he has held since May 2018. From January 2013 to April 2018, he was the Company’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. From August 2003 to January 2013, he served as the Company’s Associate General Counsel. From May 2002 to August 2003, Mr. Lynn was Senior Counsel at Progeny Marketing Innovations, a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation. From August 1998 to May 2002, Mr. Lynn was an associate at the law firm of Stokes & Bartholomew, P.A. Mr. Lynn is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Law and Tennessee Technological University.

Jennifer Hutcheson is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of the Company, a position she has held since May 2018. From January 2013 to April 2018, she was the Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller of the Company. From March 2006 to December 2012, she served as the Company’s Vice President of Accounting and Tax. From May 2004 to March 2006, she served as the Company’s Director of Corporate Accounting. From August 2002 to April 2004, she was the Corporate Accounting Manager at Private Business Inc. Prior to that time, she was an auditor with Ernst & Young LLP and Arthur Andersen. Ms. Hutcheson, who is a certified public accountant, has a B.S. degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University and an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

Item 1A.             Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following specific risk factors as well as the other information contained or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as these are important factors, among others, that could cause our actual results to differ from our expected or historical results. It is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete statement of all our potential risks or uncertainties. Some statements in the “Business” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are “forward-looking statements” and are qualified by the cautionary language regarding such statements. See “Forward-Looking Statements” above.

If we fail to remain qualified as a REIT, we would be subject to tax at corporate income tax rates and would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders when computing our taxable income.

If, in any taxable year, we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, and are not entitled to relief under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”):

we would not be allowed a deduction for distributions to stockholders in computing our taxable income; and

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we would be subject to federal and state income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates.

Any such corporate tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for other purposes. This adverse impact could last for five or more years. Unless we are entitled to relief under certain statutory provisions, we would be taxable as a C corporation beginning in the year in which the failure occurs, and we would not be allowed to re-elect to be taxed as a REIT for the following four years.

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, we may need to borrow additional funds or liquidate certain assets to pay any additional tax liability. Accordingly, funds available for investment or distribution to stockholders would be reduced.

REIT qualification involves the application of highly technical and complex provisions of the Code to our operations, as well as various factual determinations concerning matters and circumstances not entirely within our control. There are limited judicial or administrative interpretations of these provisions. Although we plan to operate in a manner consistent with the REIT qualification rules, we cannot assure you that we will so qualify or remain so qualified.

As a REIT, failure to make required distributions to our stockholders would subject us to federal and state corporate income tax.

Prior to 2012, we had not paid a cash distribution on our common stock since 1999. Beginning in 2013 we declared, and we intend to continue to declare, regular quarterly distributions, the amount of which will be determined, and will be subject to adjustment, by our board of directors. Our board of directors has approved a dividend policy pursuant to which we will pay a quarterly cash dividend in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income on an annual basis, whichever is greater. This dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors, and certain provisions of our debt agreements may prohibit us from paying dividends in accordance with the policy. To qualify as a REIT, we are generally required to distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding net capital gain) each year to our stockholders. If our cash available for distribution falls short of our estimates, we may be unable to maintain the proposed quarterly distributions that approximate our taxable income and may fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT. In addition, our cash flows from operations may be insufficient to fund required distributions as a result of differences in timing between the actual receipt of income and the recognition of income for federal and state income tax purposes, or the effect of nondeductible expenditures.

To the extent that we satisfy the 90% distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, we will be subject to federal and state corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income. In addition, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax if the actual amount that we pay out to our stockholders for a calendar year is less than a minimum amount specified under the Code.

Covenants in our current and future debt instruments may limit our ability to make required distributions to our stockholders in accordance with our announced intended dividend policy.

Our credit facility imposes, and future financing agreements are likely to impose, operating and financial restrictions on our activities, including restrictions on the payment of dividends. These restrictions may prevent us from making distributions to our stockholders in accordance with our announced intended dividend policy.

We may be required to borrow funds, sell assets, or issue equity to satisfy our REIT distribution requirements or maintain the asset ownership tests.

To meet the REIT distribution requirements and maintain our qualification and taxation as a REIT, we may need to borrow funds, sell assets or issue equity, even if the then-prevailing market conditions are not favorable for these borrowings, sales or offerings. Any insufficiency of our cash flows to cover our REIT distribution requirements could adversely impact our ability to raise short- and long-term debt, to sell assets, or to offer equity securities to fund distributions required to maintain our qualification and taxation as a REIT. Furthermore, the REIT distribution

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requirements may increase the financing we need to fund capital expenditures, future growth and expansion initiatives. This would increase our total leverage.

In addition, if we fail to comply with certain REIT asset ownership tests at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification. As a result, we may be required to liquidate otherwise attractive assets. These actions may reduce our income and amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our flexibility or cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities.

To qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our common stock. Thus, compliance with these tests will require us to refrain from certain activities and may hinder our ability to make certain attractive investments, including the purchase of non-qualifying assets, the expansion of non-real estate activities, and investments in the businesses to be conducted by our TRSs, and to that extent limit our opportunities and our flexibility to change our business strategy. Furthermore, acquisition opportunities may be adversely affected if we need or require the target company to comply with some REIT requirements prior to closing. In addition, as a REIT, we may face investor pressures to forego growth opportunities that are not immediately accretive.

We hold our non-qualifying REIT assets in one or more TRSs. These non-qualifying REIT assets consist primarily of non-real estate assets related to our Hospitality segment and the assets related to our Entertainment segment as historically structured and operated. We conduct a significant portion of our business activities through these TRSs. Under the Code, no more than 25% of the value of the assets of a REIT may be represented by securities of one or more TRSs and other non-qualifying assets and no more than 20% of the value of the assets of a REIT may be represented by securities of one or more TRSs. These limitations may affect our ability to make additional investments in our Entertainment segment as historically structured and operated or in other non-REIT qualifying operations or assets. To meet our annual distribution requirements, we may be required to distribute amounts that may otherwise be used for our operations, including amounts that may otherwise be invested in future acquisitions, capital expenditures or repayment of debt, and it is possible that we might be required to borrow funds, sell assets or issue equity to fund these distributions, even if the then-prevailing market conditions are not favorable for these borrowings, sales or offerings.

Our planned use of TRSs may cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT.

The net income of our TRSs is not required to be distributed to us, and income that is not distributed to us generally will not be subject to the REIT income distribution requirement. However, there may be limitations on our ability to accumulate earnings in our TRSs and the accumulation or reinvestment of significant earnings in our TRSs could result in adverse tax treatment. In particular, if the accumulation of cash in our TRSs causes the fair market value of our securities in our TRSs and certain other non-qualifying assets to exceed 20% of the fair market value of our assets, we would fail to qualify as a REIT.

If our leases of our hotel properties to TRS lessees are not true leases for federal income tax purposes, we may fail to qualify as a REIT.

In order for the lease payments by our TRS lessees to our property-owning subsidiaries to qualify for purposes of the gross income tests, the lease or sublease must be considered a true lease for federal income tax purposes and must not be treated as a service contract, joint venture, or some other type of arrangement. We believe we have structured our leases and subleases of our hotel properties to our TRS lessees so that the leases will be considered true leases for federal income tax purposes, but there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with this characterization.

If Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager fails to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor,” or if our hotels are not “qualified lodging facilities,” we will fail to qualify as a REIT.

Rent paid by a lessee or sublessee that is a “related party tenant” of ours will not be qualifying income for purposes of the two gross income tests applicable to REITs. An exception is provided, however, for leases of “qualified lodging

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facilities” to a TRS so long as the hotels are managed by an “eligible independent contractor” and certain other requirements are satisfied. We lease or sublease our hotel properties to TRS lessees, and such TRS lessees have engaged Marriott as a third-party hotel manager. We believe Marriott and any other third-party hotel manager that our TRS lessees may engage in the future will qualify as “eligible independent contractors” for federal income tax purposes. Among other requirements, to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor,” the third-party hotel manager must not own, directly or through its stockholders, more than 35% of our outstanding shares, and no person or group of persons can own more than 35% of our outstanding shares and the shares (or ownership interest) of the third-party hotel manager, taking into account certain ownership attribution rules. The ownership attribution rules that apply for purposes of these 35% thresholds are complex, and monitoring actual and constructive ownership of our shares by the third-party hotel manager and their owners may not be practical. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that these ownership limits will not be exceeded.

In addition, for a third-party hotel manager to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor,” such company or a related person must be actively engaged in the trade or business of operating “qualified lodging facilities” (as defined below) for one or more persons not related to the REIT or its TRSs at each time that such company enters into a hotel management contract with a TRS lessee. We believe that Marriott operates “qualified lodging facilities” for certain persons who are not related to us or our TRSs, and Marriott has agreed in the hotel management agreements that it, or its affiliates, are eligible independent contractors and will maintain such status. However, no assurances can be provided that Marriott or any other hotel managers that we may engage in the future will in fact comply with this requirement. Failure to comply with this requirement would require us to find other third-party hotel managers for future contracts, and, if we hired a third-party hotel manager without knowledge of the failure, it could jeopardize our status as a REIT.

Finally, each property with respect to which our TRS lessees pay rent must be a “qualified lodging facility.” A “qualified lodging facility” is a hotel, motel or other establishment more than one-half of the dwelling units in which are used on a transient basis, including customary amenities and facilities, provided that no wagering activities are conducted at or in connection with such facility by any person who is engaged in the business of accepting wagers and who is legally authorized to engage in such business at or in connection with such facility. We believe that our current hotel properties are “qualified lodging facilities.” Although we intend to monitor future acquisitions and improvements of properties, REIT provisions of the Code provide only limited guidance for making determinations under the requirements for “qualified lodging facilities,” and there can be no assurance that these requirements will be satisfied.

Our cash distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate.

A REIT generally is required to distribute at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, will determine on a quarterly basis the amount of cash to be distributed to our stockholders based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, our results of operations, cash flow and capital requirements, economic conditions, tax considerations, borrowing capacity and other factors, including debt covenant restrictions that may impose limitations on cash payments and plans for future acquisitions and divestitures. Our board of directors has approved a dividend policy pursuant to which we will pay a quarterly cash dividend based on an annualized amount of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income on an annual basis, whichever is greater. The dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors and certain provisions of our debt agreements may prohibit us from paying dividends in accordance with the policy. Consequently, our distribution levels may fluctuate.

There are uncertainties relating to the estimate of our special dividend paid on December 21, 2012.

To qualify for taxation as a REIT effective for the year ended December 31, 2013, we were required to distribute to our stockholders our undistributed accumulated earnings and profits attributable to taxable periods ended prior to January 1, 2013. To satisfy this requirement, on November 2, 2012, our board of directors declared a special dividend in the amount of $6.84 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of approximately $309.8 million to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 13, 2012, payable on December 21, 2012 in a combination of cash and stock, as elected by stockholders. We believe that the total value of the special dividend was sufficient to fully distribute our accumulated earnings and profits and that a portion of the special dividend exceeded our accumulated earnings and profits. However, the amount of our undistributed accumulated earnings and profits is a complex factual and legal determination. We may

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have had less than complete information at the time we estimated our earnings and profits or may have interpreted the applicable law differently from the IRS. Substantial uncertainties exist relating to the computation of our undistributed accumulated earnings and profits, including the possibility that the IRS could successfully assert that our pre-REIT accumulated earnings and profits should be increased. Thus, we may fail to satisfy the requirement to distribute all of our pre-REIT accumulated earnings and profits by the close of our first taxable year as a REIT.

Even though we are conducting our business as a REIT, certain of our business activities will be subject to corporate level income tax, which will continue to reduce our cash flows, and we will have potential deferred and contingent tax liabilities.

Even though we are conducting our business as a REIT, we may be subject to certain federal, state, and local taxes on our income and assets, taxes on any undistributed income, and state or local income, franchise, property and transfer taxes. In addition, we could in certain circumstances be required to pay an excise or penalty tax, which could be significant in amount, to utilize one or more relief provisions under the Code to maintain qualification for taxation as a REIT.

Our business related to the non-real estate assets of our Hospitality segment and the assets of our Entertainment segment is conducted through wholly-owned TRSs because these activities could generate non-qualifying REIT income as historically structured and operated. Those TRS assets and operations continue to be subject, as applicable, to federal and state corporate income taxes in the jurisdictions in which those assets and operations are located. Any of these taxes would decrease our earnings and our available cash. In addition, net operating losses in any of our TRSs generally will not provide any tax benefit, except for use against current or future taxable income in the TRSs.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and increase the costs of our hedging, and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.

The REIT provisions of the Code limit our ability to hedge liabilities. Generally, income from hedging transactions that we enter into to manage risk of interest rate changes with respect to borrowings made or to be made to acquire or carry real estate assets and income from certain currency hedging transactions related to any non-U.S. operations do not constitute “gross income” for purposes of the REIT gross income tests. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of the REIT gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we may need to limit our use of advantageous hedging techniques or implement those hedges through a TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our TRSs would be subject to tax on income or gains resulting from hedges entered into by them or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear.

U.S. federal tax reform legislation could affect REITs generally, the geographic markets in which we operate, our stock and our results of operations, both positively and negatively in ways that are difficult to anticipate.

In 2017, the U.S. Congress passed tax reform legislation that made significant changes to corporate and individual tax rates and the calculations of taxes, as well as international tax rules for U.S. domestic corporations. In addition, it is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to this legislation. As a REIT, we are generally not required to pay federal taxes otherwise applicable to regular corporations (except for income related to our TRSs) if we comply with the various tax regulations governing REITs. Stockholders, however, are generally required to pay taxes on REIT dividends. Tax reform legislation will continue to affect the way in which dividends paid on shares of our common stock are taxed and could impact our stock price or how stockholders and potential investors view an investment in REITs generally.

Legislative or other actions affecting REITs could have a negative effect on us or our stockholders.

At any time, the federal income tax laws governing REITs or the administrative interpretations of those laws may be amended. Federal and state tax laws are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the IRS, the United States Department of the Treasury and state taxing authorities. Changes to the tax laws, regulations and administrative interpretations, which may have retroactive application, could adversely affect us. We cannot predict with

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certainty whether, when, in what forms, or with what effective dates, the tax laws, regulations and administrative interpretations applicable to us may be changed. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that any such change will not significantly affect our ability to qualify for taxation as a REIT or the federal income tax consequences to us of such qualification.

Even as a REIT, changes in federal, state, or local tax law, interpretations of existing tax law or agreements with tax authorities could affect our profitability and financial condition by increasing our tax costs.

We are subject to taxation at the federal, state and local levels in the United States. Our future tax rates could be affected by changes in the composition of earnings in jurisdictions with differing tax rates, changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in determinations regarding the jurisdictions in which we are subject to tax. From time to time, the U.S. federal, state and local governments make substantive changes to tax rules and the application thereof, which could result in materially higher corporate taxes than would be incurred under existing tax law or interpretations and could adversely impact profitability. State and local tax authorities have increased their efforts to increase revenues through changes in tax law and audits. Such changes and proposals, if enacted, could increase our future effective income tax rates, as well as other taxes, including property taxes.

The ability of our board of directors to revoke our REIT qualification, without stockholder approval, may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.

Our Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (“Charter”) provides that the board of directors may revoke or otherwise terminate the REIT election, without the approval of our stockholders, if it determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT. If we cease to be a REIT, we will not be allowed a tax deduction with respect to distributions to our stockholders in computing our taxable income, and we will be subject to federal and state income tax at regular corporate rates and state and local taxes, which may have adverse consequences on our stock price, distributions, and total return to our stockholders.

If our third-party managers do not manage our hotel properties or other businesses successfully, our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders may be negatively impacted.

Due to federal income tax laws that restrict REITs from operating and managing hotels, we do not operate or manage the day-to-day functions of any of our hotel properties as a REIT. We lease or sublease our hotel properties to TRSs, and such TRS lessees have engaged Marriott as a third-party hotel manager pursuant to hotel management agreements. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of our Gaylord Hotels, as well as Gaylord Rockies, the Inn at Opryland and the AC Hotel. We will identify third-party hotel managers to operate and manage any hotels that we acquire in the future. Our third-party hotel managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of our hotel properties, including, but not limited to, implementing significant operating decisions, setting rates for rooms and meeting space, controlling revenue and expenditures, collecting accounts receivable, and recruiting, employing and supervising employees at our hotel properties. We do not have the authority to require our third-party hotel managers to operate our hotel properties in a particular manner, although we have consent and approval rights for certain matters under our hotel management agreements with Marriott, subject to the limitations described therein. As a result, our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders are largely dependent on the ability of our third-party hotel managers to operate our hotel properties successfully. Any failure by our third-party hotel managers to provide quality services and amenities or to maintain and protect a quality brand name and reputation could have a negative impact on their ability to operate and manage our hotel properties successfully and could negatively impact our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

We cannot assure you that our third-party hotel managers will operate and manage our hotel properties in a manner that is consistent with their obligations under the hotel management agreements, that our third-party hotel managers will not be negligent in their performance or engage in other criminal or fraudulent activity, or that they will not otherwise default on their management obligations to us.

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Even if we believe our hotel properties are being operated inefficiently or in a manner that does not result in satisfactory operational metrics, we will have limited ability to require our third-party hotel managers to change their method of operation of our hotel properties. We generally will attempt to resolve issues with third-party hotel 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 or arbitration. We would be able to seek redress only if a third-party hotel manager violates the terms of the applicable hotel management agreement, and then only to the extent of the remedies provided for under the terms of the hotel management agreement. Additionally, in the event we need to replace any of our third-party hotel managers, we may experience significant business disruptions at the affected hotel properties, and may be liable, under certain circumstances, for significant damages and/or be required to make certain payments to our third-party managers.

The operation and management of our current hotel properties, the operation of which generates substantially all our Hospitality segment revenue, is concentrated in Marriott.

Our current hotel properties, the operation of which generates substantially all our Hospitality segment revenue, are operated and managed by Marriott. As a result, our operational risk is concentrated in one third-party hotel manager, which makes us more vulnerable economically to any weakness of Marriott than if we entered into hotel management agreements with several third-party hotel managers. We cannot assure you that Marriott will satisfy its obligations to us or successfully operate and manage our current hotel properties. Any adverse developments in Marriott’s business and affairs, financial strength or ability to operate and manage our current hotel properties successfully could materially reduce our revenues and net income, which could in turn reduce the amount of distributions to our stockholders. Additionally, we rely on the resources of and financial information provided by Marriott to report the financial results of our hotel properties. A failure by Marriott to accurately report the financial results of our hotel properties could materially affect our understanding of the hotel properties’ performance as well as our ability to accurately report on the hotel properties’ performance. Further, Marriott now owns the Gaylord Hotels brand and trademarks, and a failure on their part to maintain quality standards could harm the brand and damage our business.

Revenue growth and cost synergies for our hotel operations are largely dependent on the efforts of Marriott. Marriott’s efforts to leverage its rewards program, customer channels and brands, as well as its management of demand for rooms, meeting space and banquets, have resulted in revenue growth and Marriott’s efforts to reduce hotel-level costs have yielded cost savings. There can be no assurance that improvements in revenue or cost savings can be sustained.

Restrictive covenants and other provisions in our hotel management agreements with third-party hotel managers could limit our ability to sell or lease our hotel properties or refinance our existing debt.

Our hotel management agreements with Marriott contain, and we anticipate that hotel management agreements with our future third-party hotel managers will contain, restrictive covenants that limit our flexibility to sell or lease our hotel properties. For example, we may not sell or lease our current hotel properties to a competitor of Marriott (as defined in our management agreements with Marriott), and any purchaser or lessee must have, in Marriott’s judgment, sufficient financial resources and liquidity to fulfill our obligations under the hotel management agreements. Such restrictions on our ability to sell or lease our hotel properties could negatively affect the marketability of our hotel properties and restrict our ability to refinance our existing debt secured by our hotel properties.

Marriott and any future third-party hotel manager may own or operate hotels that compete with our hotel properties.

Our third-party hotel managers may own or operate hotels that compete with our current hotel properties and any hotel properties that we acquire, which may result in a conflict of interest. For example, Marriott and its affiliates own, have invested in, operate, and have provided credit support or operating guarantees to hotels that compete or will compete with our current hotel properties, including the Marriott Orlando World Center, which competes with Gaylord Palms, and the Washington Marriott Marquis, which competes with Gaylord National. As a result, our third-party hotel managers may make decisions regarding competing hotel properties that are not or would not be in our best interest. In addition, such third-party hotel managers’ operation of other hotels may divert attention away from the operation and management of our hotel properties.

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Our concentration in the hospitality industry, and in particular the group-oriented meetings sector of the hospitality industry, exposes us to certain risks outside of our and Marriott’s control.

Our primary business is hotel-related, and our current hotel properties, the operation of which generates substantially all our Hospitality segment revenue, are concentrated in the group-oriented meetings sector of the hospitality industry. Therefore, a downturn in the lodging industry, in general, and the group-oriented meetings sector, in particular, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

The ability of Marriott to successfully operate and manage our current hotel properties and convention business is subject to factors beyond our and their control, which could reduce the revenue and operating income of these properties. These factors include:

the desirability and perceived attractiveness of the Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Washington D.C. and Denver, Colorado areas as tourist and convention destinations;
adverse changes in the national economy and in the levels of tourism and convention business that affect our current hotel properties;
the level of governmental group business, which has decreased at times in the past due to uncertainty surrounding the U.S. government budget;
Marriott’s ability to attract group convention business;
Marriott’s ability to contract for and collect attrition and cancellation fees from groups that do not fulfill minimum stay or spending requirements;
the opening of other new hotels could impact the group convention business at our current hotel properties;
the highly competitive nature of the hotel, tourism and convention business in which our hotel properties operate, including the fact that we compete for convention business with publicly-financed civic convention centers;
the susceptibility of group convention business to reduced levels of demand during the year-end holiday periods, which Marriott may not be able to offset by attracting sufficient general tourism guests;
the financial condition of the airline and other transportation-related industries and the resulting impact on travel; and
increases in our operating costs due to labor costs in connection with workers’ compensation, healthcare-related costs (including the Affordable Care Act or its potential replacement), and organized labor activities, the last of which, in addition to increasing labor costs, could cause a diversion of business from our hotels involved in labor negotiations and loss of group business.

These factors could reduce the revenues and net operating profits of our TRS lessees, which in turn could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

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Due to the geographic concentration of our current hotel properties, we are subject to a greater degree of risk to certain factors.

Due to the geographic concentration of our current hotel properties, we are subject to a greater degree of risk to factors including:

local economic and competitive conditions;
natural and other disasters;
a decline in air passenger travel due to higher ticket costs or fears concerning air travel;
a decline in the attractiveness of the areas in which our hotels are located as a convention and tourism destination; and
a decrease in convention and meeting business at any of our properties.

Any of these could negatively affect our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

We may be unable to successfully identify and complete future acquisitions.

Acquisitions of other hotels, particularly in the group-oriented meetings sector of the hospitality industry, either alone or through joint ventures or alliances with one or more third parties, are part of our long-term growth strategy. We may be unable to successfully identify or complete future acquisitions at acceptable prices and terms or, if we are able to find favorable acquisition targets, we may not be able to obtain financing on acceptable terms or secure beneficial joint ventures or alliances. We will evaluate potential acquisition opportunities in the ordinary course of business, including those that could be material in size and scope.

The hotel business is capital-intensive, and our inability to obtain financing or successfully complete acquisitions or capital improvements, or the disruption associated with them, could limit our growth.

Acquisitions of hotels will require significant capital expenditures, and hotels that we acquire may need renovations and capital improvements at the time of acquisition. All of our hotel properties will require periodic capital expenditures and renovation to remain competitive. We may also undertake hotel expansions or new features at our existing hotel properties that involve significant capital expenditures, such as our Gaylord Palms and Gaylord Rockies expansions. If any hotels that we acquire are subject to franchise agreements, the franchisors of these hotels may also require periodic capital improvements as a condition to our maintaining the franchise licenses. We may not be able to fund capital improvements or acquisitions solely from cash provided from our operating activities because we must distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined before the deduction for dividends paid and net of capital gains) each year to maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. As a result, our ability to fund acquisitions or capital expenditures through any retained earnings or operating cash flow will be limited. Consequently, we will rely upon the availability of debt or equity capital to fund hotel acquisitions and improvements. Our ability to grow through acquisitions will be limited if we cannot obtain satisfactory debt or equity financing, which will depend on market conditions. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain additional equity or debt financing or that we will be able to obtain such financing on favorable terms.

In addition, capital improvements may give rise to the following risks:

possible environmental problems;
construction cost overruns and delays;

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the possibility that revenues will be reduced while rooms, restaurants or other facilities are out of service due to capital improvement projects;
a possible shortage of available cash to fund capital improvements and the related possibility that financing for these capital improvements may not be available to us on attractive terms; and
uncertainties as to market demand or a loss of market demand after capital improvements have begun.

The costs of renovations and capital improvements could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

Our TRS lessee structure will subject us to the risk of increased hotel operating expenses and the inability of our TRS lessees to make lease payments to us.

Our leases with our TRS lessees will require our TRS lessees to make lease payments to us based in part on gross revenues from our hotel properties. Our operating risks will include decreases in revenues at our hotel properties and increases in operating expenses of our hotel properties. Decreases in revenues or increases in operating expenses could adversely affect our TRS lessees’ ability to make lease payments due under the leases, including, but not limited to, increases in wage and benefit costs, repair and maintenance expenses, property taxes, insurance costs, and other operating expenses. Increases in those operating expenses can have a significant adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock, and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders.

In addition, our TRS lessees’ ability to make lease payments will be affected by factors beyond their control, such as changes in general economic conditions, the level of demand for hotels and the related services of our hotel properties, competition in the lodging and hospitality industry, the third-party managers’ ability to maintain and increase gross revenue at our hotel properties and other factors relating to the operations of our hotel properties.

Accounting for the acquisition of a hotel property or other entity as a business combination, or as part of a step acquisition in which we become the primary beneficiary in a variable interest entity, requires an allocation of the purchase price to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed in the transaction at their estimated fair values. Should the allocation be incorrect, our assets and liabilities may be overstated or understated, which may also subsequently affect our statement of operations.

As we consider growth opportunities through acquisitions, accounting for any such acquisition of a hotel property or other entity as a purchase combination, or as part of a step acquisition in which we become the primary beneficiary of a variable interest entity, requires an allocation of the purchase price to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed in the transaction at their respective estimated fair values. The most difficult estimations of individual fair values are those involving long-lived assets, such as land, property, equipment, intangible assets and contractual obligations that are assumed as part of the acquisition. We used all available information to make these fair value determinations and may engage independent valuation specialists to assist in the fair value determination of the long-lived assets acquired and the liabilities assumed. Should any of these allocations be incorrect, our assets and liabilities may be overstated or understated, which may also subsequently affect our statement of operations.

Our substantial debt could reduce our cash flow and limit our business activities.

We currently have a significant amount of debt. At December 31, 2019, we had approximately $2.6 billion of total debt (which includes approximately $0.8 billion of debt related to our Gaylord Rockies joint venture, in which we own a 62.1% interest). We may incur additional debt in connection with any additional hotel acquisitions, development, investment in new projects, renovations, or capital improvement.

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Our substantial amount of debt could have important consequences. For example, it could:

increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to make interest and principal payments on our debt, thereby limiting the availability of our cash flow to make distributions to our stockholders and to fund future capital expenditures, working capital and other general corporate requirements;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the hospitality industry, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage compared with competitors that are less leveraged;
limit our ability to borrow additional funds, even when necessary to maintain adequate liquidity; and
limit our ability to obtain additional financing for various projects, including possible expansions of our existing properties and acquisitions of additional properties.

In addition, the terms of our credit facility allow, and instruments governing any new debt may allow, us to incur substantial amounts of additional debt subject to certain limitations. Any such additional debt could increase the risks associated with our substantial leverage. At the time any principal amount of our indebtedness is due, we may not have cash available to pay this amount, and we may not be able to refinance our indebtedness on favorable terms, or at all.

We could be required to refinance our debt before it matures and there is no assurance that we will be able to refinance our debt on acceptable terms.

Our ability to refinance each of our financial agreements on acceptable terms will be dependent upon a number of factors, including our degree of leverage, the value of our assets, borrowing restrictions which may be imposed by lenders and conditions in the credit markets at the time we refinance. If we are unable to refinance our debt on acceptable terms, we may be forced to choose from a number of unfavorable options, including agreeing to otherwise unfavorable financing terms, selling one or more hotel properties at unattractive prices or on disadvantageous terms, or defaulting on mortgages and allowing our lenders to foreclose. Any one of these options could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

To service our debt and pay other obligations, we will require a significant amount of cash, which may not be available to us.

Our ability to make payments on, or repay or refinance, our debt, including our obligations under our senior notes and any future debt we may incur, and to fund planned capital expenditures will depend largely upon our future operating performance and our ability to generate cash from operations. Our future performance, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. In addition, our ability to borrow funds in the future to make payments on our debt and other obligations will depend on the satisfaction of the covenants and financial ratios in our senior credit facility and our other debt agreements, including other agreements we may enter into in the future. Our business may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations or we may not have future borrowings available to us under our credit facility or from other sources in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our debt or to fund our other liquidity needs.

The agreements governing our debt contain various covenants that may limit our ability to operate our business and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Our existing financial agreements, including our credit facility and term loan B impose, and future financing agreements are likely to impose, operating and financial restrictions on our activities, including our ability to make distributions to any stockholder. Our credit facility currently requires us to comply with or maintain certain financial tests and ratios,

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including minimum fixed charge coverage ratio, minimum implied debt service coverage ratio and maximum funded debt to asset value ratio, and our financial agreements prohibit or limit our ability to, among other things:

incur additional debt, issue guarantees of debt and issue preferred stock;
create liens;
sell assets;
sell equity interests in our restricted subsidiaries;
redeem and/or prepay certain debt;
pay dividends on our stock to our stockholders or repurchase our stock or other equity interests;
make certain investments;
enter new lines of business;
engage in consolidations, mergers and acquisitions;
enter into transactions with affiliates; or
agree to restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and make other distributions to us.

If we fail to comply with these covenants, we would be in default under our credit facility and the indentures governing our senior unsecured notes, and the outstanding principal and accrued interest on such debt would become due and payable.

Various risks, uncertainties and events beyond our control could affect our ability to comply with these covenants and maintain these financial tests and ratios. Failure to comply with any of the covenants in our existing or future financing agreements could result in a default under those agreements and under other agreements containing cross-default provisions. A default would permit lenders to accelerate the maturity for the debt under these agreements and to foreclose upon any collateral securing the debt, including, in the case of our existing credit facility, our Gaylord Hotels properties. Under these circumstances, we might not have sufficient funds or other resources to satisfy all of our obligations. In addition, the limitations imposed by financing agreements on our ability to pay dividends, incur additional debt and to take other actions might significantly impair our ability to obtain other financing and to make distributions to our stockholders in accordance with our announced intended dividend policy.

Our indebtedness is secured by a substantial portion of our assets.

Subject to applicable laws and certain agreed-upon exceptions, our $700 revolving credit facility, $300 million term loan A, and $500 million term loan B are secured by liens on the substantial majority of our assets, including mortgages on each of our Gaylord Hotels properties. In addition, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture’s $800 million term loan is secured by liens on the substantial majority of Gaylord Rockies assets. Further, the Block 21 assets are and will be subject to mortgage debt that we intend to assume. In the event of a default under our credit facility, or if we experience insolvency, liquidation, dissolution or reorganization, the holders of our secured debt instruments would first be entitled to payment from their collateral security, and only then would holders of our unsecured debt be entitled to payment from our remaining assets.

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We are a holding company and depend upon our subsidiaries’ cash flow to meet our debt service obligations.

We are a holding company and we conduct our operations through our subsidiaries, including our TRSs. As a result, our ability to meet our debt service obligations substantially depends upon our subsidiaries’ cash flows and payments of funds to us by our subsidiaries as dividends, loans, advances, leases or other payments. The payment of dividends and/or making of loans, advances, leases or other payments by our subsidiaries will be subject to the approval of those subsidiaries’ boards. Our subsidiaries’ ability to pay such dividends and/or make such loans, advances, leases or other payments may also be restricted by, among other things, applicable laws and regulations, current and future debt agreements and management agreements into which our subsidiaries may enter.

Any replacement of LIBOR as the basis on which interest on our variable-rate debt is calculated may harm our financial results, profitability and cash flows.

As of December 31, 2019, we had $1.5 billion of variable interest rate debt that was indexed to the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced on July 27, 2017 that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR quotations after 2021 (the “FCA Announcement”). The FCA Announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be assured after 2021, and LIBOR may cease to exist or otherwise be unsuitable for use as a benchmark. Recent proposals for LIBOR reforms may result in the establishment of new methods for calculating LIBOR or the establishment of one or more alternative benchmark rates. Although the agreements governing our indebtedness provide for successor base rates, as applicable, the successor base rates may be related to LIBOR, and the consequences of any potential cessation, modification or other reform of LIBOR cannot be predicted at this time. If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to amend the agreements governing our indebtedness, and we cannot predict what alternative interest rate(s) will be negotiated with our counterparties. As a result, our interest expense may increase, our ability to refinance some or all of our existing indebtedness and/or interest rate swaps may be impacted and our available cash flow may be adversely affected.

We and our third-party hotel manager rely on information technology in our operations, and any material failure, inadequacy, interruption, or security failure could harm our business.

We and our third-party hotel manager rely on information technology systems, including networks and the Internet, to process, transmit, and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes, including financial transactions and records, personal identifying information, reservations, billing and operating data. Our businesses require collection of large volumes of internal and customer data, including credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information of our customers in various information systems and those of our service providers. The integrity and protection of customer, employee, and company data is critical to us. If that data is inaccurate or incomplete, we or the hotel managers could make faulty decisions. Customers and employees also have a high expectation that we and our third-party service providers and processors will adequately protect their personal information. The regulatory environment surrounding information, security and privacy is also increasingly demanding and evolving. For example, in June 2018, the State of California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which became effective in January 2020, requiring companies that process information on California residents to, among other things, provide new disclosures and options to consumers about data collection, use and sharing policies. Our existing systems may be unable to satisfy changing regulatory requirements and employee and customer expectations, or may require significant additional investments or time to do so. Despite implementation of various measures designed to protect our information systems and records, including those we maintain with our service providers, we, the hotel managers and/or our third-party service providers may be subject to security breaches, system failures, viruses, operator error, unauthorized or inadvertent releases of data. A significant theft, loss, or fraudulent use of customer, employee, or company data maintained by us or by a service provider or failure to comply with the various U.S. and international laws and regulations applicable to the protection of such data, including the CCPA, or with Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards, could divert our attention, adversely impact our reputation, result in remedial and other fines or litigation, cause us to incur substantial liabilities or costs, result in a loss of valuable data, or a loss of consumer confidence. A breach in the security of our information systems or those of our service providers, or the unauthorized use of such data by us or our third-party providers, could lead to an interruption in the operation of our systems, resulting in operational inefficiencies and a loss of profits.

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Cyber security incidents could have a disruptive effect on our business.

While we have implemented security measures to safeguard our systems and data, our measures or the measures of our service providers or hotel manager may not be sufficient to maintain the confidentiality, security, or availability of the data collected, stored, and used to manage our Gaylord Hotels properties or Gaylord Rockies. Efforts to hack or circumvent security measures, efforts to gain unauthorized access to data, failure of systems or software to operate as designed or intended, viruses, “ransomware” or other malware, “phishing” or other types of business email compromises, operator error, or inadvertent releases of data may materially impact our information systems and records of those of our owners, licensees, or service providers. Our reliance on computer, Internet-based, and mobile systems and communications, and the frequency and sophistication of efforts by third parties to gain unauthorized access to such systems, have greatly increased in recent years. Like most large multinational corporations, our hotel manager and its service providers have experienced cyber-attacks, and attempts to disrupt access to their systems and data or those of properties our hotel manager manages and the frequency and sophistication of such efforts could continue to increase. Although some of these efforts may not be successful or impactful, a significant theft, loss, loss of access to, or fraudulent use of guest, associate, owner, licensee, or company data could adversely impact our reputation and could result in remedial and other expenses, fines, or litigation. Depending on the nature and scope of the event, compromises in the security of our information systems or those of our owners, licensees, or service providers or other disruptions in data services could lead to an interruption in the operation of our systems or our hotel manager’s systems, resulting in operational inefficiencies and a loss of profits, and negative publicity, resulting in tangible adverse effects on our business, including consumer boycotts, cancellations, lost sales or litigation, all of which could affect our market share, reputation, business, financial condition, or results of operations. In addition, although we or our manager carry cyber/privacy liability insurance that is designed to protect us against certain losses related to cyber risks, that insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all losses or all types of claims that may arise in connection with cyber-attacks, security compromises, and other related incidents. Furthermore, in the future such insurance may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

Our real estate investments are subject to numerous risks.

Because we own hotels and attractions properties, we are subject to the risks that generally relate to investments in real property. The investment returns available from equity investments in real estate depend in large part on the amount of income earned and capital appreciation generated by the related properties, as well as the expenses incurred. In addition, a variety of other factors affect income from properties and real estate values, including governmental regulations, insurance, zoning, tax and eminent domain laws, interest rate levels and the availability of financing. For example, new or existing real estate zoning or tax laws can make it more expensive and/or time-consuming to develop real property or expand, modify or renovate properties. When interest rates increase, the cost of acquiring, developing, expanding or renovating real property increases, particularly as the cost of borrowing increases, and real property values may decrease as the number of potential buyers decreases. Similarly, as financing becomes less available, it becomes more difficult both to acquire and to sell real property. Finally, governments can, under eminent domain laws, take real property. Sometimes this taking is for less compensation than the owner believes the property is worth. Any of these factors could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations or financial condition. In addition, equity real estate investments, such as the investments we hold and any additional properties that we may acquire, are relatively difficult to sell quickly. If our properties do not generate revenue sufficient to meet operating expenses, including debt service and capital expenditures, our income will be reduced.

Our properties are subject to environmental regulations that could impose significant financial liability on us.

Environmental laws, ordinances and regulations of various federal, state, local and foreign governments regulate certain of our properties and could make us liable for the costs of removing or cleaning up hazardous or toxic substances on, under or in the properties we currently own or operate or those we previously owned or operated. Those laws could impose liability without regard to whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of hazardous or toxic substances. The presence of hazardous or toxic substances, or the failure to properly clean up such substances when present, could jeopardize our ability to develop, use, sell or rent the real property or to borrow using the real property as collateral. If we arrange for the disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic wastes, we could be liable for the costs of removing or cleaning up wastes at the disposal or treatment facility, even if we never owned or operated that facility.

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Other laws, ordinances and regulations could require us to manage, abate or remove lead- or asbestos-containing materials. Similarly, the operation and closure of storage tanks are often regulated by federal, state, local and foreign laws. Finally, certain laws, ordinances and regulations, particularly those governing the management or preservation of wetlands, coastal zones and threatened or endangered species, could limit our ability to develop, use, sell or rent our real property. Existing governmental laws and regulations may be revised or new laws and regulations relating to climate change, air quality or other environmental and health concerns may be adopted or become applicable to us, which could affect the operations of our hotels and/or result in significant additional expense and operating restrictions. The costs to clean up a contaminated property, to defend a claim, or to comply with environmental laws could be material and could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. Additionally, because we rely on third-party managers to operate our hotel properties and certain attractions, we have limited control over ensuring compliance at those locations with applicable environmental laws or regulations or approving certain remediation action taken by the manager to resolve such issues.

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act could require us to incur substantial costs.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (the “ADA”), all public accommodations must meet various federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons. Compliance with the ADA’s requirements could require removal of access barriers, and non-compliance could result in the U.S. government imposing fines or in private litigants winning damages. Although we believe that our hotel properties substantially comply with present requirements of the ADA, we may be subject to audits or investigations of all of our hotels to determine our compliance, and one or more hotels may not be fully compliant with the ADA. Noncompliance with the ADA could result in the incurrence of additional costs to attain compliance. The obligation to make readily achievable accommodations is an ongoing one, and we will continue to assess our hotel properties and to make alterations as appropriate in this respect. If we are required to make substantial modifications to our hotel properties, whether to comply with the ADA or other changes in governmental rules and regulations, our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and amount of cash available for debt service or distributions to our stockholders could be adversely affected. Additionally, because we rely on third-party managers to operate our hotel properties and certain attractions, we have limited control over ensuring compliance at those locations with applicable ADA requirements or approving certain remediation action taken by the manager to resolve such issues.

We have invested in, and in the future may invest in, mortgage loans, mezzanine debt, joint ventures, such as our Gaylord Rockies and Circle investments, or certain minority equity interests over which we may not have significant control, to or for which we may owe significant funding or obligations and for which there is no readily available market, and these investments may not be profitable.

We may invest with third parties through partnerships, joint ventures or other entities, by acquiring non-controlling interests in or sharing responsibility for managing the affairs of a property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. Further, we may invest in mortgage loans or mezzanine financing for a property. These types of investments may not be liquid and we may have little or no rights, or ability, to exercise the direction or control of the respective enterprises. In connection with these investments, we may have obligations under certain guarantees related to such investments. The ultimate value of any debt investments, joint ventures or minority investments will be dependent upon the efforts of others over an extended period of time. The nature of our interests and the absence of a readily available market for those interests restrict our ability to dispose of them. Our lack of control over the management of any business in which we are a creditor, joint owner or minority investor and the lack of a readily available market to sell our interest in these businesses may cause us to recognize a loss on our investment in these businesses or to incur costs or liabilities that we do not control, but for which we may be required to contribute capital or satisfy financial commitments. These arrangements are subject to uncertainties and risks, including those related to credit risk, conflicting joint venture partner interests, including with respect to competition in other markets, and to our joint venture partners failing to meet their financial or other obligations.

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We may fail to complete the acquisition of Block 21 on a timely basis or at all, and our financial and operating results may suffer if we are unsuccessful in integrating Block 21 assets with our existing assets.

In December 2019, we entered into an agreement to purchase Block 21, a mixed-use entertainment, lodging, office and retail complex located in Austin, Texas, for $275 million, which includes the assumption of approximately $141 million of existing mortgage debt (collectively, the “Block 21 Acquisition”). Although we expect to complete the Block 21 Acquisition at the end of the first quarter or in early second quarter 2020, the completion of the Block 21 Acquisition is subject to customary closing requirements and conditions and there can be no assurance that the Block 21 Acquisition will be completed on the anticipated schedule or at all. If we fail to consummate the Block 21 Acquisition or should the completion of the Block 21 Acquisition be significantly delayed, we will have expended significant resources without realizing all or a portion of the intended economic benefits of the Block 21 Acquisition. Even if we consummate the Block 21 Acquisition, we may not realize the intended economic benefits. If we fail to consummate the Block 21 Acquisition, we would expect to seek to acquire another entertainment or hotel property or other investment, but we may not be able to identify suitable acquisition candidates on attractive terms or at all, or such acquisitions may take a significant amount of time to accomplish. Any failure to complete the Block 21 Acquisition could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

In addition, if we are unable to successfully integrate the assets acquired in the Block 21 Acquisition with our existing assets in an efficient and effective manner following the completion of the Block 21 Acquisition, the anticipated benefits of the Block 21 Acquisition may not be realized fully, or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected. Further, the integration of the Block 21 assets with our existing assets will require the dedication of significant management resources, which may distract management’s attention from day-to-day business operations. Austin, Texas is a new market for us, and our relative unfamiliarity with the market may result in our having to devote additional time and expense to gain familiarity with the market and maximize operations. An inability to realize the full extent of the anticipated benefits of the Block 21 Acquisition or any delays encountered in the integration process could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

As an owner of hotel properties and operator of leisure businesses, we are subject to risks relating to acts of God, outbreaks of pandemic disease, terrorist activity and war.

Our operating income and ability to make distributions to our stockholders may be reduced by acts of God, outbreaks of pandemic disease, or acts of terrorism in locations where we own and/or operate significant properties and areas of the world from which we draw a large number of customers. Gaylord Opryland, which is located adjacent to the Cumberland River and is protected by levees built to sustain a 100-year flood, suffered flood damage on May 3, 2010 as the river rose to levels that over-topped the levees. The per occurrence flood insurance limit for our Gaylord Opryland hotel is now $500 million. We have also completed enhancements to the levees that protect the hotel to increase the height of the levees. While we believe these steps are reasonable given the likelihood of flood damage at Gaylord Opryland, there can be no assurances that flooding will not occur at Gaylord Opryland in the future. Some types of losses, such as from flood, earthquake, terrorism and environmental hazards, may be either uninsurable, subject to sublimit, or too expensive to justify insuring against. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, we could lose all or a portion of the capital we have invested in a hotel, 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. Similarly, outbreaks of pandemic disease, wars (including the potential for war), terrorist activity (including threats of terrorist activity), political unrest and other forms of civil strife as well as geopolitical uncertainty, may cause our future results to differ materially from anticipated results.

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We are subject to risks associated with our hotel managers’ employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels whose managers employ unionized labor, which could increase our hotels’ operating costs, reduce the flexibility of our third-party hotel managers to adjust the size of the workforce at our hotel properties and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Our third-party hotel managers are responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of our hotel properties. Although we do not employ or manage employees at our hotel properties, we are subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force, including at those of our 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 or other events. The resolution of labor disputes or re-negotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. Furthermore, labor agreements may limit the ability of our third-party hotel managers to reduce the size of hotel workforces during an economic downturn because collective bargaining agreements are negotiated between the third-party hotel managers and labor unions. We do not have the ability to control the outcome of these negotiations.

Any failure to protect the trademarks and intellectual property used in our business could reduce the value of our brand names and harm our business.

Third-party infringement of the Gaylord Hotels marks now owned by Marriott or the marks we own and use in our entertainment business, or the failure to enforce rights to the marks, could be damaging to our business.

The reputation and perception of the brands we use is critical to our success. If trademarks or intellectual property are misappropriated or used without authorization, the value of those brands, their reputation, our competitive advantages and our goodwill could be harmed. We regularly apply to register our trademarks in the United States. However, we cannot be certain that those trademark registrations will be granted or that the steps we take to protect our trademarks or intellectual property in the United States will be adequate to prevent others, including third parties or former employees, from copying or using our trademarks or intellectual property without authorization. Our intellectual property is also vulnerable to unauthorized use in some countries outside the United States, where local laws may not adequately protect it. Marriott owns and maintains the marks used in the Gaylord Hotels operations.

Monitoring the unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult. As we have in the past, we may need to resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights. Litigation of this type could be costly, force us to divert our resources, lead to counterclaims or other claims against us, or otherwise harm our business. Any failure to maintain and protect trademarks and other intellectual property used in our business could reduce the value of our brands and harm our business.

We are subject to risks related to our environmental, social and governance practices.

Many factors influence our reputation including the perception held by our customers and other key stakeholders and the communities in which we do business, and the perception held by customers of Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager. The lodging and entertainment industries in which we operate face increasing scrutiny related to environmental, social and governance activities and risk of damage to our reputation if we fail to act responsibly or comply with regulatory requirements in a number of areas, such as safety and security, environmental stewardship and sustainability, climate change, diversity, human rights, philanthropy and support for local communities. The continuing evolution of social media presents new challenges and requires us to keep pace with new developments and trends. Negative posts or comments about us, the properties we own and Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager on any social networking or user-generated review website, including travel and vacation property websites, could affect consumer opinions of us, and we cannot guarantee that we will timely or adequately redress such instances.

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Hospitality companies have been the target of class actions and other lawsuits alleging violations of federal and state law and other claims, and we may be subject to legal claims.

Our operating income and profits may be reduced by legal or governmental proceedings brought by or on behalf of our employees, customers or other third parties. In recent years, a number of hospitality companies have been subject to lawsuits, including class action lawsuits, alleging violations of federal and state law regarding workplace and employment matters, discrimination, customer privacy breaches and other alleged violations of law. A number of these lawsuits have resulted in the payment of substantial damages by the defendants. Similar lawsuits have been instituted against us from time to time and were resolved in an immaterial manner, but we cannot assure you that we will not incur substantial damages and expenses resulting from future lawsuits of this type or other claims, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, because we rely on third-party managers to operate our hotel properties and certain attractions, we have limited control over defending lawsuits of this type or other claims.

Healthcare reform legislation could adversely affect our results of operations.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the “Affordable Care Act”) serves as the primary vehicle for comprehensive healthcare reform in the United States. Court challenges to the law and efforts by the presidential administration and certain members of Congress to repeal or make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act, its implementation and/or its interpretation, have cast considerable uncertainty on the future of the Affordable Care Act. For example, effective in 2019, the penalty associated with the individual mandate to maintain health insurance was repealed. As a result of this change, a federal judge in Texas ruled in December 2018 that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. In December 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision with respect to the individual mandate, but remanded for further consideration of how this affects the rest of the law. Pending the appeals process, the law remains in effect. We anticipate Congress and state governments will continue to review and assess alternative health care delivery and payment systems and may in the future propose and adopt legislation effecting additional fundamental changes in the health care system. For example, some members of Congress have suggested expanding the coverage of government-funded programs, including single-payor models.

At this time, pursuant to our management agreements, our third-party managers may pass certain health care costs for employees working at our properties through to us. As such, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act as currently in effect, as modified, or subsequent reform efforts, may significantly raise our and our third-party managers’ employee health benefits costs and/or alter the benefits we or our third-party managers are required to provide to our respective employees. If we or our third-party hotel managers are not able to limit or offset future cost increases, those costs could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. As a result, government efforts to repeal or change the Affordable Care Act or implement other reform initiatives may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flow, capital resources and liquidity.

Our operating results and ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders may be adversely affected by various operating risks common to the lodging industry.

Our hotel properties have different economic characteristics than many other real estate assets, and a hotel REIT is structured differently than many other types of REITs. A typical office property owner, for example, has long-term leases with third-party tenants, which provide a relatively stable long-term stream of revenue. Our TRS lessees, on the other hand, do not enter into a lease with a third-party hotel manager. Instead, our TRS lessees engage our third-party managers pursuant to hotel management agreements and pay the third-party hotel managers fees for managing our hotel properties. The TRS lessees receive all the operating profit or losses at our hotel properties, net of fees and reimbursements. Moreover, virtually all hotel guests stay at a hotel for only a few nights at a time, so the rate and occupancy at each of our hotel properties may change every day. As a result, we may have highly volatile earnings.

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In addition, our hotel properties are subject to various operating risks common to the lodging industry, many of which are beyond our or a manager’s control, including the following:

competition from other hotel properties and publicly-financed civic convention centers in our markets;
over-building of hotels in our markets, which could adversely affect occupancy and revenues at our hotel properties;
dependence on business and commercial travelers and tourism;
increases in energy costs and other expenses affecting travel, which may affect travel patterns and reduce the number of business and commercial travelers and tourists;
increases in operating costs due to inflation and other factors that may not be offset by increased room rates;
changes in interest rates and in the availability, cost and terms of debt financing;
changes in governmental laws and regulations, fiscal policies and zoning ordinances and the related costs of compliance with laws and regulations, fiscal policies and ordinances;
adverse effects of international, national, regional and local economic and market conditions;
the impact of the use of Internet travel intermediaries by consumers;
unforeseen events beyond our control, such as terrorist attacks, travel-related health concerns including pandemics and epidemics (including a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the United States), political instability, regional hostilities, imposition of taxes or surcharges by regulatory authorities, travel-related accidents and unusual weather patterns, including natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes;
adverse effects of a downturn in the lodging industry; and
risks generally associated with the ownership of hotels and real estate, as discussed in more detail below.

These factors could reduce the net operating profits of our TRS lessees, which in turn could adversely affect the amount and frequency of distributions we make to our stockholders and our ability to service our debt.

Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our hotel properties and harm our financial condition.

Because real estate investments are relatively illiquid, our ability to promptly sell one or more of our hotel properties in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions may be limited. The real estate market is affected by many factors that are beyond our control, including:

adverse changes in international, national, regional and local economic and market conditions;
changes in interest rates and in the availability, cost and terms of debt financing;
changes in governmental laws and regulations, fiscal policies and zoning ordinances and the related costs of compliance with laws and regulations, fiscal policies and ordinances;
the ongoing need for capital improvements, particularly in older structures;

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changes in operating expenses; and
civil unrest, acts of God, including earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, which may result in uninsured losses, and acts of war or terrorism, including the consequences of the terrorist acts.

We may decide in the future to sell one or more of our hotel properties. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any hotel property for the price or on the terms set by us, or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a hotel property. Further, as a REIT, we are subject to a 100% excise tax on net income derived from prohibited transactions, including the sale of property (other than foreclosure property) held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course. There can be no assurances that the IRS will not contend that the sale of a hotel is subject to this 100% excise tax.

We may be required to expend funds to correct defects or to make improvements before a hotel property can be sold. We cannot assure you that we will have funds available to correct those defects or to make those improvements. In acquiring a hotel, we may agree to lock-out provisions that materially restrict us from selling that hotel for a period of time or impose other restrictions, such as a limitation on the amount of debt that can be placed or repaid on that hotel. These factors and any others that would impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our hotel properties could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition, as well as the amount of cash available for distributions to our stockholders.

Our organizational documents and Delaware law could make it difficult for a third party to acquire control of us.

Our Charter and our Amended and Restated Bylaws contain provisions that could delay, deter or prevent a change in control of our company or our management. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors and take other corporate actions. These provisions:

impose restrictions on transfer and ownership of our common stock that are designed to assist us in maintaining our status as a REIT;
authorize us to issue “blank check” preferred stock, which is preferred stock that can be created and issued by our board of directors, without stockholder approval, with rights senior to those of common stock;
establish advance notice requirements for submitting nominations for election to our board of directors and for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at meetings;
provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called only by our chairman or by a majority of the members of our board of directors;
prohibit stockholder actions taken on written consent; and
impose restrictions on ownership of common stock by certain persons (including non-United States persons) due to our ownership of a radio station.

We are subject to anti-takeover provisions under Delaware law, which could also delay or prevent a change of control. Together, our Charter, Amended and Restated Bylaws, and Delaware law may discourage transactions that otherwise could provide for the payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our common stock, and also could limit the price that investors are willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.

Our issuance of preferred stock could adversely affect holders of our common stock and discourage a takeover.

Our Charter permits our board of directors to issue up to 100 million shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders. As of the date hereof, we have no shares of preferred stock outstanding. Our board of directors

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also has the power, without stockholder approval, to set the terms of any new series of preferred stock that may be issued, including voting rights, dividend rights, preferences over our common stock with respect to dividends or in the event of a dissolution, liquidation or winding up and other terms. In the event that we issue shares of preferred stock in the future that have preference over our common stock with respect to payment of dividends or upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if we issue preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of our common stock, the rights of the holders of our common stock or the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected. In addition, the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders may impede a takeover of us and prevent a transaction favorable to our stockholders.

The ownership limitations in our Charter may restrict or prevent stockholders from engaging in certain transfers of our common stock.

To qualify and remain qualified as a REIT, no more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include various kinds of entities) during the last half of any taxable year. To assist us in qualifying as a REIT, our Charter contains a share ownership limit. Generally, any of our shares owned by affiliated owners will be added together for purposes of the share ownership limit. This share ownership limit provides that (subject to certain exceptions) no person may beneficially own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, more than 9.8%, in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of our capital stock, or any class or series of our capital stock. If anyone transfers shares in a manner that would violate the share ownership limit or prevent us from qualifying as a REIT, those shares instead will be transferred to a trust for the benefit of a charitable beneficiary and will be either redeemed by us or sold to a person whose ownership of the shares will not violate the share ownership limit or we will consider the transfer to be null and void from the outset, and the intended transferee of those shares will be deemed never to have owned the shares.

Our Charter also prohibits the ownership of shares by any person or entity if such ownership would violate or otherwise be inconsistent with federal communications laws or regulations pertaining to the ownership of television or radio stations, cable television or other radio authorizations by (i) foreign persons or entities, (ii) persons or entities having interests in television or radio broadcast stations, newspapers or cable television systems, and (iii) entities seeking direct or indirect control of us without prior federal regulatory approval. In the event of a transfer that would result in a violation or inconsistency with federal communications laws or regulations we may refuse to permit the transfer, suspend the rights of share ownership as necessary to prohibit the violation or inconsistency, or redeem the shares. Anyone who acquires shares in violation of the share ownership limit or the other restrictions on transfer in our Charter bears the risk of suffering a financial loss when the shares are redeemed or sold if the market price of our shares falls between the date of purchase and the date of redemption or sale. In addition, these ownership limitations may prevent an acquisition of control of us by a third party without the approval of our board of directors, even if our stockholders believe the change of control is in their interest.

The ability of our board of directors to change our major policies without the consent of stockholders may not be in our stockholders’ interest.

Our board of directors determines our major policies, including any policies and guidelines we may maintain from time to time relating to our acquisitions, leverage, financing, growth, qualification as a REIT and distributions to our stockholders. Our board of directors may amend or revise these and other policies and guidelines from time to time without the vote or consent of our stockholders. Accordingly, our stockholders will have limited control over changes in our policies and those changes could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

We may not have sufficient funds to make cash distributions to stockholders at intended payment levels, and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from our operations to make distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future.

As a REIT, we will generally be required to distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (subject to certain adjustments and excluding any net capital gains) each year for us to maintain our qualification as a

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REIT under the Code, which requirement we currently intend to satisfy, and we must distribute 100% of our REIT taxable income, including capital gains, to eliminate federal corporate income tax liability. To the extent we satisfy the 90% distribution requirement but distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, we will be subject to federal corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income.

Subject to maintaining our REIT qualification, we intend to make regular quarterly distributions to our stockholders, but no assurances can be made as to the amount of distributions in the future. We have also announced our intention to make distributions at specified minimum levels. Our board of directors may alter our dividend policy at any time and will have the sole discretion to determine the timing, form and amount of any distributions to our stockholders. Among the factors that could impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders are:

our inability to invest our available cash;
our inability to realize attractive risk-adjusted returns on our investments;
unanticipated expenses that reduce our cash flow or non-cash earnings;
defaults in our investment portfolio or decreases in the value of the underlying assets; and
the fact that anticipated operating expense levels may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates.

As a result, no assurance can be given that the level of any distributions we make to our stockholders in the future will achieve a market yield or increase or even be maintained over time, any of which could materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

In addition, distributions that we make to our stockholders will generally be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary income and will generally not be eligible for reduced rates applicable to “qualified” dividend income. However, a portion of our distributions may be designated by us as long-term capital gains to the extent that they are attributable to capital gains income recognized by us or may constitute a return of capital to the extent that they exceed our earnings and profits as determined for tax purposes. A return of capital is not taxable, but has the effect of reducing the basis of a stockholder’s investment in our common stock.

The market price of our common stock may vary substantially.

The trading prices of equity securities issued by REITs have historically been affected by changes in market interest rates and other factors. One of the factors that may influence the market price of our common stock is the annual yield from distributions on our common stock as compared to yields on other financial instruments. An increase in market interest rates, or a decrease in our distributions to stockholders, may lead prospective purchasers of our shares to demand a higher annual yield and choose other investments, which could reduce the market price of our common stock.

Other factors that could affect the market price of our common stock include the following:

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly results of operations;
changes in market valuations of companies in the hotel or real estate industries;
changes in expectations of future financial performance or changes in estimates of securities analysts;
fluctuations in stock market prices and volumes;
issuances of common stock or other securities in the future;

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disputes with our hotel managers;
the addition or departure of key personnel;
announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, investments or strategic alliances; and
unforeseen events beyond our control, such as terrorist attacks, travel related health concerns including pandemics and epidemics (including a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the United States), political instability, regional hostilities, increases in fuel prices, imposition of taxes or surcharges by regulatory authorities, travel related accidents and unusual weather patterns, including natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis or earthquakes.

Item 1B.            Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.              Properties

Hospitality Segment

    

    

    

Meeting, Exhibit and

Hotel

Location

Rooms

Pre-Function Space

Gaylord Opryland

 

Nashville, TN

 

2,888

 

640,000

Gaylord National

 

National Harbor, MD (Washington, DC area)

 

1,996

 

500,000

Gaylord Texan

 

Grapevine, TX (Dallas area)

 

1,814

 

488,000

Gaylord Rockies (1)

Aurora, CO (Denver area)

1,501

409,000

Gaylord Palms

 

Kissimmee, FL (Orlando area)

 

1,416

 

400,000

Inn at Opryland

 

Nashville, TN

 

303

 

14,000

AC Hotel

 

National Harbor, MD (Washington, DC area)

 

192

 

3,700

(1)The Company owns a 62.1 percent interest in a joint venture that owns this property.

We own our Opryland complex in Nashville, Tennessee, which includes the site of Gaylord Opryland (approximately 172 acres). We also own the approximately 6-acre site of the Inn at Opryland, which is located near the Opryland complex. We have leased a 65-acre tract in Osceola County, Florida, on which the Gaylord Palms is located, pursuant to a 75-year ground lease with a 24-year renewal option. We acquired approximately 85 acres in Grapevine, Texas, through ownership (approximately 75 acres) and ground lease (approximately 10 acres), on which the Gaylord Texan is located. We also own an additional approximately 40 acres of property near the Gaylord Texan. We own approximately 42 acres on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on which the Gaylord National is located and we own fee title to the condominium unit in the eight-story building in which the AC Hotel is located. All of our four owned Gaylord Hotels properties secure our credit facility, and Gaylord Rockies assets secure the debt of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, as described in the Liquidity and Capital Resources section of Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The Gaylord Rockies joint venture owns approximately 85 acres, on which Gaylord Rockies is located, which is leased to a TRS owned by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture. Each of our hotel properties is leased or subleased to one of our TRSs, and such TRS has engaged Marriott to manage the day-to-day operations of the hotel. For a description of the management agreements with Marriott, see “Management Agreements” in Item 1, “Business.” For the operating results of our hotels on a property basis, see “Operating Results – Detailed Segment Financial Information” in Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Entertainment Segment

We own the General Jackson’s docking facility, the Grand Ole Opry House and WSM Radio’s offices and studios, each of which are located within the Opryland complex. We also own Gaylord Springs, an 18-hole golf course situated on

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over 200 acres, which is located near the Opryland complex. In downtown Nashville, we own the Ryman Auditorium, Ole Red Nashville, and the Wildhorse Saloon dance hall and production facility. We also own an approximate 17,000 square foot building in downtown Nashville that we are currently transforming into additional connecting event space for the Wildhorse Saloon. Our TRSs have engaged Marriott to manage the day-to-day operations of the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse Saloon. For a description of the management agreements with Marriott, see “Management Agreements” in Item 1, “Business.”

Corporate and Other

We own our executive offices and headquarters located at One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee, which consists of a five-story office building comprising approximately 80,000 square feet. We believe that these facilities and the facilities related to each of our business segments are generally well maintained.

Item 3.            Legal Proceedings

We and various of our subsidiaries are involved in claims and lawsuits incidental to the ordinary course of our businesses, such as personal injury actions by guests and employees and complaints alleging employee discrimination. We maintain various insurance policies, including general liability and property damage insurance, as well as workers’ compensation, business interruption, and other policies, which we believe provide adequate coverage for the risks associated with our range of operations. We believe that we are adequately insured against these claims by our existing insurance policies and that the outcome of any pending claims or proceedings will not have a material effect on our financial statements.

For further discussion of legal proceedings, see “Note 13 – Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements included herein.

Item 4.            Mine Safety Disclosures

None.

PART II

Item 5.            Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “RHP”.

Holders

There were approximately 776 record holders of our common stock at January 31, 2020.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

There were no equity securities sold by the Company during the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

No shares of the Company’s common stock were repurchased during the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Other Information

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To maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income each year. Pursuant to our current dividend policy, we currently plan to pay a quarterly cash dividend to stockholders in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by Ryman) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income on an annual basis, whichever is greater. The declaration, timing and amount of dividends will be determined by future action of our board of directors. Our dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors.

The terms of our credit facility restrict our ability to pay dividends. We are not permitted to pay a dividend to our stockholders if the aggregate amount of all distributions to our stockholders in a given year exceeds 95% of our funds from operations (as defined in the credit facility) for that fiscal year. Notwithstanding this restriction, we are permitted to pay dividends to stockholders to the extent necessary to maintain our status as a REIT.

Information relating to compensation plans under which our common stock is authorized for issuance is set forth in Part III, Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Item 6.            Selected Financial Data

The following selected historical financial information of the Company and its subsidiaries as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019 was derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included herein. The selected financial information as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 and for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2016 was derived from previously issued audited consolidated financial statements. The information in the following table should be read in conjunction with Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019 included herein (in thousands, except per share amounts).

36

Years Ended December 31, 

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Income Statement Data:

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

REVENUES:

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

557,562

$

454,370

$

431,768

$

420,011

$

404,457

Food and beverage

 

660,770

 

519,843

 

483,945

 

477,493

 

461,157

Other hotel revenue

 

203,114

 

153,690

 

143,947

 

142,139

 

128,989

Entertainment

 

183,120

 

147,215

 

125,059

 

109,564

 

97,521

Total revenues

 

1,604,566

 

1,275,118

 

1,184,719

 

1,149,207

 

1,092,124

OPERATING EXPENSES:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

144,834

 

118,060

 

112,636

 

109,618

 

110,067

Food and beverage

 

362,850

 

282,906

 

269,824

 

267,307

 

261,580

Other hotel expenses

 

409,883

 

339,529

 

327,283

 

323,320

 

313,706

Hotel management fees, net

 

39,608

 

30,744

 

23,856

 

22,194

 

14,657

Entertainment

 

126,609

 

109,249

 

84,513

 

74,627

 

67,484

Corporate

 

36,282

 

30,833

 

31,387

 

26,883

 

26,133

Preopening costs

 

3,122

 

4,869

 

1,926

 

 

909

Impairment charges (1)

 

 

23,783

 

35,418

 

 

19,200

Depreciation and amortization:

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

Hospitality

 

201,068

 

108,779

 

102,759

 

100,186

 

105,876

Entertainment

 

11,150

 

10,280

 

7,074

 

7,034

 

5,747

Corporate and Other

 

1,629

 

1,817

 

2,126

 

2,596

 

2,760

Total depreciation and amortization

 

213,847

 

120,876

 

111,959

 

109,816

 

114,383

Total operating expenses

 

1,337,035

 

1,060,849

 

998,802

 

933,765

 

928,119

OPERATING INCOME:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Hospitality

 

263,203

 

247,885

 

223,302

 

217,018

 

188,717

Entertainment

 

45,361

 

27,686

 

33,472

 

27,903

 

24,290

Corporate and Other

 

(37,911)

 

(32,650)

 

(33,513)

 

(29,479)

 

(28,893)

Preopening costs

 

(3,122)

 

(4,869)

 

(1,926)

 

 

(909)

Impairment charges (1)

 

 

(23,783)

 

(35,418)

 

 

(19,200)

Total operating income

 

267,531

 

214,269

 

185,917

 

215,442

 

164,005

Interest expense

 

(131,620)

 

(74,961)

 

(66,051)

 

(63,906)

 

(63,901)

Interest income

 

11,769

 

10,469

 

11,818

 

11,500

 

12,384

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

(494)

 

 

 

 

Income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures (2)

 

(1,110)

 

125,005

 

(4,402)

 

(2,794)

 

Other gains and (losses), net (3)

 

693

 

1,633

 

(337)

 

2,524

 

(12,832)

Benefit (provision) for income taxes (4)

 

(18,475)

 

(11,745)

 

49,155

 

(3,400)

 

11,855

Net income

 

128,294

 

264,670

 

176,100

 

159,366

 

111,511

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest in consolidated joint venture (5)

 

17,500

 

 

 

 

Net income available to common stockholders

$

145,794

$

264,670

$

176,100

$

159,366

$

111,511

Basic income per share available to common stockholders

$

2.82

$

5.16

$

3.44

$

3.12

$

2.18

Diluted income per share available to common stockholders

$

2.81

$

5.14

$

3.43

$

3.11

$

2.16

Dividends Declared per Common Share (6)

$

3.60

$

3.40

$

3.20

$

3.00

$

2.70

As of December 31,

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Balance Sheet Data (5):

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Total assets

$

4,088,468

$

3,853,883

$

2,524,228

$

2,405,753

$

2,331,434

Total debt

 

2,559,968

 

2,441,895

 

1,591,392

 

1,502,554

 

1,431,710

Total stockholders' equity

 

644,729

 

469,577

 

378,156

 

367,997

 

379,562

(1)Impairment charges in 2018 primarily include costs associated with our previous investment in Opry City Stage, a four-level entertainment complex in Times Square. During the third quarter of 2018, we determined that current ongoing operations were not meeting our revenue projections from the time of purchase and we temporarily

37

suspended operations to appropriately reposition the venue and its operations. An impairment assessment at that time warranted an impairment charge of $4.5 million. In December 2018, we determined that we would permanently close Opry City Stage and recorded an additional impairment charge of $18.0 million. In addition, during 2018, we incurred $1.2 million in impairment charges related to an entertainment concept that has been abandoned. Impairment charges in 2017 represent a portion of the notes receivable that we hold related to the Gaylord National construction, consisting of other-than-temporary impairment losses of $35.4 million, which is net of $6.5 million recognized in other comprehensive income. See further disclosure regarding this impairment in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements included herein. Impairment charges in 2015 include costs associated with our decision to move forward with an expansion of the guest rooms and convention space at Gaylord Texan, which was ultimately completed in 2018. This capital project replaced a previously contemplated expansion that we began incurring design costs for during 2007 and had been subsequently put on hold. As the Gaylord Texan project was substantially different from the previously contemplated project, we incurred an impairment charge of $16.3 million in 2015. In addition, during 2015, we incurred $2.9 million in impairment charges related to assets previously used in special events programming that was discontinued.
(2)Income from unconsolidated joint ventures for 2018 includes a $131.4 million gain related to the re-measurement of the pre-existing equity method investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture prior to consolidation.
(3)Other gains and (losses) for 2015 includes a $20.2 million loss on the repurchase of a portion of the common stock warrants associated with our previous convertible notes. Other gains and (losses) for 2015 also includes a $6.9 million gain associated with the reimbursement by the current developer of costs that were previously incurred related to a proposed development in Aurora, Colorado. These costs were impaired in 2012 as part of our strategic shift away from long-term development. Other gains and (losses) for 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 includes $2.8 million, $2.7 million, $2.6 million, $2.5 million and $2.5 million in income, respectively, received from the marketing and maintenance fund associated with the Gaylord National bonds.
(4)Benefit for income taxes for 2017 includes a benefit of $53.4 million related to the release of valuation allowance.
(5)As a result of the Company’s purchase of an additional interest in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture as of December 31, 2018, the Company began consolidating the joint venture’s balance sheet at December 31, 2018 and its operating results January 1, 2019. At December 31, 2019, the Company owns a 62.1% interest in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture.
(6)Dividends declared for 2019 represent quarterly dividends totaling $3.60 per share, or an aggregate of $188.3 million in cash. Dividends declared for 2018 represent quarterly dividends totaling $3.40 per share, or an aggregate of $174.5 million in cash. Dividends declared for 2017 represent quarterly dividends totaling $3.20 per share, or an aggregate of $163.7 million in cash. Dividends declared for 2016 represent quarterly dividends totaling $3.00 per share, or an aggregate of $153.0 million in cash. Dividends declared for 2015 represent quarterly dividends totaling $2.70 per share, or an aggregate of $138.4 million in cash.

Item 7.            Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

This section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K generally discusses 2019 and 2018 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018. Discussions of 2017 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2018 and 2017 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

Overview

We are a Delaware corporation, originally incorporated in 1956, that, following our REIT conversion in 2012, began operating as a self-advised and self-administered REIT for federal income tax purposes on January 1, 2013, specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. Our owned assets include a network of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 8,114 rooms that are managed by Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”)

38

under the Gaylord Hotels brand. These four resorts, which we refer to as our Gaylord Hotels properties, consist of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee (“Gaylord Opryland”), the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando, Florida (“Gaylord Palms”), the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center near Dallas, Texas (“Gaylord Texan”) and the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington D.C. (“Gaylord National”). Our other owned hotel assets managed by Marriott include the Inn at Opryland, an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, and the AC Hotel at National Harbor, Washington D.C. (“AC Hotel”), an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord National that opened in April 2015. We also own a 62.1% interest in a joint venture (the “Gaylord Rockies joint venture”) that owns Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver, Colorado (“Gaylord Rockies”), which opened in December 2018 and is managed by Marriott.

We also own and operate media and entertainment assets including the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for over 90 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied live music venue and former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home; Ole Red, a brand of Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event spaces; and three Nashville-based assets managed by Marriott – Gaylord Springs Golf Links (“Gaylord Springs”), the Wildhorse Saloon, and the General Jackson Showboat (“General Jackson”). We also own a 50% interest in a joint venture intended to create and distribute a linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to the country music lifestyle (“Circle”).

Each of our award-winning Gaylord Hotels properties incorporates not only high quality lodging, but also at least 400,000 square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, superb food and beverage options and retail and spa facilities within a single self-contained property. As a result, our Gaylord Hotels properties provide a convenient and entertaining environment for convention guests. Our Gaylord Hotels properties focus on the large group meetings market in the United States.

Our goal is to be the nation’s premier hospitality REIT for group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets.

See “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” under Part I of this annual report for important information regarding forward-looking statements made in this report and risks and uncertainties we face.

Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture

As more fully discussed in Note 4, “Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture,” to the consolidated financial statements included herein, on December 31, 2018, we completed our purchase of additional interests in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, increasing our ownership to 61.2%. In addition, on July 31, 2019, we increased our ownership in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture to 62.1%. Our management has concluded that the Company is the primary beneficiary of this variable interest entity (“VIE”) and the financial position and results of operations of the VIE have been consolidated in the accompanying consolidated financial statements included herein, beginning on December 31, 2018 with respect to the balance sheet and January 1, 2019 with respect to statements of operations and comprehensive income and statements of cash flows. Gaylord Rockies opened on a limited basis in December 2018 and on a fully operational basis in first quarter 2019 and is managed by Marriott.

Gaylord Palms Expansion

In 2018, we began construction of a $158 million expansion of Gaylord Palms, which will include an additional 303 guest rooms and 90,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded resort pool and events lawn, and a new multi-level parking structure. The expansion is expected to be completed in summer 2021.

Gaylord Rockies Expansion

In February 2020, we and our joint venture partner in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture announced an $80 million expansion of Gaylord Rockies, which will include an additional 317 guest rooms. The expansion is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020 and to be completed in early 2022.

39

SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland

In December 2018, we opened the indoor portion of a $90 million investment to create a luxury indoor/outdoor waterpark adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, SoundWaves. The project includes approximately 111,000 square feet of indoor water attractions and activities over three levels and approximately 106,000 square feet of outdoor water amenities. The project includes areas for adults, children and families, as well as dining options and bars. The outdoor portion of the project opened in second quarter 2019.

Circle

In 2019, we acquired a 50% equity interest in Circle for an initial capital contribution of $2.0 million, and we contributed an additional $2.0 million in December 2019. The joint venture agreement requires us to contribute up to an additional $11.0 million through December 31, 2021. Circle launched its broadcast network on January 1, 2020, with sixteen original shows and two major distribution partnerships that broadcast Circle in markets accessible to more than 50% of U.S. television households.

Potential Acquisition of Block 21

In December 2019, we entered into an agreement (the “Block 21 Agreement”) to purchase Block 21, a mixed-use entertainment, lodging, office and retail complex located in Austin, Texas, for $275 million, which includes the assumption of approximately $141 million of existing mortgage debt. Block 21 is the home of the ACL Live at the Moody Theater, a 2,750-seat entertainment venue that serves as the filming location for the Austin City Limits television series. The Block 21 complex also includes the 251-room W Austin Hotel, the 350-seat 3TEN at ACL Live club and approximately 53,000 square feet of Class A commercial space. We paid a nonrefundable deposit of $15 million upon entry into the Block 21 Agreement, and the acquisition is expected to close at the end of the first quarter or in early second quarter 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including, but not limited to, consent to our assumption of the existing mortgage loan by the loan servicer and the consent of the hotel property manager, an affiliate of Marriott, to our assignment and assumption of the existing hotel management agreement. We intend to fund the acquisition with a portion of the proceeds from the equity offering discussed below.

Equity Offering

In December 2019, we completed an underwritten public offering of approximately 3.5 million shares of our common stock, par value $0.01 per share, at a price to the public of $85.60 per share. Our net proceeds, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other expenses paid by us, were approximately $283 million. We intend to use a portion of the net proceeds to fund the approximately $134 million cash portion of the consideration for the acquisition of Block 21 and the related fees and expenses of the acquisition. We intend to use the remaining net proceeds, or all of the net proceeds if the Block 21 acquisition is not consummated, for general corporate purposes, including future acquisitions or investments and the repayment of any indebtedness outstanding under our revolving credit facility.

Refinancing Activity

In July 2019, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture refinanced its previous $500 million construction loan and $39 million mezzanine loan, which were scheduled to mature in December 2019, by entering into an $800 million secured term loan facility, with an option for an additional $80 million of borrowing capacity should the Gaylord Rockies joint venture pursue a future expansion of Gaylord Rockies, which the joint venture announced in February 2020 that it intends to pursue. The new term loan facility matures in 2023. Net proceeds, after repayment of the construction and mezzanine loans and the payment of expenses, were distributed to the owners of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture pro rata in proportion to their interests therein. We received a distribution of approximately $153 million, which we used to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness under our revolving credit facility.

In September 2019, we refinanced our previous $350 million 5% senior notes due 2021 by issuing $500 million in 4.75% senior notes due 2027 through a private placement. Net proceeds of the $500 million 4.75% senior notes, after

40

deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts, commissions and offering expenses, were approximately $493 million, and were used to repurchase a portion of the $350 million 5% senior notes due 2021 validly tendered and accepted for purchase pursuant to our previously announced cash tender offer, redeem the remaining portion of the $350 million 5% senior notes, and to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness under our revolving credit facility.

In October 2019, we completed a tack-on private placement of $200 million in additional 4.75% senior notes due 2027 at an issue price of 101.250% of their aggregate principal amount plus accrued interest from the issuance date of the original $500 million 4.75% senior notes. Net proceeds, after deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts, commissions and offering expenses, were approximately $199 million, and were used to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness under our revolving credit facility.

In October 2019, we completed the refinancing of our existing credit facility by extending the maturity of our $700 million revolving credit facility and $200 million term loan A to 2024 and 2025, respectively. In addition, we increased the outstanding portion of the term loan A to $300 million and the accordion feature of the facility from $500 million to $600 million. Further, the applicable margin on the interest rate for the revolving credit facility and the term loan A portion of the facility was decreased. There were no changes to the terms of the $500 million term loan B portion of the credit facility. The net proceeds of the increase in the term loan A, after deducting initial transaction expenses payable at closing, were approximately $94 million and, along with cash on hand, were used to repay $100 million of the outstanding indebtedness under our $500 million term loan B.

For further discussion of the agreements governing each of these debt instruments, see the “Principal Debt Agreements” section of “Liquidity and Capital Resources” below.

Dividend Policy

Pursuant to our current dividend policy, we plan to continue to pay a quarterly cash dividend to stockholders in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures, or 100% of REIT taxable income, whichever is greater. During 2019, the Company’s board of directors declared quarterly dividends totaling $3.60 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of $188.3 million in cash. During 2018, the Company’s board of directors declared quarterly dividends totaling $3.40 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of $174.5 million in cash. During 2017, the Company’s board of directors declared quarterly dividends totaling $3.20 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of $163.7 million in cash. The declaration, timing and amount of dividends will be determined by future action of our board of directors. Our dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors.

Our Current Operations

Our ongoing operations are organized into three principal business segments:

Hospitality, consisting of our Gaylord Hotels properties, the Inn at Opryland, the AC Hotel, and our investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, each of which is managed by Marriott.
Entertainment, consisting of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM, Ole Red, and our other Nashville-based attractions, as well as our investment in the Circle joint venture. We own our Entertainment businesses in TRSs, and Marriott manages the General Jackson, Wildhorse Saloon and Gaylord Springs.
Corporate and Other, consisting of our corporate expenses.

41

For the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, our total revenues were divided among these business segments as follows:

Segment

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

Hospitality

 

89

%  

88

%  

89

%  

Entertainment

 

11

%  

12

%  

11

%  

Corporate and Other

 

0

%  

0

%  

0

%  

Key Performance Indicators

The operating results of our Hospitality segment are highly dependent on the volume of customers at our hotels and the quality of the customer mix at our hotels, which are managed by Marriott. These factors impact the price that Marriott can charge for our hotel rooms and other amenities, such as food and beverage and meeting space. The following key performance indicators are commonly used in the hospitality industry and are used by management to evaluate hotel performance and potentially allocate capital expenditures:

hotel occupancy (a volume indicator);
average daily rate (“ADR”) – a price indicator calculated by dividing rooms revenue by the number of rooms sold;
Revenue per Available Room (“RevPAR”) – a summary measure of hotel results calculated by dividing rooms revenue by room nights available to guests for the period;
Total Revenue per Available Room (“Total RevPAR”) – a summary measure of hotel results calculated by dividing the sum of room, food and beverage and other ancillary service revenue by room nights available to guests for the period; and
Net Definite Room Nights Booked – a volume indicator which represents the total number of definite bookings for future room nights at our hotels confirmed during the applicable period, net of cancellations.

Hospitality segment revenue from our occupied hotel rooms is recognized over time as the daily hotel stay is provided to hotel groups and guests. Revenues from concessions, food and beverage sales, and group meeting services are recognized over the period or at the point in time those goods or services are delivered to the group or hotel guest. Revenues from ancillary services at our hotels, such as spa, parking, and transportation services, are generally recognized at the time the goods or services are provided. Cancellation fees, as well as attrition fees that are charged to groups when they do not fulfill the minimum number of room nights or minimum food and beverage spending requirements originally contracted for, are generally recognized as revenue in the period we determine it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of revenue recognized will not occur, which is typically the period these fees are collected.

Almost all of our Hospitality segment revenues are either cash-based or, for meeting and convention groups that meet our credit criteria, billed and collected on a short-term receivables basis. The hospitality industry is capital intensive, and we rely on the ability of our hotels to generate operating cash flow to repay debt financing and fund maintenance capital expenditures.

The results of operations of our Hospitality segment are affected by the number and type of group meetings and conventions scheduled to attend our hotels in a given period. A variety of factors can affect the results of any interim period, including the nature and quality of the group meetings and conventions attending our hotels during such period, which meetings and conventions have often been contracted for several years in advance, the level of attrition our hotels experience, and the level of transient business at our hotels during such period. We rely on Marriott, as the manager of our hotels, to manage these factors and to offset any identified shortfalls in occupancy.

42

Summary Financial Results

The following table summarizes our financial results for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands, except percentages and per share data):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

Total revenues

$

1,604,566

 

25.8

%  

$

1,275,118

 

7.6

%  

$

1,184,719

Total operating expenses

 

1,337,035

 

26.0

%  

 

1,060,849

 

6.2

%  

 

998,802

Operating income

 

267,531

 

24.9

%  

 

214,269

 

15.2

%  

 

185,917

Net income

 

128,294

 

(51.5)

%  

 

264,670

 

50.3

%  

 

176,100

Net income available to common shareholders

145,794

(44.9)

%  

264,670

50.3

%  

176,100

Net income available to common shareholders per share - diluted

 

2.81

 

(45.3)

%  

 

5.14

 

49.9

%  

 

3.43

2019 Results as Compared to 2018 Results

The increase in our total revenues during 2019, as compared to 2018, is attributable to increases in our Hospitality segment and Entertainment segment revenues of $293.5 million and $35.9 million, respectively, as discussed more fully below.

The increase in total operating expenses during 2019, as compared to 2018, is primarily the result of increases in Hospitality segment and Entertainment segment expenses of $185.9 million and $17.4 million, respectively, as well as an increase in depreciation and amortization expense of $93.0 million. These increases were partially offset by $23.8 million in impairment charges for 2018 that did not recur in 2019.

The above factors resulted in a $53.3 million increase in operating income for 2019, as compared to 2018.

The $136.4 million decrease in our net income in 2019, as compared to 2018, was due to the change in our operating income described above, offset by the following factors, each as described more fully below:

A loss from unconsolidated joint ventures of $1.1 million in 2019 compared to income from unconsolidated joint ventures of $125.0 million in 2018. Income from unconsolidated joint ventures for 2018 includes a $131.4 million gain related to the re-measurement of the pre-existing equity method investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture prior to consolidation.
A $56.7 million increase in interest expense for 2019, driven by outstanding debt from the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, which we began consolidating December 31, 2018.
A $6.7 million increase in the provision for income taxes in 2019.

Factors and Trends Contributing to Operating Performance in 2019 Compared to 2018

The most important factors and trends contributing to our operating performance in 2019 as compared to 2018 were:

The opening of Gaylord Rockies on a limited basis in December 2018 and on a fully-operational basis in the first quarter of 2019, and the resulting impact on our financial results.
Increased occupied rooms (an increase of 11.3%), and outside-the-room spending (an increase of 13.1%) at Gaylord Texan during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increases in group business partially attributable to the recent rooms and meeting space expansion, which opened in the second quarter of 2018.
Increased ADR (an increase of 2.8%) and outside-the-room spending (an increase of 6.0%) at Gaylord Opryland during 2019, as compared to 2018. The increase in ADR is due to increases in both group and

43

transient rates. The increase in outside-the-room spending is primarily due to increased food and beverage outlet revenue, as well as the opening of SoundWaves.
A decrease in net definite room nights booked during 2019, as compared to 2018 (a decrease of 10.1% and 12.8% for total Hospitality and same-store, which excludes Gaylord Rockies, respectively), primarily due to the fourth quarter 2018 being an all-time record booking quarter for the Company. In addition, we have the highest level of room nights on-the-books in the Company’s history, which has limited the availability of additional bookings into high demand periods for group business.
Increased revenue for our Entertainment segment during 2019, as compared to 2018 (an increase of 24.4%), due primarily to increased shows, attendance and retail revenue at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, as well as the operation of Ole Red Gatlinburg, which opened in March 2019, and increased revenue at Ole Red Nashville, which opened in May 2018.
Increased expenses for our Entertainment segment during 2019, as compared to 2018 (an increase of 15.9%), due primarily to the operations of Ole Red Gatlinburg, as well as increased expenses at the Ryman Auditorium, primarily due to the increase in variable expenses associated with the increase in revenue. In addition, 2019 was impacted by the full year of operations of Ole Red Nashville. The 2019 year also benefitted from 2018 including losses from operations of Opry City Stage, which the Company closed in late 2018.

44

Operating Results – Detailed Segment Financial Information

Hospitality Segment

Total Segment Results. The following presents the financial results of our Hospitality segment for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

557,562

 

22.7

%  

$

454,370

 

5.2

%  

$

431,768

Food and beverage

 

660,770

 

27.1

%  

 

519,843

 

7.4

%  

 

483,945

Other hotel revenue

 

203,114

 

32.2

%  

 

153,690

 

6.8

%  

 

143,947

Total hospitality revenue

 

1,421,446

 

26.0

%  

 

1,127,903

 

6.4

%  

 

1,059,660

Hospitality operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

144,834

 

22.7

%  

 

118,060

 

4.8

%  

 

112,636

Food and beverage

 

362,850

 

28.3

%  

 

282,906

 

4.8

%  

 

269,824

Other hotel expenses

 

409,883

 

20.7

%  

 

339,529

 

3.7

%  

 

327,283

Management fees, net

 

39,608

 

28.8

%  

 

30,744

 

28.9

%  

 

23,856

Depreciation and amortization

 

201,068

 

84.8

%  

 

108,779

 

5.9

%  

 

102,759

Total Hospitality operating expenses

 

1,158,243

 

31.6

%  

 

880,018

 

5.2

%  

 

836,358

Hospitality operating income (1)

$

263,203

 

6.2

%  

$

247,885

 

11.0

%  

$

223,302

Hospitality performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy (2)

 

75.8

%  

0.5

pts

 

75.3

%  

(0.2)

pts

 

75.5

%

ADR

$

199.26

 

2.4

%  

$

194.64

 

3.2

%  

$

188.67

RevPAR (3)

$

151.09

 

3.1

%  

$

146.50

 

2.9

%  

$

142.42

Total RevPAR (4)

$

385.20

 

5.9

%  

$

363.66

 

4.0

%  

$

349.53

Net Definite Group Room Nights Booked

 

2,216,000

 

(10.1)

%  

 

2,465,000

 

0.3

%  

 

2,457,000

Same-store Hospitality performance metrics (5):

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy (2)

 

77.0

%  

1.7

pts

 

75.3

%  

(0.2)

pts

 

75.5

%

ADR

$

199.31

 

2.4

%  

$

194.64

 

3.2

%  

$

188.67

RevPAR (3)

$

153.42

 

4.7

%  

$

146.50

 

2.9

%  

$

142.42

Total RevPAR (4)

$

380.26

 

4.6

%  

$

363.66

 

4.0

%  

$

349.53

Net Definite Group Room Nights Booked

 

1,836,000

 

(12.8)

%  

 

2,106,000

 

4.7

%  

 

2,012,000

(1)Hospitality segment operating income does not include preopening costs of $1.3 million, $2.9 million and $0.3 million in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Hospitality segment operating income also does not include impairment charges of $35.4 million during 2017 or income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures of $124.4 million and $(1.9) million in 2018 and 2017, respectively. See the discussion of these items set forth below.
(2)Hospitality segment occupancy percentage was impacted in 2019 and 2018 due to the addition of 303 rooms associated with the 2018 Texan expansion and the related additional rooms available. Hospitality segment occupancy percentage was also impacted in 2019 due to the addition of Gaylord Rockies. Actual occupied rooms increased 19.9% on a consolidated basis and 3.6% on a same-store basis, which excludes Gaylord Rockies, for 2019, as compared to 2018.
(3)We calculate Hospitality segment RevPAR by dividing rooms revenue by room nights available to guests for the period. Hospitality segment RevPAR is not comparable to similarly titled measures such as revenues.
(4)We calculate Hospitality segment Total RevPAR by dividing the sum of room, food and beverage, and other ancillary services revenue (which equals Hospitality segment revenue) by room nights available to guests for the period. Hospitality segment Total RevPAR is not comparable to similarly titled measures such as revenues.
(5)Same-store Hospitality segment performance metrics do not include Gaylord Rockies, which opened in December 2018.

45

The increase in total Hospitality segment revenue in 2019, as compared to 2018, is primarily due to increases in revenue of $32.1 million, $19.6 million, $7.5 million and $7.1 million at Gaylord Texan, Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Palms and Gaylord National, respectively, as well as revenue from Gaylord Rockies of $226.6 million. See below for further discussion. Total Hospitality revenues in 2019 include $18.3 million in attrition and cancellation fee collections, a $6.5 million increase from 2018.

The percentage of group versus transient business based on rooms sold for our Hospitality segment for the years ended December 31 was approximately as follows:

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

 

Group

 

72

%  

71

%  

71

%

Transient

 

28

%  

29

%  

29

%

The type of group based on rooms sold for our Hospitality segment for the years ended December 31 was approximately as follows:

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

 

Corporate Groups

 

51

%  

53

%  

51

%

Associations

 

29

%  

32

%  

33

%

Other Groups

 

20

%  

15

%  

16

%

Rooms operating expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to the addition of Gaylord Rockies, as well as increased variable costs at Gaylord Texan, as described below. Food and beverage operating expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to the addition of Gaylord Rockies, as well as increased variable costs for Gaylord Texan and Gaylord Opryland, as described below.

Other hotel expenses for the following years ended December 31 included (in thousands):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

Administrative employment costs

$

147,302

 

25.6

%  

$

117,311

 

5.5

%  

$

111,207

Utilities

 

31,624

 

16.9

%  

 

27,060

 

(1.9)

%  

 

27,596

Property taxes

 

35,736

 

5.5

%  

 

33,872

 

1.9

%  

 

33,231

Other

 

195,221

 

21.0

%  

 

161,286

 

3.9

%  

 

155,249

Total other hotel expenses

$

409,883

 

20.7

%  

$

339,529

 

3.7

%  

$

327,283

Administrative employment costs include salaries and benefits for hotel administrative functions, including, among others, senior management, accounting, human resources, sales, conference services, engineering and security. Administrative employment costs increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increases related to Gaylord Rockies, as well as slight increases at each of our other Gaylord Hotels properties. Utility costs increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to utility costs for Gaylord Rockies, as well as an increase at Gaylord Opryland primarily attributable to SoundWaves. Property taxes increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to an increase at Gaylord National as a result of a 2018 refund from a prior period tax settlement. Note that property taxes did not increase significantly related to Gaylord Rockies as a result of the tax rebate incentive agreement discussed in Note 1 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements included herein. Other expenses, which include supplies, advertising, maintenance costs and consulting costs, increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of expenses at Gaylord Rockies, as well as various increases at each of our other Gaylord Hotels properties.

As discussed above, each of our management agreements with Marriott for our four owned Gaylord Hotels properties requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of gross revenues from the applicable property for each fiscal year or portion thereof. Additionally, an incentive fee is based on the profitability of our Gaylord Hotels properties calculated on a pooled basis. The Gaylord Rockies’ management agreement with Marriott requires Gaylord Rockies to pay a base management fee of 3% of gross revenues for each fiscal year or portion thereof, as well as an incentive management fee based on the profitability of the hotel. We incurred $30.9 million, $22.7 million and $21.4 million in total base management fees to Marriott related to our Hospitality segment during 2019, 2018 and 2017,

46

respectively. We also incurred $11.8 million, $11.3 million and $5.5 million related to incentive management fees for our Hospitality segment during 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Management fees are presented throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K net of the amortization of the deferred management rights proceeds discussed in Note 6, “Deferred Management Rights Proceeds,” to the consolidated financial statements included herein.

Hospitality segment depreciation and amortization expense increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to depreciation and amortization at Gaylord Rockies, which is significantly higher than our other Gaylord Hotels properties due to amortization related to intangible assets that were recognized as part of our increased ownership as of December 31, 2018, as well as higher fixed asset balances than the other hotels.

Property-Level Results. The following presents property-level financial results for our Gaylord Hotels properties for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 and for Gaylord Rockies for the year ended December 31, 2019:

Gaylord Opryland Results. The results of Gaylord Opryland for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

162,577

 

4.6

%  

$

155,501

 

7.6

%  

$

144,453

Food and beverage

 

157,933

 

1.6

%  

 

155,417

 

11.4

%  

 

139,478

Other hotel revenue

 

65,100

 

18.2

%  

 

55,081

 

2.3

%  

 

53,833

Total revenue

 

385,610

 

5.4

%  

 

365,999

 

8.4

%  

 

337,764

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

37,203

 

1.8

%  

 

36,547

 

9.5

%  

 

33,362

Food and beverage

 

84,351

 

3.6

%  

 

81,408

 

9.6

%  

 

74,305

Other hotel expenses

 

114,716

 

9.9

%  

 

104,405

 

1.0

%  

 

103,369

Management fees, net

 

12,024

 

0.1

%  

 

12,016

 

38.6

%  

 

8,667

Depreciation and amortization

 

34,794

 

0.4

%  

 

34,665

 

2.1

%  

 

33,966

Total operating expenses (1)

 

283,088

 

5.2

%  

 

269,041

 

6.1

%  

 

253,669

Performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

78.5

%  

1.3

pts

 

77.2

%  

2.1

pts

 

75.1

%

ADR

$

196.54

 

2.8

%  

$

191.17

 

4.8

%  

$

182.42

RevPAR

$

154.23

 

4.5

%  

$

147.52

 

7.6

%  

$

137.04

Total RevPAR

$

365.81

 

5.4

%  

$

347.21

 

8.4

%  

$

320.42

(1)Gaylord Opryland operating expenses do not include preopening costs of $0.1 million and $0.9 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. See the discussion of preopening costs below.

Rooms revenue and RevPAR increased at Gaylord Opryland during 2019, as compared to 2018, as a result of an increase in transient occupancy and an increase in ADR for both group and transient rates. Rooms revenue and RevPAR were negatively impacted in 2019 by a rooms renovation project, which resulted in approximately 31,500 room nights out of service during 2019. The rooms renovation project was completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. Rooms expenses increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increased variable costs associated with the increase in occupancy.

The increase in food and beverage revenue at Gaylord Opryland during 2019, as compared to 2018, was primarily due to increased food and beverage outlet revenue, including new food and beverage outlets associated with SoundWaves. Food and beverage expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increased employment costs and increased variable costs associated with the increase in revenue.

Other hotel revenue increased at Gaylord Opryland during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to revenues from SoundWaves, as well as an increase in attrition and cancellation fee collections. Other hotel expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to additional operating expense for SoundWaves.

47

Management fees, net and depreciation and amortization remained stable at Gaylord Opryland during 2019, as compared to 2018.

Gaylord Palms Results. The results of Gaylord Palms for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

78,392

 

1.9

%  

$

76,901

 

2.5

%  

$

75,001

Food and beverage

 

98,831

 

3.0

%  

 

95,955

 

1.9

%  

 

94,179

Other hotel revenue

 

31,075

 

11.4

%  

 

27,907

 

5.1

%  

 

26,555

Total revenue

 

208,298

 

3.8

%  

 

200,763

 

2.6

%  

 

195,735

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

16,662

 

(1.8)

%  

 

16,960

 

2.6

%  

 

16,526

Food and beverage

 

51,865

 

2.6

%  

 

50,538

 

(1.8)

%  

 

51,444

Other hotel expenses

 

73,837

 

3.4

%  

 

71,397

 

4.7

%  

 

68,197

Management fees, net

 

5,868

 

11.2

%  

 

5,275

 

15.4

%  

 

4,572

Depreciation and amortization

 

19,393

 

(0.4)

%  

 

19,465

 

2.3

%  

 

19,031

Total operating expenses (1)

 

167,625

 

2.4

%  

 

163,635

 

2.4

%  

 

159,770

Performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

77.4

%  

(0.1)

pts

 

77.5

%  

(0.8)

pts

 

78.3

%

ADR

$

196.06

 

2.1

%  

$

192.10

 

3.6

%  

$

185.44

RevPAR

$

151.68

 

1.9

%  

$

148.79

 

2.5

%  

$

145.12

Total RevPAR

$

403.02

 

3.8

%  

$

388.44

 

2.6

%  

$

378.71

(1)Gaylord Palms operating expenses do not include preopening costs of $0.6 million in 2019. See the discussion of preopening costs below.

Rooms revenue and RevPAR increased at Gaylord Palms during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in ADR for both group and transient rates. Rooms expenses decreased during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to a decrease in group commissions.

The increase in food and beverage revenue at Gaylord Palms during 2019, as compared to 2018, was primarily due to an increase in catering revenue. Food and beverage expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in variable expenses related to the increase in revenue.

Other hotel revenue at Gaylord Palms increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increased attrition and cancellation fee collections, as well as an increase in resort fees driven by an increase in the resort fee rate. Other hotel expenses increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in sales and marketing costs.

Management fees, net increased at Gaylord Palms during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in incentive management fees.

Depreciation and amortization remained stable during 2019, as compared to 2018.

48

Gaylord Texan Results. The results of Gaylord Texan for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

101,604

 

11.0

%  

$

91,558

 

13.5

%  

$

80,691

Food and beverage

 

148,154

 

15.1

%  

 

128,676

 

11.7

%  

 

115,158

Other hotel revenue

 

42,790

 

6.5

%  

 

40,184

 

17.4

%  

 

34,236

Total revenue

 

292,548

 

12.3

%  

 

260,418

 

13.2

%  

 

230,085

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

21,469

 

13.2

%  

 

18,966

 

8.4

%  

 

17,495

Food and beverage

 

72,008

 

13.0

%  

 

63,739

 

7.4

%  

 

59,334

Other hotel expenses

 

77,989

 

7.1

%  

 

72,835

 

8.2

%  

 

67,328

Management fees, net

 

9,189

 

19.4

%  

 

7,695

 

58.1

%  

 

4,867

Depreciation and amortization

 

26,362

 

8.4

%  

 

24,309

 

18.1

%  

 

20,575

Total operating expenses (1)

 

207,017

 

10.4

%  

 

187,544

 

10.6

%  

 

169,599

Performance metrics:

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

78.2

%  

3.3

pts

 

74.9

%  

(1.3)

pts

 

76.2

%

ADR

$

196.26

 

(0.3)

%  

$

196.78

 

2.4

%  

$

192.09

RevPAR

$

153.45

 

4.1

%  

$

147.35

 

0.7

%  

$

146.31

Total RevPAR

$

441.84

 

5.4

%  

$

419.12

 

0.5

%  

$

417.19

(1)Gaylord Texan operating expenses do not include preopening costs of $2.0 million and $0.1 million in 2018 and 2017, respectively related to an expansion of the guest rooms and convention space at Gaylord Texan, which opened in the second quarter of 2018.

Rooms revenue and RevPAR increased at Gaylord Texan during 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in occupancy for both group and transient business. The 2019 year was also positively impacted by additional room availability from the 2018 rooms expansion, which resulted in an increase in actual rooms sold of 11.3%, compared to 2018. Rooms expenses increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to an increase in variable costs associated with the increase in rooms sold and increased capacity.

Food and beverage revenue increased at Gaylord Texan during 2019, as compared to 2018, due to an increase in both catering and food and beverage outlet revenue. Food and beverage expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to an increase in variable expenses related to the increase in revenue.

Other revenue at Gaylord Texan increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of an increase in parking and resort fees associated with the increase in total room nights sold, partially offset by a decrease in attrition and cancellation fee collections. Other hotel expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to increased marketing, maintenance and credit card expenses.

Management fees, net increased at Gaylord Texan during 2019, as compared to 2018, due to an increase in both base and incentive management fees.

Depreciation and amortization increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of the 2018 rooms and meeting space expansion that resulted in increased depreciable asset levels.

49

Gaylord National Results. The results of Gaylord National for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

117,977

 

7.7

%  

$

109,511

 

(0.0)

%  

$

109,542

Food and beverage

 

130,210

 

(3.3)

%  

 

134,645

 

3.7

%  

 

129,812

Other hotel revenue

 

33,180

 

10.1

%  

 

30,143

 

4.1

%  

 

28,959

Total revenue

 

281,367

 

2.6

%  

 

274,299

 

2.2

%  

 

268,313

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

41,863

 

4.7

%  

 

39,986

 

0.8

%  

 

39,654

Food and beverage

 

83,101

 

(0.2)

%  

 

83,249

 

2.9

%  

 

80,895

Other hotel expenses

 

88,336

 

7.2

%  

 

82,405

 

1.7

%  

 

81,027

Management fees, net

 

4,736

 

3.1

%  

 

4,595

 

2.6

%  

 

4,478

Depreciation and amortization

 

27,776

 

0.8

%  

 

27,565

 

3.9

%  

 

26,524

Total operating expenses

 

245,812

 

3.4

%  

 

237,800

 

2.2

%  

 

232,578

Performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

75.1

%  

2.8

pts

 

72.3

%  

(1.2)

pts

 

73.5

%

ADR

$

215.74

 

3.8

%  

$

207.83

 

1.6

%  

$

204.50

RevPAR

$

161.94

 

7.7

%  

$

150.31

 

(0.0)

%  

$

150.36

Total RevPAR

$

386.21

 

2.6

%  

$

376.50

 

2.2

%  

$

368.29

(1)Gaylord National operating expenses for 2017 do not include impairment charges of $35.4 million, as further discussed in Note 3, “Notes Receivable,” to the accompanying consolidated financial statements. Gaylord National operating expenses for 2017 also do not include preopening costs of $0.2 million associated with a riverfront ballroom at Gaylord National, which opened in the second quarter of 2017.

Rooms revenue and RevPAR increased at Gaylord National during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of an increase in ADR for both group and transient business, as well as an increase in group occupancy. The 2018 year was negatively impacted by Hurricane Florence in September 2018. Rooms expenses increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increased group commissions.

The decrease in food and beverage revenue at Gaylord National during 2019, as compared to 2018, was primarily due to a decrease in banquet revenue due to a mix shift from corporate groups to other groups. Food and beverage expenses decreased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to decreased variable costs associated with the decrease in revenue.

Other revenue increased at Gaylord National during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to an increase in ancillary fees, such as parking and spa revenue. Other hotel expenses increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of an increase in credit card expense, as well as an increase in property tax expense due to 2018 including a refund from a previous property tax settlement.

Management fees, net and depreciation and amortization increased slightly at Gaylord National during 2019, as compared to 2018.

50

Gaylord Rockies Results. The results of Gaylord Rockies for the year ended December 31, 2019 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

2019

    

Revenues:

Rooms

$

75,475

Food and beverage

120,634

Other hotel revenue

30,467

Total revenue

226,576

Operating expenses:

Rooms

22,127

Food and beverage

67,565

Other hotel expenses

46,930

Management fees, net

8,987

Depreciation and amortization

90,038

Total operating expenses (1)

235,647

Performance metrics:

Occupancy

69.2

%

ADR

$

198.94

RevPAR

$

137.76

Total RevPAR

$

413.56

(1)Gaylord Rockies operating expenses do not include preopening costs of $0.6 million for 2019. See the discussion of preopening costs below.

Entertainment Segment

The following presents the financial results of our Entertainment segment for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands, except percentages):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

Revenues

$

183,120

 

24.4

%  

$

147,215

 

17.7

%  

$

125,059

Operating expenses

 

126,609

 

15.9

%  

 

109,249

 

29.3

%  

 

84,513

Depreciation and amortization

 

11,150

 

8.5

%  

 

10,280

 

45.3

%  

 

7,074

Operating income (1)

$

45,361

 

63.8

%  

$

27,686

 

(17.3)

%  

$

33,472

(1)Entertainment segment operating income does not include preopening costs of $1.9 million, $1.9 million and $1.6 million in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, primarily associated with our Ole Red locations. Entertainment segment operating income also does not include impairment charges of $23.8 million in 2018 related to Opry City Stage or income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures of $(1.1) million, $0.6 million and $(2.5) million in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The loss from unconsolidated joint ventures in 2019 relates to Circle, and the income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures in 2018 and 2017 relates to Opry City Stage.

Entertainment segment revenues increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to increased shows, attendance and retail revenue at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, as well as the opening of Ole Red Gatlinburg in March 2019. In addition, the 2019 year benefitted from the full year of operations of Ole Red Nashville, which opened in May 2018.

Entertainment segment operating expenses increased during 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily due to the operations of Ole Red Gatlinburg, as well as increased expenses at the Ryman Auditorium primarily due to the increase in variable expenses associated with the increase in revenue. In addition, the 2019 year includes the full year of operations of Ole Red Nashville. Further, the 2018 year includes expenses from operations of Opry City Stage, which we closed in 2018.

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Entertainment segment depreciation and amortization expense increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of Ole Red Gatlinburg and capital improvements at the Grand Ole Opry to improve the customer experience, each resulting in increased depreciable asset levels.

Corporate and Other Segment

The following presents the financial results of our Corporate and Other segment for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands, except percentages):

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

    

% Change

    

2017

Operating expenses

$

36,282

 

17.7

%  

$

30,833

 

(1.8)

%  

$

31,387

Depreciation and amortization

 

1,629

 

(10.3)

%  

 

1,817

 

(14.5)

%  

 

2,126

Operating loss

$

(37,911)

 

16.1

%  

$

(32,650)

 

(2.6)

%  

$

(33,513)

Corporate and Other operating expenses, which consist primarily of costs associated with senior management salaries and benefits, legal, human resources, accounting, pension and other administrative costs, increased in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to an increase in administrative and employment costs associated with supporting our growth initiatives within our Hospitality and Entertainment segments.

Operating Results – Preopening costs

We expense the costs associated with start-up activities and organization costs as incurred. Our preopening costs for 2019 include costs associated with Ole Red Gatlinburg, which opened in March 2019, Gaylord Rockies, which opened on a fully operational basis in first quarter 2019, and Gaylord Palms, the expansion of which is scheduled to be complete in summer 2021. Our preopening costs for 2018 include costs associated with an expansion of the guest rooms and convention space at Gaylord Texan, which opened in the second quarter of 2018, costs associated with Ole Red Nashville, which opened in May 2018, and costs at Gaylord Opryland associated with SoundWaves, the indoor portion of which opened in December 2018.

Operating Results – Impairment Charges

Impairment charges in 2018 primarily include costs associated with our previous investment in Opry City Stage. Subsequent to our purchase of the remaining 50% joint venture interest in the second quarter of 2018, we determined that current ongoing operations were not meeting our revenue expectations from the time of purchase, and we temporarily suspended operations at Opry City Stage to appropriately reposition the venue and its operations. An impairment assessment at that time warranted an impairment charge of $4.5 million. In December 2018, we determined that we would permanently close Opry City Stage and recorded an additional impairment charge of $18.0 million. In addition, during 2018, we incurred $1.2 million in impairment charges related to an entertainment concept that has been abandoned.

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Non-Operating Results Affecting Net Income

General

The following table summarizes the other factors which affected our net income for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands, except percentages):

    

2019

    

% Change 

    

2018

    

% Change 

    

2017

Interest expense

$

131,620

 

75.6

%  

$

74,961

 

13.5

%  

$

66,051

Interest income

 

11,769

 

12.4

%  

 

10,469

 

(11.4)

%  

 

11,818

Loss from extinguishment of debt

(494)

(100.0)

%

%

Income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures

 

(1,110)

 

(100.9)

%  

 

125,005

 

2,939.7

%  

 

(4,402)

Other gains and (losses), net

 

693

 

(57.6)

%  

 

1,633

 

584.6

%  

 

(337)

(Provision) benefit for income taxes

 

(18,475)

 

(57.3)

%  

 

(11,745)

 

(123.9)

%  

 

49,155

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased $56.7 million in 2019, as compared to 2018, due primarily to increased interest expense related to debt held by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, which we began consolidating for statement of operations purposes in 2019, as well as increased interest expense related to our revolving credit facility due to increased average borrowings and interest rate, increased interest expense related to our senior notes due to increased borrowings, and a decrease in capitalized interest in 2019. Our weighted average interest rate on our borrowings, excluding the write-off of deferred financing costs and capitalized interest, was 5.0% in 2019 as compared to 4.8% in 2018. Cash interest expense increased $45.0 million to $122.4 million in 2019, as compared to 2018, and noncash interest expense, which includes amortization and write-off of deferred financing costs, the effects of interest rate swaps, and is offset by capitalized interest, increased $11.6 million to $9.2 million in 2019, as compared to 2018.

Interest Income

Interest income for 2019 and 2018 primarily includes amounts earned on the bonds that we received in April 2008 in connection with the development of Gaylord National, which we hold as notes receivable.

Loss on Extinguishment of Debt

In September 2019, we commenced a cash tender offer for any and all outstanding $350 million 5% senior notes due 2021 at a redemption price of $1,002.50 per $1,000 principal amount. Pursuant to the tender offer, $197.5 million aggregate principal amount of these notes were validly tendered. As a result of our purchase of these tendered notes, we recognized a loss on extinguishment of debt of $0.5 million in 2019.

Income (Loss) from Unconsolidated Joint Ventures

The loss from unconsolidated joint ventures for 2019 represents our equity method share of the preopening losses associated with Circle. Income from unconsolidated joint ventures in 2018 primarily includes a $131.4 million gain related to the re-measurement of our pre-existing equity method investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture prior to consolidation, as well as our equity method share of the operating losses incurred by Gaylord Rockies, primarily pre-opening expenses. In addition, 2018 includes a gain of $2.8 million recognized from the re-measurement of the pre-existing Opry City Stage equity method investment, as well as our equity method share of the operating losses incurred by Opry City Stage, prior to consolidation. As discussed above, we permanently closed Opry City Stage in December 2018.

Other Gains and (Losses)

Other gains and (losses) for 2019 and 2018 includes gains of $2.8 million and $2.7 million, respectively, from a fund associated with the Gaylord National bonds to reimburse us for certain marketing and maintenance expenses. These

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gains were partially offset by pension settlement losses associated with our defined benefit pension plan of $1.9 million and $1.6 million for 2019 and 2018, respectively.

(Provision) Benefit for Income Taxes

As a REIT, we generally will not be subject to federal corporate income taxes on ordinary taxable income and capital gains income from real estate investments that we distribute to our stockholders. We will continue to be required to pay federal and state corporate income taxes on earnings of our TRSs.

During 2019 and 2018, we recorded an income tax provision of $18.5 million and $11.7 million, respectively. These results differ from the statutory rate primarily due to the REIT dividends paid deduction for both periods.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Cash Flows from Operating Activities. Cash flow from operating activities is the principal source of cash used to fund our operating expenses, interest payments on debt, maintenance capital expenditures, and dividends to stockholders. During 2019, our net cash flows provided by our operating activities were $354.7 million, reflecting primarily our income before depreciation expense, amortization expense and other non-cash charges of approximately $376.2 million, partially offset by unfavorable changes in working capital of approximately $21.6 million. The unfavorable changes in working capital primarily resulted from a decrease in accounts payable and accrued liabilities primarily attributable to the timing of payments.

During 2018, our net cash flows provided by our operating activities were $321.9 million, reflecting primarily our income before depreciation expense, amortization expense, impairment charges, income from unconsolidated joint ventures and other non-cash charges of approximately $309.8 million and favorable changes in working capital of approximately $12.2 million. The favorable changes in working capital primarily resulted from an increase in accounts payable and accrued liabilities due to the timing of payments, partially offset by an increase in accounts receivable due to the timing of collections.

Cash Flows from Investing Activities. During 2019, our primary use of funds for investing activities was the purchase of property and equipment of $152.5 million and consisted primarily of the expansion of Gaylord Palms, a rooms renovation at Gaylord Opryland, construction of Ole Red Orlando, construction of SoundWaves, and ongoing maintenance for our existing properties. We also paid a $15.0 million earnest money deposit for the potential acquisition of Block 21. These uses of cash were partially offset by the receipt of $13.2 million of principal received from the governmental bonds held by Gaylord National and the redemption of the governmental bonds previously held by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, as further described in Note 3, “Notes Receivable,” to the consolidated financial statements included herein.

During 2018, our primary uses of funds for investing activities were the purchase of an additional interest in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture of $223.6 million, net of cash acquired, and purchases of property and equipment of $188.2 million. Purchase of property and equipment consisted primarily of construction of SoundWaves, the expansion of the guest rooms and convention space at Gaylord Texan, an expansion of the retail, ticketing and parking areas at the Grand Ole Opry House, construction of Ole Red Nashville, and ongoing maintenance for our existing properties.

Cash Flows from Financing Activities. Our cash flows from financing activities reflect primarily the incurrence of and the repayment of long-term debt and the payment of dividends. During 2019, our net cash flows provided by financing activities were $79.7 million, primarily reflecting the net issuance of $352.5 million in senior notes, increased borrowings under the Gaylord Rockies loans of $303.4 million, and the issuance of $282.9 million in our common stock, net of discounts, commissions and other offering expenses. These sources of cash were partially offset by the net repayment of $530.0 million under our credit facility, the payment of $183.3 million in cash dividends, the distribution by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture of $113.9 million to the noncontrolling interest partners in that joint venture, and the payment of $27.7 million in deferred financing costs.

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During 2018, our net cash flows provided by financing activities were approximately $171.8 million, primarily reflecting $354.0 million in net borrowings under our revolving credit facility, partially offset by the payment of $172.4 million in cash dividends.

Liquidity

At December 31, 2019, we had $362.4 million in unrestricted cash and $699.1 million available for borrowing under our revolving credit facility. During 2019, we net repaid $177.5 million in borrowings under our credit facility and senior notes, paid cash dividends of $183.3 million, incurred capital expenditures of $152.5 million, increased the borrowings under the Gaylord Rockies loans by $303.4 million, and issued, net of discounts, commissions and other offering expenses, $282.9 million in our common stock. In addition, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture distributed $113.9 million to the noncontrolling interest partners in that joint venture. These net outflows were offset by cash flows from operating activities discussed above, resulting in the increase in our cash balance from 2018 to 2019.

We currently plan to declare dividends of $3.80 per share in 2020, payable in equal quarterly amounts, subject to future determinations as to the timing and amount by our board of directors. We anticipate investing in our operations during 2020 by spending between approximately $260 million and $290 million in capital expenditures, which primarily includes ongoing maintenance capital of our current facilities, an expansion of the guest rooms and convention space at Gaylord Palms, an expansion of the guest rooms at Gaylord Rockies, and a rooms renovation at Gaylord National. In addition, we anticipate spending $275 million at closing, including the assumption of existing mortgage debt and the earnest money deposit, as part of the Block 21 acquisition.

We believe that our cash on hand and cash from operations will be adequate to fund our general short-term commitments, as well as: (i) normal operating expenses, (ii) interest expense on long-term debt obligations, (iii) financing lease and operating lease obligations, and (iv) declared dividends. If our existing cash and cash from operations were inadequate to fund such commitments, as well as capital expenditures, we could draw on our credit facility, subject to the satisfaction of covenants in the credit facility.

Our outstanding principal debt agreements are described below. Based on current projections for compliance under our financial covenants contained in these agreements, we do not foresee a maturity issue prior to their scheduled maturity date.

At December 31, 2019, we were in compliance with all covenants related to our outstanding debt.

Principal Debt Agreements

Credit Facility. On October 31, 2019, we entered into a Sixth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) among the Company, as a guarantor, the Operating Partnership, as borrower, certain other subsidiaries of the Company party thereto, as guarantors, certain subsidiaries of the Company party thereto, as pledgors, the lenders party thereto and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as administrative agent, which amended and restated the Company’s existing credit facility. As amended, our credit facility consists of a $700.0 million senior secured revolving credit facility (the “Revolver”), a $300.0 million senior secured term loan A (the “Term Loan A”), and a $500.0 million senior secured term loan B (the “Term Loan B”), each as discussed below. The Credit Agreement also increased the accordion feature of the previous credit agreement from $500 million to $600 million and includes a $50.0 million letter of credit sublimit.

Each of the Revolver, Term Loan A and Term Loan B is guaranteed by us, each of our four wholly-owned subsidiaries that own the four owned Gaylord Hotels properties, and certain of our other subsidiaries. Each is secured by (i) a first mortgage lien on the real property of each of our four owned Gaylord Hotels properties, (ii) pledges of equity interests in our subsidiaries that own the Gaylord Hotels properties, (iii) our personal property and the personal property of the Operating Partnership and our guarantor subsidiaries and (iv) all proceeds and products from our Gaylord Hotels properties. Advances are subject to a 55% borrowing base, based on the appraisal value of the Gaylord Hotels properties (reduced to 50% in the event one of the Gaylord Hotel properties is sold). Assets of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture are not subject to the liens of our credit facility.

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In addition, each of the Revolver, Term Loan A and Term Loan B contains certain covenants which, among other things, limit the incurrence of additional indebtedness, investments, dividends, transactions with affiliates, asset sales, acquisitions, mergers and consolidations, liens and encumbrances and other matters customarily restricted in such agreements. The material financial covenants, ratios or tests contained in the Credit Agreement are as follows:

We must maintain a consolidated funded indebtedness to total asset value ratio as of the end of each calendar quarter of not more than .65 to 1.0.
We must maintain a consolidated fixed charge coverage ratio, as defined in the Credit Agreement, of not less than 1.50 to 1.00.
We must maintain an implied debt service coverage ratio (the ratio of adjusted net operating income to monthly principal and interest that would be required if the outstanding balance were amortized over 25 years at an assumed fixed rate) of not less than 1.60 to 1.00.

If an event of default shall occur and be continuing under the Credit Agreement, the commitments under the Credit Agreement may be terminated and the principal amount outstanding under the Credit Agreement, together with all accrued unpaid interest and other amounts owing in respect thereof, may be declared immediately due and payable.

Revolving Credit Facility. Pursuant to the Credit Agreement, we extended the maturity of the Revolver to March 31, 2024, with two additional six-month extension options, at our election. Borrowings under the Revolver bear interest at an annual rate equal to, at our option, either (i) LIBOR plus the applicable margin ranging from 1.40% to 1.95%, dependent upon our funded debt to total asset value ratio (as defined in the Credit Agreement) or (ii) a base rate as set in the Credit Agreement. At December 31, 2019, the interest rate on the Revolver was LIBOR plus 1.55%. Principal is payable in full at maturity.

At December 31, 2019, no borrowings were outstanding under the Revolver, and the lending banks had issued $0.9 million of letters of credit under the Credit Agreement, which left $699.1 million of availability under the Revolver (subject to the satisfaction of debt incurrence tests under the indentures governing our $400 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2023 (the “$400 Million 5% Senior Notes”) and our $700 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2027 (the “$700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes”), which we met at December 31, 2019).

Term Loan A Facility. Pursuant to the Credit Agreement, the Term Loan A was increased from $200 million to $300 million and the maturity date was extended to March 31, 2025. Borrowings bear interest at an annual rate equal to, at our option, either (i) LIBOR plus the applicable margin ranging from 1.35% to 1.90%, dependent upon our funded debt to total asset value ratio (as defined in the Credit Agreement) or (ii) a base rate as set in the Credit Agreement. At December 31, 2019, the interest rate on the Term Loan A was LIBOR plus 1.50%. Amounts borrowed under the Term Loan A that are repaid or prepaid may not be reborrowed. At closing in 2017, we drew down on the Term Loan A in full and proceeds were used to pay down a portion of the Revolver. Net proceeds from the increase in the Term Loan A pursuant to the Credit Agreement were approximately $94 million and, along with cash on hand, were used to repay $100 million of the outstanding indebtedness under the Term Loan B.

Term Loan B Facility. The Term Loan B has a maturity date of May 11, 2024. The applicable interest rate margins on borrowings under the Term Loan B are, at our option, either (i) LIBOR plus 2.00% or (ii) a base rate as set in the Credit Agreement. At December 31, 2019, the interest rate on the Term Loan B was LIBOR plus 2.00%. In October 2019, we entered into four interest rate swaps with a total notional amount of $350.0 million to fix the LIBOR portion of the interest rate, at rates between 1.2235% and 1.2315%, through May 11, 2023. We have designated these interest rate swaps as effective cash flow hedges. The Term Loan B amortizes in equal quarterly installments in aggregate annual amounts equal to 1.0% of the original principal amount of $500.0 million, with the balance due at maturity. In addition, if for any fiscal year there is Excess Cash Flow (as defined in the Credit Agreement), an additional principal amount is required. Amounts borrowed under the Term Loan B that are repaid or prepaid may not be reborrowed. At closing in 2017, we drew down on the Term Loan B in full. The Credit Agreement did not change the maturity date or applicable

56

margin on interest rates for the Term Loan B. At December 31, 2019, $386.3 million in borrowings were outstanding under the Term Loan B.

$700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes. In September 2019, the Operating Partnership and Finco completed the private placement of $500.0 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2027, which are guaranteed by the Company and its subsidiaries that guarantee the Credit Agreement. The $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes and guarantees were issued pursuant to an indenture by and among the issuing subsidiaries and the guarantors and U.S. Bank National Association as trustee. The $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes have a maturity date of October 15, 2027 and bear interest at 4.75% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears on April 15 and October 15 of each year, beginning on April 15, 2020. The $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes are general unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the issuing subsidiaries and rank equal in right of payment with such subsidiaries’ existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness, including the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes, and senior in right of payment to future subordinated indebtedness, if any. The $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes are effectively subordinated to the issuing subsidiaries’ secured indebtedness to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. The guarantees rank equally in right of payment with the applicable guarantor’s existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness and senior in right of payment to any future subordinated indebtedness of such guarantor. The $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness of any guarantor to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness and structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other obligations of the Operating Partnership’s subsidiaries that do not guarantee the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes.

The net proceeds from the issuance of the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes totaled approximately $493 million, after deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts, commissions and offering expenses. We used substantially all of these proceeds to tender and redeem our previous $350 Million 5% Senior Notes, as discussed below, and to repay a portion of the amounts outstanding under the Revolver.

In October 2019, we completed a tack-on private placement of $200.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.75% senior notes due 2027 (the “additional 2027 notes”) at an issue price of 101.250% of their aggregate principal amount plus accrued interest from the September 19, 2019 issue date for the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes. The additional 2027 notes and the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes constitute a single class of securities (collectively, the “$700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes”). All other terms and conditions of the additional 2027 notes are identical to the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes.

The net proceeds of the additional 2027 notes totaled approximately $199 million, after deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts, commissions and offering expenses. We used substantially all of these proceeds to repay a portion of the amounts outstanding under the Revolver.

The $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes are redeemable before October 15, 2022, in whole or in part, at 100.00%, plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but not including, the redemption date, plus a make-whole premium. The $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes will be redeemable, in whole or in part, at any time on or after October 15, 2022 at a redemption price expressed as a percentage of the principal amount thereof, which percentage is 103.563%, 102.375%, 101.188%, and 100.00% beginning on October 15 of 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025, respectively, plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but not including, the redemption date.

In connection with the issuance of the $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes, we entered into a registration rights agreement that requires us to complete a registered offer to exchange the $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes for registered notes with substantially identical terms as the $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes on or before September 18, 2020.

$400 Million 5% Senior Notes. In 2015, the Operating Partnership and Finco completed the private placement of $400.0 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2023. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes are general unsecured senior obligations of the Company’s issuing subsidiaries and are guaranteed by the Company and its subsidiaries that guarantee the Credit Agreement. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes and guarantees were issued pursuant to an indenture by and among the issuing subsidiaries and the guarantors and U.S. Bank National Association as trustee. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes have a maturity date of April 15, 2023 and bear interest at 5% per annum, payable semi-annually in cash in arrears on April 15 and October 15 of each year. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes are general unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the issuing subsidiaries and rank equal in right of

57

payment with such subsidiaries’ existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness, including the $700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes, and senior in right of payment to future subordinated indebtedness, if any. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes are effectively subordinated to the issuing subsidiaries’ secured indebtedness to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. The guarantees rank equally in right of payment with the applicable guarantor’s existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness and senior in right of payment to any future subordinated indebtedness of such guarantor. The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness of any guarantor to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness and structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other obligations of the Operating Partnership’s subsidiaries that do not guarantee the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes.

The $400 Million 5% Senior Notes are redeemable, in whole or in part, at a redemption price expressed as a percentage of the principal amount thereof, which percentage is 102.50%, 101.25%, and 100.00% beginning on April 15 of 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively, plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but not including, the redemption date.

In connection with the issuance of the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes, we completed a registered offer to exchange the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes for registered notes with substantially identical terms as the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes.

$350 Million 5% Senior Notes. In 2013, the Operating Partnership and Finco completed the private placement of $350.0 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2021, which were guaranteed by the Company and its subsidiaries that guarantee the Credit Agreement.

In September 2019, we commenced a cash tender offer for any and all outstanding $350 Million 5% Senior Notes at a redemption price of $1,002.50 per $1,000 principal amount. Pursuant to the tender offer, $197.5 million aggregate principal amount of the $350 Million 5% Senior Notes were validly tendered. As a result of this tender offer, we recognized a loss on extinguishment of debt of $0.5 million in 2019. We used a portion of the proceeds from the issuance of the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes to fund the tender offer.

In accordance with the indenture governing the $350 Million 5% Senior Notes, subsequent to expiration of the tender offer, in September 2019, we gave irrevocable notice of the redemption of all remaining $350 Million 5% Senior Notes not tendered in the tender offer and irrevocably deposited with the trustee for the $350 Million 5% Senior Notes an amount sufficient to pay the redemption price of the $350 Million 5% Senior Notes called for redemption at that date, including interest. We used a portion of the proceeds from the issuance of the $500 Million 4.75% Senior Notes to fund the redemption.

$800 Million Term Loan (Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture). On July 2, 2019, Aurora Convention Center Hotel, LLC and Aurora Convention Center Hotel Lessee, LLC, subsidiaries of the entities comprising the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, entered into a Second Amended and Restated Loan Agreement (the “Gaylord Rockies Loan”) with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as administrative agent, which refinanced the Gaylord Rockies joint venture’s existing $500 million construction loan and $39 million mezzanine loan, which were scheduled to mature in December 2019. The Gaylord Rockies Loan consists of an $800.0 million secured term loan facility and also includes the option for an additional $80.0 million of borrowing capacity should the Gaylord Rockies joint venture pursue a future expansion of Gaylord Rockies, which it announced in February 2020 that it intends to pursue. The Gaylord Rockies Loan matures July 2, 2023 with three, one-year extension options, subject to certain requirements in the Gaylord Rockies Loan, and bears interest at LIBOR plus 2.50%. Simultaneous with closing, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture entered into an interest rate swap to fix the LIBOR portion of the interest rate at 1.65% for the first three years of the loan. We have designated this interest rate swap as an effective cash flow hedge.

The proceeds from the Gaylord Rockies Loan were used by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture to repay the previously outstanding $500 million construction loan and $39 million mezzanine loan, and, after payment of expenses, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture distributed the excess proceeds to the owners of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture pro rata in proportion to their interests therein. We received a distribution of approximately $153 million, which was used to repay a portion of the amounts outstanding under the Revolver.

58

The Gaylord Rockies Loan is secured by a deed of trust lien on the Gaylord Rockies real estate and related assets. We and an affiliate of RIDA each entered into limited repayment and carry guaranties that, in the aggregate, guarantee repayment of 10% of the principal debt, together with interest and operating expenses, which are to be released once the Gaylord Rockies joint venture achieves a certain debt service coverage threshold as defined in the Gaylord Rockies Loan. Generally, the Gaylord Rockies Loan is non-recourse to the Company, subject to (i) those limited guaranties, (ii) a completion guaranty in the event the expansion is pursued, and (iii) customary non-recourse carve-outs.

$500 Million Construction Loan (Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture)

In 2015, Aurora Convention Hotel, LLC (“Hotel Owner”) and Aurora Convention Center Hotel Lessee, LLC (collectively, “Borrower”), subsidiaries of the entities comprising the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, entered into a Building Loan Agreement (the “Construction Loan”) with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as administrative agent, for a senior loan with available borrowings of up to $500.0 million. The Construction Loan bore interest at an annual rate equal to LIBOR plus 3.25% and had an original maturity date of December 18, 2019. The Construction Loan was secured by substantially all of the assets of Hotel Owner and an assignment of the hotel’s management agreement. As discussed above, the Construction Loan was paid off in July 2019 with proceeds from the Gaylord Rockies Loan.

$39 Million Mezzanine Loan (Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture)

In 2015, Aurora Convention Hotel Mezz, LLC (“Mezz”) and Aurora Convention Center Hotel Lessee Midco Member, LLC (collectively, “Mezz Borrower”), subsidiaries of the entities comprising the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, entered into a Mezzanine Loan Agreement (the “Mezzanine Loan”) with Marriott International Capital Corporation, for a mezzanine loan with available borrowings, as amended, of up to $39.0 million. The Mezzanine Loan bore interest at an annual rate of LIBOR plus 7.00% and had an original maturity date of December 18, 2019. The Mezzanine Loan was secured by Mezz Borrower’s interests in the joint venture. As discussed above, the Mezzanine Loan was paid off in July 2019 with proceeds from the Gaylord Rockies Loan.

Additional Debt Limitations. Pursuant to the terms of the four owned Gaylord Hotels management agreements and pooling agreement with Marriott, we are subject to certain debt limitations described below.

The management agreements provide for the following limitations on indebtedness encumbering a hotel:

The aggregate principal balance of all mortgage and mezzanine debt encumbering the hotel shall be no greater than 75% of the fair market value of the hotel; and
The ratio of (a) aggregate Operating Profit (as defined in the management agreement) in the 12 months prior to the closing on the mortgage or mezzanine debt to (b) annual debt service for the hotel shall equal or exceed 1.2:1; but is subject to the pooling agreement described below.

The pooled limitations on Secured Debt (as defined in the pooling agreement) are as follows:

The aggregate principal balance of all mortgage and mezzanine debt on Pooled Hotels (as defined in the pooling agreement), shall be no more than 75% of the fair market value of Pooled Hotels.
The ratio of (a) aggregate Operating Profit (as defined in the pooling agreement) of Pooled Hotels in the 12 months prior to closing on any mortgage or mezzanine debt, to (b) annual debt service for the Pooled Hotels, shall equal or exceed 1.2:1.

Gaylord Rockies is not a Pooled Hotel for this purpose.

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We enter into commitments under letters of credit, primarily for the purpose of securing our deductible obligations with our insurers, and lending banks under our credit facility had issued $0.9 million of letters of credit at December 31, 2019. Except as set forth in this paragraph, we do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements that have or are reasonable likely to have a current or future effect on our financial condition, changes in financial condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.

Commitments and Contractual Obligations

The following table summarizes our significant contractual obligations at December 31, 2019, including long-term debt and operating and capital lease commitments (amounts in thousands):

Payment due by Period

    

Total amounts

    

Less than

    

    

    

More than

Contractual obligations

committed

1 year

1-3 years

3-5 years

5 years

Long-term debt (1) (2)

$

2,586,250

$

5,000

$

10,000

$

1,571,250

$

1,000,000

Finance leases

 

1,606

 

260

494

245

 

607

Operating leases (3)

 

604,387

 

6,252

 

12,094

11,797

 

574,244

Construction commitments (4)

 

53,505

 

53,505

 

 

 

Other

13,032

1,109

2,218

2,218

7,487

Total contractual obligations

$

3,258,780

$

66,126

$

24,806

$

1,585,510

$

1,582,338

(1)Long-term debt commitments do not include approximately $543.0 million in interest payments projected to be due in future years (less than 1 year – $108.8 million; 1-3 years – $217.3 million; 3-5 years – $121.6 million; more than 5 years – $95.3 million) based on the stated interest rates on our fixed-rate debt and the rates in effect at December 31, 2019 for our variable-rate debt after considering interest rate swaps, as applicable. Variable rates, as well as outstanding principal balances, could change in future periods. See “Principal Debt Agreements” above for a discussion of our outstanding long-term debt. See “Supplemental Cash Flow Information” in Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included herein for a discussion of the interest we paid during 2019, 2018 and 2017.
(2)Debt commitments due in 3-5 years includes $800.0 million of the Gaylord Rockies Loan for the Gaylord Rockies joint venture.
(3)Total operating lease commitments of $604.4 million include the 75-year operating lease agreement we entered into during 1999 for 65.3 acres of land located in Osceola County, Florida where Gaylord Palms is located, which we may extend until January 2101.
(4)With respect to our properties that are operated under management agreements with Marriott, we are obligated to maintain an FF&E reserve account for future planned and emergency-related capital expenditures at these properties. The amount funded into each of these reserve accounts is determined pursuant to the management agreements and is generally 5.0% of the respective properties’ total annual revenue. At December 31, 2019, $53.5 million was held in FF&E reserve accounts for future capital expenditures at our properties. According to the terms of each management agreement with Marriott, the reserve funds are to be held by the properties in a restricted cash account. Although it is not required that such funds be expended in a given year, each management agreement provides any excess funds will carry over for use in future years.

The expected cash flows under our defined benefit pension plan, our non-qualified retirement plan, our non-qualified contributory deferred compensation plan and our defined benefit postretirement health care and life insurance plan are estimated based upon the best information currently available, but are not driven by contractual terms. Therefore, these obligations have been excluded from the contractual obligations table above. During 2020, we expect to contribute approximately $1.7 million, $1.0 million and $0.3 million, respectively, to our defined benefit pension plan, our non-

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qualified retirement plan and our defined benefit postretirement health care and life insurance plan. See Note 9 and Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements included herein for further discussion related to these obligations.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” discusses our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Accounting estimates are an integral part of the preparation of the consolidated financial statements and the financial reporting process and are based upon current judgments. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period. Certain accounting estimates are particularly sensitive because of their complexity and the possibility that future events affecting them may differ materially from our current judgments and estimates.

This listing of critical accounting policies is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of our accounting policies. In many cases, the accounting treatment of a particular transaction is specifically dictated by generally accepted accounting principles, with no need for management’s judgment regarding accounting policy. We believe that of our significant accounting policies, which are discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included herein, the following may involve a higher degree of judgment and complexity.

Revenue recognition. Revenues from occupied hotel rooms are recognized over time as the daily hotel stay is provided to hotel groups and guests. Revenues from concessions, food and beverage sales, and group meeting services are recognized over the period or at the time those goods or services are delivered to the hotel group or guest. Revenues from ancillary services at our hotels, such as spa, parking, and transportation services, are generally recognized at the time the goods or services are provided. Cancellation fees and attrition fees, which are charged to groups when they do not fulfill the minimum number of room nights or minimum food and beverage spending requirements originally contracted for, are generally recognized as revenue in the period we determine it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of revenue recognized will not occur, which is typically the period these fees are collected. We generally recognize revenues from the Entertainment segment at the point in time that services are provided or goods are delivered or shipped to the customer, as applicable.

Impairment of long-lived and other assets. In accounting for our long-lived and other assets (including our property and equipment, notes receivable associated with the development of Gaylord National and intangible assets acquired as part of a business combination), we assess our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the assets or asset group may not be recoverable.

Recoverability of property and equipment and definite-lived intangible assets that will continue to be used is measured by comparing the carrying amount of the asset or asset group to the related total future undiscounted net cash flows. If an asset or asset group’s carrying value is not recoverable through those cash flows, the asset group is considered to be impaired. The impairment is measured by the difference between the assets’ carrying amount and their fair value, which is estimated using discounted cash flow analyses that utilize comprehensive cash flow projections, as well as observable market data to the extent available.

Recoverability of the notes receivable associated with Gaylord National is measured by comparing the carrying amount of the notes to the fair value of the notes. If the carrying value is greater than the fair value, we then assess if the decline in fair value is other-than-temporary, because of our intent and ability to hold the notes receivable to maturity. If the decline in fair value is deemed to be other-than-temporary, which is based on whether we expect to receive debt service payments in excess of the carrying value under the notes, then the notes are impaired. Subsequent to the recognition of an other-than-temporary impairment, we account for the notes receivable as if it had been purchased on the measurement date of the other-than-temporary impairment at an amortized cost basis equal to the previous amortized cost basis less the other-than-temporary impairment previously recognized in earnings. The difference between the new amortized cost basis and the cash flows expected to be collected is accreted into interest income.

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Stock-based compensation. For awards of restricted stock and restricted stock units, we measure compensation expense based on the fair value of the awards on the date of grant. The fair value of time-based awards is determined based on the closing trading price of our common shares on the measurement date, which is generally the date of grant. The fair value of performance-based awards based on a market condition is determined using a Monte Carlo simulation. A Monte Carlo simulation requires the use of a number of assumptions, including historical volatility and correlation of the price of our common shares and the price of the common shares of a peer group, a risk-free rate of return, and an expected term. For each award, compensation expense is recognized on a straight-line basis over the vesting period. For both time-based awards and performance-based awards, once the total amount of compensation expense is determined on the date of the grant, no adjustments are made to the amount recognized each period, unless there is a change to a non-market condition assumption. No compensation expense is recognized for awards for which employees do not render the requisite service.

Derivative financial instruments. We have entered into and may in the future enter into additional interest rate swap agreements to hedge against interest rate fluctuations. Neither the Company nor the Gaylord Rockies joint venture use derivatives for trading or speculative purposes and currently do not hold any derivatives that are not designated as hedges.

For derivatives designated as and that qualify as cash flow hedges of interest rate risk, the gain or loss on the derivative resulting from recording each instrument at estimated fair value is recorded in accumulated other comprehensive loss and subsequently reclassified to interest expense in the same period during which the hedged transaction affects earnings. These amounts reported in accumulated other comprehensive loss will be reclassified to interest expense as interest payments are made on the related variable-rate debt.

We or the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, as applicable, determine the fair values of our interest rate swap contracts based on a widely accepted valuation methodology of netting the discounted future fixed cash flows and the discounted expected variable cash flow, using interest rates derived from observable market interest rate curves and volatilities, with appropriate adjustments for any significant impact of non-performance risk of the parties to the swap contracts. We believe it is unlikely that materially different estimates for the fair value of financial derivative instruments would be made or reported based on other reasonable assumptions or conditions suggested by actual historical experience and other data available at the time the estimates were made.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation expense is based on the estimated useful life of our fixed assets. Amortization expense for leasehold improvements is based on the shorter of the lease term or the estimated useful life of the related assets, and amortization expense for intangibles acquired as part of a business combination is based on the specific circumstances of each intangible asset. The lives of the assets are based on a number of assumptions, including cost and timing of capital expenditures to maintain and refurbish the assets, as well as specific market and economic conditions. While management believes its estimates are reasonable, a change in the estimated lives could affect our depreciation expense in future periods.

Income taxes. As a REIT, generally we will not be subject to federal corporate income taxes on ordinary taxable income and capital gains income from real estate investments that we distribute to our stockholders. We will continue to be required to pay federal and state corporate income taxes on earnings of our TRSs.

Our deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases, using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled.

We must assess the likelihood that we will be able to recover our deferred tax assets. If recovery is not likely, the provision for taxes is increased by recording a reserve, in the form of a valuation allowance, against the estimated deferred tax assets that will not ultimately be recoverable.

In addition, we must evaluate uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations in the calculation of tax liabilities. We provide for uncertain tax positions and the related interest and penalties based upon management’s assessment of whether a tax benefit is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by tax authorities. We make this assessment based on only the technical merits of the tax position. The technical merits of a tax position derive

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from both statutory and judicial authority (legislation and statutes, legislative intent, regulations, rulings, and case law) and their applicability to the facts and circumstances of the tax position. If a tax position does not meet the more likely than not recognition threshold, the benefit of that position is not recognized in the financial statements and a liability for unrecognized tax benefits is established. A tax position that meets the more likely than not recognition threshold is measured to determine the amount of benefit to recognize in the financial statements. The tax benefit recognized is measured as the largest amount of benefit that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon ultimate resolution with a taxing authority. To the extent that we prevail in matters for which a liability for an unrecognized tax benefit is established or are required to pay amounts in excess of the liability established, our effective tax rate in a given financial statement period may be affected. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, we had no accruals for unrecognized tax benefits. We recognize interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions, if any, in income tax expense. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, we have accrued no interest or penalties related to uncertain tax positions.

Pension and postretirement benefits other than pension plans. The costs and obligations of our pension and postretirement benefits other than pension plans recognized in our consolidated financial statements are determined from actuarial valuations, which are dependent on significant assumptions, judgments, and estimates. These assumptions, judgments, and estimates, which include discount rates at which the liabilities could be settled at the measurement date, expected return on plan assets and mortality rates, are evaluated at each annual measurement date. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, actual results that differ from these assumptions, judgments, and estimates are accumulated and amortized over future periods and, therefore, affect expense recognized and obligations recorded in future periods.

The discount rate utilized for determining future benefit obligations is based on the market rate of a broad-based index of high-quality bonds receiving an AA- or better rating from a recognized rating agency on our annual measurement date that is matched to the future expected cash flows of the benefit plans by annual periods. The resulting discount rate decreased from 3.95% for the pension plan and 3.83% for the postretirement benefits other than pension plans at December 31, 2018 to 2.85% and 2.70%, respectively, at December 31, 2019.

We determine the overall expected long-term return on plan assets based on our estimate of the return that plan assets will provide over the period that benefits are expected to be paid out. In preparing this estimate, we assess the rates of return on each allocation of plan assets and advice by our third-party actuary and investment consultants. The expected return on plan assets is a long-term assumption that is determined at the beginning of each year and generally does not significantly change annually. While historical returns are considered, the rate of return assumption is primarily based on projections of expected returns, using economic data and financial models to estimate the probability of returns. The probability distribution of annualized returns for the portfolio using current asset allocations is used to determine the expected range of returns for a ten-to-twenty-year horizon. While management believes that the assumptions used are appropriate, differences in actual experience or changes in assumptions may affect our pension expense. The expected return on plan assets assumption used for determining net periodic pension expense for 2019 and 2018 was 6.5%. Actual return on plan assets for 2019 and 2018 was 22.1% and (6.0)%, respectively. Our historical actual return averaged 8.7% for the ten-year period ended December 31, 2019. In the future, we may make additional discretionary contributions to the plan or we could be required to make mandatory cash funding payments.

The mortality rate assumption used for determining future benefit obligations as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 was based on the Pri-2012 Total Dataset Mortality Table and the RP 2014 Adjusted to 2006 Total Dataset Mortality Table, respectively. In estimating the health care cost trend rate, we consider our actual health care cost experience, industry trends, and advice from our third-party actuary.

While management believes that the assumptions used are appropriate, differences in actual experience or changes in assumptions may affect our pension and postretirement benefit obligations and expense. For example, holding all other assumptions constant, a 1% increase or decrease in the assumed discount rate related to the retirement plan would increase or decrease 2019 net periodic pension expense by approximately $0.1 million. Likewise, a 1% increase or decrease in the assumed rate of return on plan assets would decrease or increase 2019 net periodic pension expense by approximately $0.6 million.

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Acquisitions and Purchase Price Allocations. Accounting for the acquisition of a hotel property or other entity as a business combination, or becoming the primary beneficiary of a previously unconsolidated variable interest entity, requires an allocation of the purchase price to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed in the transaction at their respective estimated fair values. The most difficult estimations of individual fair values are those involving long-lived assets, such as property, equipment, and intangible assets, that are assumed as part of the transaction, as well as any noncontrolling interests. We use all available information to make these fair value determinations, including market data for similar assets, expected cash flows discounted at risk-adjusted rates, and replacement cost for assets, among others. We may engage third parties to provide valuation services to assist in the fair value determinations of the long-lived assets acquired and the liabilities assumed. Acquisition-related costs, such as due diligence, legal and accounting fees, are expensed as incurred.

Legal Contingencies. We are subject to various legal proceedings and claims, the outcomes of which are subject to significant uncertainty. We record an accrual for loss contingencies when a loss is probable and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. We review these accruals each reporting period and make revisions based on changes in facts and circumstances.

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

For a discussion of recently issued accounting standards, see Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included herein.

Item 7A.            Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

Market risk is the risk of loss arising from adverse changes in market rates and prices, such as interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates and commodity prices. Our primary exposures to market risk are from changes in interest rates and changes in asset values of investments that fund our pension plan. See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more discussion on how interest rate increases affect our operations and financial condition.

Risk Related to Changes in Interest Rates

Borrowings outstanding under our Term Loan A currently bear interest at an annual rate of LIBOR plus 1.50%, subject to adjustment as defined in the agreement. If LIBOR were to increase by 100 basis points, our annual interest cost on the $300.0 million in borrowings outstanding under the Term Loan A at December 31, 2019 would increase by approximately $3.0 million.

Borrowings outstanding under our Term Loan B currently bear interest at an annual rate of LIBOR plus 2.00%, subject to adjustment as defined in the agreement. We have hedged our interest rate exposure on $350.0 million of borrowings under the Term Loan B with interest rate swaps that fix the LIBOR portion of interest payments through May 2023. If LIBOR were to increase by 100 basis points, our annual interest cost on the $36.3 million in borrowings outstanding under the Term Loan B that are not hedged at December 31, 2019 would increase by approximately $0.4 million.

Borrowings outstanding under the Gaylord Rockies Loan currently bear interest at an annual rate of LIBOR plus 2.50%. The Gaylord Rockies joint venture has hedged its interest rate exposure with an interest rate swap that fixes the LIBOR portion of interest payments through August 2022. If the Gaylord Rockies joint venture does not enter into an additional interest rate swap, the joint venture will be subject to interest rate risk from August 2022 through the maturity date of July 2023.

Certain of our outstanding cash balances are occasionally invested overnight with high credit quality financial institutions. We do not have significant exposure to changing interest rates on invested cash at December 31, 2019. As a result, the interest rate market risk implicit in these investments at December 31, 2019, if any, is low.

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Risk Related to Changes in Asset Values that Fund our Pension Plans

The expected rates of return on the assets that fund our defined benefit pension plan are based on the asset allocation of the plan and the long-term projected return on those assets, which represent a diversified mix of equity securities, fixed income securities and cash. At December 31, 2019, the value of the investments in the pension fund was $66.0 million, and an immediate ten percent decrease in the value of the investments in the fund would have reduced the value of the fund by approximately $6.6 million.

Summary

Based upon our overall market risk exposures at December 31, 2019, we believe that the effects of changes in interest rates related to our borrowings and asset values of investments that fund our pension plan could be material to our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Item 8.              Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

Information with respect to this Item is contained in the Company’s consolidated financial statements included in the Index beginning on page 74 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and incorporated by reference herein.

Item 9.              Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

None.

Item 9A.            Controls and Procedures

Conclusion Regarding the Effectiveness of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

Under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, we conducted an evaluation of our disclosure controls and procedures, as such term is defined under Rule 13a-15(e) and Rule 15d-15(e) promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report. Based on this evaluation, our principal executive officer and our principal financial officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective, as of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report.

Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that:

pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the Company;
provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the Company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and
provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the Company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

65

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

Management assessed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019. In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) in Internal Control - Integrated Framework.

Based on management’s assessment and those criteria, management believes that, as of December 31, 2019, the Company’s internal control over financial reporting was effective.

The Company’s independent registered public accounting firm, Ernst & Young LLP, has issued an attestation report on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting, which is included herein.

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

There have been no changes in our internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the quarter ended December 31, 2019 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

Item 9B.            Other Information

None.

PART III

Item 10.            Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

Information about our Board of Directors required by Item 401 of Regulation S-K is incorporated herein by reference to the discussion under the heading “Election of the Eight Nominees for Director Identified in this Proxy Statement” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the SEC. Information regarding procedures for stockholder nominations to our Board of Directors required by Item 407(c)(3) of Regulation S-K is incorporated by reference to the discussion under the heading “Submitting Stockholder Proposals and Nominations for 2021 Annual Meeting” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the SEC.

Certain other information concerning executive officers and certain other officers of the Company is included in Item 1 of Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Executive Officers of the Registrant.”

The Company has a separately designated audit committee of the Board of Directors established in accordance with the Exchange Act. Alvin Bowles, Fazal Merchant, Christine Pantoya and Robert S. Prather, Jr. currently serve as members of the Audit Committee, and Mr. Prather serves as its chairman. Our Board of Directors has determined that Mr. Prather and Mr. Merchant are “audit committee financial experts” as defined by the SEC and are independent, as that term is defined in the Exchange Act and the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange.

Our Board of Directors has adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics applicable to the members of our Board of Directors and our officers, including our Principal Executive Officer, Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer. In addition, the Board of Directors has adopted Corporate Governance Guidelines and restated charters for our Audit Committee, Human Resources Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. You can access our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Corporate Governance Guidelines and current committee charters on our website at www.rymanhp.com or request a copy of any of the foregoing by writing to the following address: Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., Attention: Secretary, One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214. The Company will make any legally required disclosures regarding amendments to, or waivers of, provisions of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Corporate Governance Guidelines or current committee charters on its

66

website. In accordance with the corporate governance listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange, the Company has designated Mr. Michael I. Roth as the lead director at all meetings of non-management directors, which meetings will be held on a regular basis. Stockholders, employees and other interested parties may communicate with Mr. Roth, individual non-management directors, or the non-management directors as a group, by email at boardofdirectors@rymanhp.com.

Item 11.            Executive Compensation

The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the discussions under the headings “Director Compensation,” “Compensation Discussion and Analysis,” “Executive Compensation – 2019 Summary Compensation Table,” “2019 Grants of Plan-Based Awards,” “Outstanding Equity Awards at 2019 Fiscal Year End,” “2019 Option Exercises and Stock Vested,” “Other Compensation Information – Pension Benefits,” “Other Compensation Information – Nonqualified Deferred Compensation,” “Other Compensation Information – 2019 Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Table,” “Potential Payments on Termination or Change of Control,” “Committees of the Board – Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation,” and “Human Resources Committee Report” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the SEC.

Item 12.            Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the discussions under the headings “Stock Ownership” and “Equity Compensation Plan Information” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the SEC.

Item 13.             Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the discussions under the headings “Company Information – Corporate Governance – Independence of Directors” and “Certain Transactions” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the SEC.

Item 14.             Principal Accountant Fees and Services

The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the discussion under the heading “Our Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm” in our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed with the SEC.

PART IV

Item 15.            Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

(a)(1)     Financial Statements

The accompanying index to financial statements on page 74 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is provided in response to this Item.

(a)(2)     Financial Statement Schedules

The following financial statement schedule is filed as a part of this report and is included herein on page 126 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

Schedule III – Real Estate and Accumulated Depreciation

All other financial statement schedules for which provision is made in the applicable accounting regulations of the SEC are not required under the related instructions or are inapplicable and, therefore, have been omitted.

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(a)(3)     Exhibits

The following exhibits are filed with this Annual Report on Form 10-K or are incorporated herein by reference:

EXHIBIT

    

    

NUMBER

DESCRIPTION

2.1†

Purchase Agreement, dated as of September 13, 2018, by and among Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., Aurora Convention Center Hotel Partners, LLC, AREG Aurora CCH LLC, and RIDA Aurora LLC (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 2.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 14, 2018).

2.2

First Amendment to Purchase Agreement, dated December 31, 2018, by and among Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., Aurora Convention Center Hotel Partners, LLC, AREG Aurora CCH LLC, and RIDA Aurora LLC (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 2.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed January 7, 2019).

3.1

Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of the Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed October 1, 2012).

3.2

Amended and Restated Bylaws of the Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed October 1, 2012).

4.1

Specimen of Common Stock certificate of the Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 24, 2012).

4.2

Reference is made to Exhibits 3.1 and 3.2 hereof for instruments defining the rights of common stockholders of the Company.

4.3*

Description of Securities.

4.4

Indenture, dated as of April 14, 2015, among RHP Hotel Properties, LP, RHP Finance Corporation, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., each of the guarantors named therein and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee, relating to the 5.00% Senior Notes due 2023 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed April 14, 2015).

4.5

Form of 5.00% Senior Note due 2023 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed April 14, 2015).

4.6

Indenture, dated as of September 19, 2019, among RHP Hotel Properties, LP and RHP Finance Corporation, as the issuers, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., as a guarantor, each of the subsidiary guarantors named therein and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee, relating to the 4.750% Senior Notes due 2027 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 19, 2019).

4.7

Form of 4.750% Senior Note due 2027 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 19, 2019).

4.8

Registration Rights Agreement, dated as of September 19, 2019, among RHP Properties, LP, RHP Finance Corporation, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., each of the guarantors named therein, and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. as representative of the initial purchasers (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.3 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 19, 2019).

4.9

Supplemental Indenture No. 1, dated as of October 8, 2019, by and among RHP Hotel Properties, LP, and RHP Finance Corporation, as the issuers, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., as a guarantor, each of the subsidiary guarantors named therein and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee, relating to the 4.750% Senior Notes due 2027 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.3 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed October 8, 2019).

4.10

Registration Rights Agreement, dated as of October 8, 2019, among RHP Properties, LP, RHP Finance Corporation, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., each of the guarantors named therein, and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. as representative of the initial purchasers (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.4 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed October 8, 2019).

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10.1†

Sixth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement dated as of October 31, 2019, among Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., as a guarantor, RHP Hotel Properties, LP, as borrower, certain other subsidiaries of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. party thereto, as guarantors, certain subsidiaries of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. party thereto, as pledgors, the lenders party thereto and Wells Fargo Bank National Association, as administrative agent (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed November 1, 2019).

10.2

Opryland Hotel-Florida Ground Lease, dated as of March 3, 1999, by and between Xentury City Development Company, L.L.C., and Opryland Hotel-Florida Limited Partnership (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.11 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1999).

10.3

Hotel/ Convention Center Sublease Agreement, dated as of May 16, 2000, by and between the City of Grapevine, Texas and Opryland Hotel-Texas Limited Partnership (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.21 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002).

10.4

Sublease Addendum Number 1, dated July 28, 2000, by and between the City of Grapevine, Texas and Opryland Hotel-Texas Limited Partnership (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.22 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002).

10.5

First Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership of RHP Hotel Properties, LP, dated December 31, 2018 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed January 7, 2019.

10.6†

Second Amended and Restated Loan Agreement entered into as of July 2, 2019, among Aurora Convention Center Hotel, LLC, Aurora Convention Center Hotel Lessee, LLC, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as administrative agent, and the financial institutions from time to time party thereto (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed July 5, 2019).

10.7#

The Opryland USA Inc. Supplemental Deferred Compensation Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.11 to the former Gaylord Entertainment Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1).

10.8#

Gaylord Entertainment Company Retirement Benefit Restoration Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.19 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000).

10.9#

Executive Employment Agreement of Colin V. Reed, dated February 25, 2008, with the Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2008).

10.10#

First Amendment to Executive Employment Agreement of Colin V. Reed, dated December 18, 2008, with Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 23, 2008).

10.11#

Second Amendment to Executive Employment Agreement, dated September 3, 2010, by and between the Company and Colin V. Reed (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010).

10.12#

Third Amendment to Executive Employment Agreement, dated as of November 5, 2012, by and between the Company and Colin V. Reed (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.5 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2012).

10.13#

Indemnification Agreement, dated as of April 23, 2001, by and between the Company and Colin V. Reed (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.30 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001).

10.14#

Form of Employment Agreement of Mark Fioravanti, dated February 25, 2008, with the Company (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2008).

10.15#

Form of Amendment No. 1 to Employment Agreement of Mark Fioravanti (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.38 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009).

10.16#

Amendment No. 2 to Employment Agreement, dated September 3, 2010, by and between the Company and Mark Fioravanti (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.5 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010).

69

10.17#

Third Amendment to Executive Employment Agreement dated as of November 5, 2012, by and between the Company and Mark Fioravanti (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.6 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2012).

10.18#

Employment Agreement dated as of February 25, 2008 by and between the Company and Bennett Westbrook (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.45 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012).

10.19#

Amendment No. 1 to Employment Agreement dated as of September 3, 2010 by and between Bennett Westbrook (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.46 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012).

10.20#

Second Amendment to Employment Agreement dated as of November 5, 2012 by and between the Company and Bennett Westbrook (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.47 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year December 31, 2012).

10.21#

Third Amendment to Employment Agreement dated as of July 1, 2016 by and between the Company and Bennett Westbrook (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016).

10.22#

Severance Agreement dated as of February 26, 2018 between the Company and Patrick Chaffin (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.21 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017).

10.23#

Severance Agreement dated as of February 26, 2018 between the Company and Scott Lynn (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.22 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017).

10.24#

Severance Agreement dated as of February 26, 2018 between the Company and Jennifer Hutcheson (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.23 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017).

10.25#

Form of Indemnification Agreement between the Company and each of its non-employee directors (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.36 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002).

10.26*#

Summary of Director and Executive Officer Compensation.

10.27#

Gaylord Entertainment Company Amended and Restated 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Annex A to the Company’s Definitive Proxy Statement for the 2011 Annual Meeting of Stockholders filed with the SEC on April 1, 2011).

10.28#

Amendment dated February 10, 2017 to Amended and Restated 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.30 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016).

10.29#

Form of Restricted Share Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan, as amended (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.40 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006).

10.30#

Form of Non-Qualified Stock Option Agreement with respect to stock options granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan, as amended (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.41 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006).

10.31#

Form of Director Non-Qualified Stock Option Agreement with respect to stock options granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.42 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006).

10.32#

Form of Director Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.43 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006).

10.33#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to performance-vesting restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.35 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 28, 2008).

10.34#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to time-vesting restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.52 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009).

70

10.35#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to performance-based restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012).

10.36#

Form of 2013 Time-Based Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.67 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year December 31, 2012).

10.37#

Form of 2013 Performance-Based Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.68 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year December 31, 2012).

10.38#

Form of Director Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan in lieu of cash retainer fees (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.68 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year December 31, 2013).

10.39#

Form of Director Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2006 Omnibus Incentive Plan to replace previously deferred cash retainer fees (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.69 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year December 31, 2013).

10.40#

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. 2016 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on May 6, 2016).

10.41#

Amendment dated February 10, 2017 to Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. 2016 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.43 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016).

10.42#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement granted pursuant to the Company’s 2016 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016).

10.43#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to time-based vesting restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2016 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016).

10.44#

Form of Restricted Stock Unit Award Agreement with respect to performance-based vesting restricted stock units granted pursuant to the Company’s 2016 Omnibus Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2016).

21*

Subsidiaries of the Company.

23.1*

Consent of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm.

31.1*

Certification of Chief Executive Officer of Periodic Report Pursuant to Rule 13a - 14(a) and Rule 15d - 14(a).

31.2*

Certification of Chief Financial Officer of Periodic Report Pursuant to Rule 13a - 14(a) and Rule 15d - 14(a).

32.1*

Certification of Chief Executive Officer Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350.

32.2*

Certification of Chief Financial Officer Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350.

101*

The following materials from Ryman Hospitality Property, Inc.’s Annual Form on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, formatted in Inline XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language): (i) Consolidated Balance Sheets at December 31, 2019 and 2018, (ii) Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, (iii) Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, (iv) Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, (v) Consolidated Statement of Changes in Stockholders’ Equity and Noncontrolling Interest for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, and (vi) Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

104*

Cover Page Interactive Data File (embedded within the Inline XBRL document).

*     Filed herewith.

71

†     As directed by Item 601(a)(5) or 601(b)(2) of Regulation S-K, as applicable, certain schedules and exhibits to this exhibit are omitted from this filing. The Company agrees to furnish supplementally a copy of any omitted schedule or exhibit to the SEC upon request.

#     Management contract or compensatory plan or arrangement.

72

SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

    

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC.

Date: February 25, 2020

By:

/s/ Colin V. Reed

Colin V. Reed

Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant in the capacities and on the dates indicated.

Signature

    

Title

    

Date

/s/ Colin V. Reed

Chairman of the Board of Directors

February 25, 2020

Colin V. Reed

and Chief Executive Officer

/s/ Rachna Bhasin

Director

February 25, 2020

Rachna Bhasin

/s/ Alvin Bowles, Jr.

Director

February 25, 2020

Alvin Bowles, Jr.

/s/ Fazal F. Merchant

Director

February 25, 2020

Fazal F. Merchant

/s/ Patrick Q. Moore

Director

February 25, 2020

Patrick Q. Moore

/s/ Christine Pantoya

Director

February 25, 2020

Christine Pantoya

/s/ Robert S. Prather, Jr.

Director

February 25, 2020

Robert S. Prather, Jr.

/s/ Michael I. Roth

Director

February 25, 2020

Michael I. Roth

/s/ Mark Fioravanti

President and Chief Financial Officer

February 25, 2020

Mark Fioravanti

/s/ Jennifer Hutcheson

Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller

February 25, 2020

Jennifer Hutcheson

and Chief Accounting Officer

73

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income, stockholders’ equity and noncontrolling interest and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes and financial statement schedule listed in the Index at Item 15(a)(2) (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2019 and 2018, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework), and our report dated February 25, 2020, expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Adoption of New Accounting Standard

As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company changed its method for accounting for leases in 2019 due to the adoption of ASU No. 2016-02, “Leases” (ASC 842). As explained below, auditing the Company’s adoption of ASC 842 was a critical audit matter.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

75

Valuation of Gaylord National Bonds

Description of the Matter

At December 31, 2019, the Company holds within Notes Receivable certain bonds received in connection with the development of the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center (“Bonds”) which are reported at a carrying amount of $110.1 million. The Company has determined that it has the intent and ability to hold the Bonds to maturity and is following the accounting guidance related to investments in debt securities. As such, the Company assesses the Bonds for impairment, which requires an estimation of fair value of the Bonds. The Bonds and related accounting and historical impairments are more fully described in Notes 1 and 3 to the consolidated financial statements.

Auditing management’s assessment of the valuation of the Bonds was complex and judgmental due to the significant estimation and assumptions required in projecting the future tax revenues to be generated by the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, which are the basis for estimating the Bonds’ fair value. In particular, the fair value estimate is sensitive to significant assumptions, such as the expected average daily rates, occupancy rates, real estate capitalization rate and discount rate, which are affected by expectations about future market and economic conditions, particularly those in the Washington D.C. market. Finally, such assumptions are judgmental as the Bonds and related projected cash flows continue for an extended period of time through 2037.

How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit

We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the Company’s valuation of the Bonds, including controls over management’s review of the significant assumptions described above.

To test the Company’s determination of the estimated fair value of the Bonds, we performed audit procedures that included, among others, assessing the fair value methodologies utilized by management, testing the significant assumptions discussed above and the related underlying data used by the Company in its evaluation, and testing the mathematical accuracy of the calculations. In performing those procedures, we compared the significant assumptions used by management to current industry, market, and economic trends, along with the recent historical results, reassessed the accuracy of management’s historical projected cash flows utilized in prior period evaluations, performed sensitivity analyses of changes in significant assumptions, and compared forecasts of cash flows utilized in the evaluation to current business plans. We also involved a valuation specialist to assist in assessing the Company’s valuation methodologies and significant assumptions used in the valuation analysis.

Adoption of ASC 842, Leases – Valuation of Gaylord Palms Ground Lease

Description of the Matter

As described above and in Note 1 and Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company adopted Accounting Standard Codification Topic 842, Leases (“ASC 842”), on January 1, 2019. The adoption of ASC 842 resulted in the recognition of both right of use operating lease assets and operating lease liabilities of approximately $100.9 million as of January 1, 2019.

Auditing the Company’s adoption of ASC 842 was complex because the Company is the lessee in a long-term ground lease at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, with a remaining lease term in excess of 50 years at January 1, 2019. Given the long-term nature of this ground lease and the significance of the cash lease payments over this period of time which were discounted to measure the lease asset and liability, auditing the Company’s estimate of the incremental borrowing rate (“IBR”) for the long-term ground lease was especially challenging and required management to exercise judgment.

76

How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit

We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the Company’s accounting for the adoption of ASC 842, including controls over management’s review of the IBR model for the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center ground lease.

To test the Company’s adoption of ASC 842, we performed audit procedures that included, among others, testing the accuracy of the lease terms and testing the accuracy of the Company’s calculations of the initial measurement of the right of use assets and lease liabilities. Additionally, we involved valuation specialists to test management’s model for estimating the IBR for the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center ground lease. We evaluated management’s methodology for developing the IBR and tested judgments and estimates regarding the Company’s secured borrowing rates, market credit rating, comparable bond yield curve, and adjustments to market yield curves to determine a securitized rate. We compared the Company’s IBR to ranges developed by our valuation specialists based on independently observed data.

/s/ ERNST & YOUNG LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2002.

Nashville, Tennessee

February 25, 2020

77

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.

Opinion on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

We have audited Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. and subsidiaries’ internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) (the COSO criteria). In our opinion, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on the COSO criteria.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the 2019 consolidated financial statements of the Company, and our report dated February 25, 2020, expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Basis for Opinion

The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ ERNST & YOUNG LLP

Nashville, Tennessee

February 25, 2020

78

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

    

December 31, 

    

December 31, 

2019

2018

ASSETS:

 

  

 

  

Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation (including $979,012 and $1,018,499 from VIEs, respectively)

$

3,130,252

$

3,149,095

Cash and cash equivalents - unrestricted (including $33,772 and $11,648 from VIEs, respectively)

 

362,430

 

103,437

Cash and cash equivalents - restricted

 

57,966

 

45,652

Notes receivable (including $0 and $11,230 from VIEs, respectively)

 

110,135

 

122,209

Trade receivables, less allowance of $828 and $763, respectively (including $16,523 and $2,019 from VIEs, respectively)

 

70,768

 

67,923

Deferred income tax assets, net

 

25,959

 

40,557

Prepaid expenses and other assets (including $27,888 and $20,419 from VIEs, respectively)

 

123,845

 

78,240

Intangible assets (including $202,366 and $241,973 from VIEs, respectively)

207,113

246,770

Total assets

$

4,088,468

$

3,853,883

LIABILITIES AND EQUITY:

 

  

 

  

Debt and finance lease obligations (including $792,696 and $494,578 from VIEs, respectively)

$

2,559,968

$

2,441,895

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (including $57,590 and $70,215 from VIEs, respectively)

 

264,915

 

274,890

Dividends payable

 

50,711

 

45,019

Deferred management rights proceeds

 

175,332

 

174,026

Operating lease liabilities

 

106,331

 

Other liabilities

 

64,971

 

161,043

Commitments and contingencies

 

 

  

Noncontrolling interest in consolidated joint venture

221,511

287,433

Stockholders' equity:

Preferred stock, $.01 par value, 100,000 shares authorized, 0 shares issued or outstanding

 

 

Common stock, $.01 par value, 400,000 shares authorized, 54,897 and 51,336 shares issued and outstanding, respectively

 

549

 

513

Additional paid-in capital

 

1,185,168

 

900,795

Treasury stock of 619 and 592 shares, at cost

 

(17,315)

 

(15,183)

Accumulated deficit

 

(495,514)

 

(388,524)

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

 

(28,159)

 

(28,024)

Total stockholders' equity

 

644,729

 

469,577

Total liabilities and equity

$

4,088,468

$

3,853,883

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

79

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

For the Years Ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017
(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

557,562

$

454,370

$

431,768

Food and beverage

 

660,770

 

519,843

 

483,945

Other hotel revenue

 

203,114

 

153,690

 

143,947

Entertainment

 

183,120

 

147,215

 

125,059

Total revenues

 

1,604,566

 

1,275,118

 

1,184,719

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

144,834

 

118,060

 

112,636

Food and beverage

 

362,850

 

282,906

 

269,824

Other hotel expenses

 

409,883

 

339,529

 

327,283

Management fees, net

 

39,608

 

30,744

 

23,856

Total hotel operating expenses

 

957,175

 

771,239

 

733,599

Entertainment

 

126,609

 

109,249

 

84,513

Corporate

 

36,282

 

30,833

 

31,387

Preopening costs

 

3,122

 

4,869

 

1,926

Depreciation and amortization

213,847

 

120,876

 

111,959

Impairment charges

 

 

23,783

 

Other-than-temporary impairment loss on held-to-maturity securities:

Total other-than-temporary impairment loss

41,961

Less portion recognized in other comprehensive income

(6,543)

Net impairment loss recognized in earnings on held-to-maturity securities

35,418

Total operating expenses

 

1,337,035

 

1,060,849

 

998,802

Operating income

 

267,531

 

214,269

 

185,917

Interest expense

 

(131,620)

 

(74,961)

 

(66,051)

Interest income

 

11,769

 

10,469

 

11,818

Loss on extinguishment of debt

(494)

Income (loss) from unconsolidated joint ventures

 

(1,110)

 

125,005

 

(4,402)

Other gains and (losses), net

 

693

 

1,633

 

(337)

Income before income taxes

 

146,769

 

276,415

 

126,945

(Provision) benefit for income taxes

 

(18,475)

 

(11,745)

 

49,155

Net income

128,294

264,670

176,100

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest in consolidated joint venture

17,500

Net income available to common stockholders

$

145,794

$

264,670

$

176,100

Basic income per share available to common stockholders

$

2.82

$

5.16

$

3.44

Diluted income per share available to common stockholders

$

2.81

$

5.14

$

3.43

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

80

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

For the Years Ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017
(Amounts in thousands)

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

Net income

$

128,294

$

264,670

$

176,100

Other comprehensive income (loss), before tax:

 

 

  

 

  

Gain (loss) on minimum pension liability:

 

 

  

 

  

Gains (losses) arising during the period

 

693

 

(2,231)

 

3,111

Amount reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive loss

 

97

 

(64)

 

60

 

790

 

(2,295)

 

3,171

Interest rate derivatives:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Gains arising during period

 

3,539

 

 

Amount reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive loss

(1,905)

 

1,634

 

 

Other-than-temporary impairment loss on held-to-maturity securities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Non-credit loss on other-than-temporary impairment

 

 

 

(6,543)

Amount reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive loss

333

333

 

333

 

333

 

(6,543)

Other comprehensive income (loss), before tax

 

2,757

 

(1,962)

 

(3,372)

Income tax (provision) benefit related to items of comprehensive loss

 

(185)

 

630

 

(1,052)

Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax

 

2,572

 

(1,332)

 

(4,424)

Comprehensive income

$

130,866

$

263,338

$

171,676

Comprehensive loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

18,328

Comprehensive income available to common stockholders

$

149,194

$

263,338

$

171,676

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

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RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

For the Years Ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017
(Amounts in thousands)

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

Cash Flows from Operating Activities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net income

$

128,294

$

264,670

$

176,100

Amounts to reconcile net income to net cash flows provided by operating activities:

 

 

 

  

Provision (benefit) for deferred income taxes

 

14,414

 

10,190

 

(52,637)

Depreciation and amortization

 

213,847

 

120,876

 

111,959

Amortization of deferred financing costs

 

7,662

 

5,632

 

5,350

Impairment charges

 

 

23,783

 

Net impairment loss recognized in earnings on held-to-maturity securities

 

 

 

35,418

Write-off of deferred financing costs

 

3,079

 

1,956

 

925

(Income) loss from unconsolidated joint ventures

1,110

(125,005)

4,402

Stock-based compensation expense

 

7,833

 

7,656

 

6,640

Changes in:

 

 

 

  

Trade receivables

 

(2,844)

 

(8,320)

 

(9,702)

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

(13,674)

 

22,201

 

17,189

Other assets and liabilities

 

(5,035)

 

(1,720)

 

186

Net cash flows provided by operating activities

 

354,686

 

321,919

 

295,830

Cash Flows from Investing Activities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Purchases of property and equipment

 

(152,541)

 

(188,217)

 

(182,565)

Collection of notes receivable

13,211

2,560

2,370

Investment in Gaylord Rockies joint venture

 

 

 

(16,309)

Purchase of additional interest in Gaylord Rockies joint venture, net of cash acquired

(5,481)

(223,564)

Earnest money deposit for potential Block 21 acquisition

(15,000)

Investment in other joint ventures

 

(4,241)

 

(2,199)

 

(9,313)

Purchase of remaining interest in Opry City Stage, net of cash acquired

(3,963)

Other investing activities

 

1,015

 

(7,927)

 

(9,604)

Net cash flows used in investing activities

 

(163,037)

 

(423,310)

 

(215,421)

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net borrowings (repayments) under revolving credit facility

 

(525,000)

 

354,000

 

(211,400)

Borrowings under term loan A

 

100,000

 

 

200,000

Borrowings under term loan B

 

 

 

500,000

Repayments under term loan B

 

(105,000)

 

(5,000)

 

(393,750)

Issuance of senior notes

702,500

Redemption of senior notes

(350,000)

Borrowing under Gaylord Rockies term loan

800,000

Repayment of Gaylord Rockies construction and mezzanine loans

(496,612)

Deferred financing costs paid

 

(27,666)

 

(642)

 

(12,268)

Issuance of common stock

282,908

Payment of dividends

 

(183,346)

 

(172,415)

 

(161,706)

Distributions from consolidated joint venture to noncontrolling interest partners

(113,894)

Payment of tax withholdings for share-based compensation

 

(3,989)

 

(4,164)

 

(3,810)

Other financing activities

 

(243)

 

(9)

 

45

Net cash flows provided by (used in) financing activities

 

79,658

 

171,770

 

(82,889)

Net change in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

 

271,307

 

70,379

 

(2,480)

Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, beginning of period

 

149,089

 

78,710

 

81,190

Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, end of period

$

420,396

$

149,089

$

78,710

Reconciliation of cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash to balance sheet:

Cash and cash equivalents - unrestricted

$

362,430

$

103,437

$

57,557

Cash and cash equivalents - restricted

 

57,966

 

45,652

 

21,153

Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, end of period

$

420,396

$

149,089

$

78,710

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

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RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
AND NONCONTROLLING INTEREST
For the Years Ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017
(Amounts in thousands)

    

    

    

    

    

Accumulated

    

    

Additional

Other

Total

Common

Paid-in

Treasury

Accumulated

Comprehensive

Stockholders'

Noncontrolling

Stock 

Capital 

Stock

Deficit

Loss

Equity

Interest

BALANCE, December 31, 2016

$

510

$

893,102

$

(11,542)

$

(491,805)

$

(22,268)

 

$

367,997

$

Net income

 

 

 

 

176,100

 

 

 

176,100

Other comprehensive loss, net of income taxes

 

 

 

 

 

(4,424)

 

 

(4,424)

Payment of dividends ($3.20 per share)

 

 

745

 

(1,711)

 

(163,465)

 

 

 

(164,431)

Exercise of stock options

 

 

65

 

 

 

 

 

65

Restricted stock units and stock options surrendered

 

2

 

(3,793)

 

 

 

 

 

(3,791)

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

6,640

 

 

 

 

 

6,640

BALANCE, December 31, 2017

$

512

$

896,759

$

(13,253)

$

(479,170)

$

(26,692)

$

378,156

$

Net income

 

 

 

 

264,670

 

 

264,670

Transition adjustment related to adoption of ASU 2014-09

(134)

(134)

Other comprehensive loss, net of income taxes

 

 

 

 

 

(1,332)

 

(1,332)

Payment of dividends ($3.40 per share)

 

 

514

 

(1,930)

 

(173,890)

 

 

(175,306)

Exercise of stock options

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

11

Restricted stock units and stock options surrendered

 

1

 

(4,145)

 

 

 

 

(4,144)

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

7,656

 

 

 

 

7,656

Establishment of noncontrolling interest in consolidated joint venture

287,433

BALANCE, December 31, 2018

$

513

$

900,795

$

(15,183)

$

(388,524)

$

(28,024)

$

469,577

$

287,433

Net income

 

 

 

 

145,794

 

 

145,794

(17,500)

Adjustment of noncontrolling interest to redemption value

(68,054)

(68,054)

68,054

Transition adjustment related to adoption of ASU 2018-02

2,707

(2,707)

Other comprehensive income, net of income taxes

 

 

 

 

 

2,572

 

2,572

Purchase of additional ownership interest in consolidated joint venture

(2,899)

(2,899)

(2,582)

Distributions from consolidated joint venture to noncontrolling interest partners

(113,894)

Issuance of common stock

35

282,873

282,908

Payment of dividends ($3.60 per share)

 

 

532

 

(2,132)

 

(187,437)

 

 

(189,037)

Exercise of stock options

 

 

35

 

 

 

 

35

Restricted stock units and stock options surrendered

 

1

 

(4,001)

 

 

 

 

(4,000)

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

7,833

 

 

 

 

7,833

BALANCE, December 31, 2019

$

549

$

1,185,168

$

(17,315)

$

(495,514)

$

(28,159)

$

644,729

$

221,511

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

83

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

1. Description of the Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

For financial statement presentation and reporting purposes, the Company is the successor to Gaylord Entertainment Company, a Delaware corporation (“Gaylord”). As part of the plan to restructure the business operations of Gaylord to facilitate its qualification as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) for federal income tax purposes, Gaylord merged with and into its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Ryman”), on October 1, 2012, with Ryman as the surviving corporation (the “Merger”). At 12:01 a.m. on October 1, 2012, the effective time of the Merger, Ryman succeeded to and began conducting, directly or indirectly, all of the business conducted by Gaylord immediately prior to the Merger. The “Company” refers to Ryman and its subsidiaries and to Gaylord.

On January 1, 2013, the Company began operating as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. The Company’s owned assets include a network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts that are managed by Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”) under the Gaylord Hotels brand. These resorts, which the Company refers to as the Gaylord Hotels properties, consist of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee (“Gaylord Opryland”), the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando, Florida (“Gaylord Palms”), the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center near Dallas, Texas (“Gaylord Texan”) and the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington D.C. (“Gaylord National”). The Company’s other owned hotel assets managed by Marriott include the Inn at Opryland, an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, and the AC Hotel at National Harbor, Washington D.C. (“AC Hotel”), an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord National. The Company also owns a 62.1% interest in a joint venture (the “Gaylord Rockies joint venture”) that owns the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver, Colorado (“Gaylord Rockies”), which opened in December 2018 and is managed by Marriott. For more information regarding the Company’s increase in its ownership percentage in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture as of December 31, 2018, see Note 4, “Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture.”

The Company also owns a number of media and entertainment assets, including the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied live music venue and former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home; Ole Red, a brand of Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event spaces; and three Nashville-based assets managed by Marriott – Gaylord Springs Golf Links (“Gaylord Springs”), the Wildhorse Saloon, and the General Jackson Showboat (“General Jackson”). The Company also owns a 50% interest in a joint venture intended to create and distribute a linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to the country music lifestyle (“Circle”), which launched its broadcast network on January 1, 2020. See Note 13, “Commitments and Contingencies,” for further disclosure.

The Company previously owned Opry City Stage, a four-level entertainment complex in Times Square that opened in December 2017 under a joint venture agreement of which the Company initially owned 50%. In the second quarter of 2018, the Company acquired the remaining 50% joint venture interest in Opry City Stage for a combination of $3.9 million in cash and the forgiveness of a note receivable previously due to the Company from the other joint venture partner of $7.9 million. Subsequent to the Company’s purchase of the remaining 50% joint venture interest, the Company determined that current ongoing operations were not meeting the revenue expectations from the time of purchase. In September 2018, the Company announced that it was temporarily suspending operations at Opry City Stage to appropriately reposition the venue and its operations, and in December 2018, the Company determined that it would permanently close the venue. During 2018, the Company performed impairment assessments of the carrying amount of Opry City Stage assets and recorded impairment charges of $22.6 million, which represented substantially all of the assets associated with the venue, and are reflected as impairment charges in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations for 2018.

The Company conducts its business through an umbrella partnership REIT, in which all of its assets are held by, and all of its operations are conducted through, RHP Hotel Properties, LP, a subsidiary operating partnership (the “Operating

84

Partnership”) that the Company formed in connection with its REIT conversion. Ryman is the sole limited partner of the Operating Partnership and currently owns, either directly or indirectly, all of the partnership units of the Operating Partnership. RHP Finance Corporation, a Delaware corporation (“Finco”), was formed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Operating Partnership for the sole purpose of being an issuer of debt securities with the Operating Partnership. Neither Ryman nor Finco has any material assets, other than Ryman’s investment in the Operating Partnership and its 100%-owned subsidiaries. As 100%-owned subsidiaries of Ryman, neither the Operating Partnership nor Finco has any business, operations, financial results or other material information, other than the business, operations, financial results and other material information described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and Ryman’s other reports, documents or other information filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

On December 31, 2018, the Company amended the limited partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership to provide that its partnership units may be exchanged on a 1-for-one basis for shares of the Company’s common stock. Under certain circumstances, the Company may issue such partnership units as consideration to acquire hotel properties.

The Company principally operates, through its subsidiaries and its property managers, as applicable, in the following business segments: Hospitality; Entertainment; and Corporate and Other. The Company’s fiscal year ends on December 31 for all periods presented.

Business Segments

Hospitality

The Hospitality segment includes the Gaylord Hotels branded hotels, the Inn at Opryland and the AC Hotel, as well as the Company’s equity investment in Gaylord Rockies. See Note 4, “Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture,” for further discussion of this investment. Each of the Company’s hotels, as well as Gaylord Rockies, is managed by Marriott pursuant to a management agreement for each hotel.

Entertainment

The Entertainment segment includes the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM, Ole Red, the General Jackson, the Wildhorse Saloon, Gaylord Springs, and the Company’s investment in the Circle joint venture, among various others. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the General Jackson, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse Saloon pursuant to management agreements.

Corporate and Other

The Corporate and Other segment includes operating and general and administrative expenses related to the overall management of the Company which are not allocated to the other reportable segments, including certain costs for the Company’s retirement plans, equity-based compensation plans, information technology, human resources, accounting, and other administrative expenses.

Principles of Consolidation

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its subsidiaries. The Company’s investments in non-controlled entities in which it has the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financial policies are accounted for by the equity method. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

The Company analyzes its variable interests, including loans, guarantees, management agreements, leasing arrangements and equity investments, to determine if an entity in which it has a variable interest is a variable interest entity (“VIE”). This analysis primarily includes a qualitative review, which is based on a review of the design of the entity, its organizational structure, including decision-making ability, and relevant financial agreements. This analysis is also used to determine if the Company must consolidate the VIE as the primary beneficiary.

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The terms of the Company’s increased investment in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture and certain related agreements provide that a subsidiary of the Company is the managing member and is responsible for day-to-day management of the joint venture and for future financings meeting certain parameters. Designated decisions, such as refinancings that do not meet established parameters, future expansions of the hotel, transactions with affiliates, selling the hotel, and admitting additional members of the joint venture, are to be approved by a majority vote of a committee consisting of 2 members designated by the Company and 2 members designated by the minority partner. Based on management’s analysis of these updated agreements, management concluded the Company’s responsibility for the day-to-day management of the joint venture and for future financings meeting certain parameters results in the Company having the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of the joint venture. In addition, the shared decisions represent protective rights of both parties. Thus, the Company became the primary beneficiary of this variable interest entity at December 31, 2018. As such, the Company consolidated the assets and liabilities of the joint venture effective December 31, 2018 and began consolidating the ongoing operations of the joint venture effective January 1, 2019. See “Noncontrolling Interest in Consolidated Joint Venture” and Note 4, “Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture,” below for further discussion.

The terms of the Company's joint venture agreement in Circle provide that the Company and its joint venture partner each share the authority to make major decisions in the joint venture, including operating plans, entering into certain contracts, admitting additional members of the joint venture, issuing additional membership interests, and amending the operating agreement. In addition, the officers of Circle are not employees of the Company. Based on management’s analysis of the joint venture agreement, management concluded that the Company is not the primary beneficiary of this variable interest entity and accounts for this investment under the equity method.

Potential Acquisition

In December 2019, the Company entered into an agreement to purchase Block 21, a mixed-use entertainment, lodging, office and retail complex located in Austin, Texas, for $275 million, which includes the assumption of approximately $141 million of existing mortgage debt. Block 21 is the home of the Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (“ACL Live”), a 2,750-seat entertainment venue that serves as the filming location for the Austin City Limits television series. The Block 21 complex also includes the 251-room W Austin Hotel, the 350-seat 3TEN at ACL Live club and approximately 53,000 square feet of Class A commercial space. The Company paid a nonrefundable deposit of $15 million with the agreement, and the acquisition is expected to close at the end of the first quarter or in early second quarter 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including, but not limited to, consent to the Company’s assumption of the existing mortgage loan by the loan servicer and the consent of the hotel property manager, an affiliate of Marriott, to the Company’s assignment and assumption of the existing hotel management agreement. The Company intends to fund the acquisition with a portion of the proceeds from the equity offering discussed in Note 11, “Equity.”

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment are stated at cost or at estimated fair value if recorded in connection with purchase accounting. Improvements and significant renovations that extend the lives of existing assets are capitalized. Interest on funds borrowed to finance the construction of major capital additions not funded through furniture, fixtures and equipment reserves is included in the cost of the applicable capital addition. Maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred. Property and equipment are generally depreciated using the straight-line method over the following estimated useful lives:

Buildings

    

40 years

Land improvements

 

20 years

Furniture, fixtures and equipment

 

5-8 years

Leasehold improvements

 

The shorter of the lease term or useful life

Cash and Cash Equivalents — Unrestricted

The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents.

86

Cash and Cash Equivalents — Restricted

Restricted cash and cash equivalents primarily represent funds held by our property managers for furniture, fixtures and equipment reserves. In addition, the Company holds certificates of deposit with an original maturity of greater than three months in order to secure its Tennessee workers’ compensation self-insurance obligations.

Supplemental Cash Flow Information

Cash paid for interest for the years ended December 31 was comprised of (amounts in thousands):

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

Debt interest paid

$

121,876

$

74,821

$

63,325

Capitalized interest

 

(1,618)

 

(10,013)

 

(6,645)

Cash paid for interest, net of capitalized interest

$

120,258

$

64,808

$

56,680

Net cash payments of income taxes in 2019, 2018 and 2017 were $3.6 million, $1.6 million and $4.1 million, respectively.

Accounts Receivable

The Company’s accounts receivable are primarily generated by meetings and convention attendees’ room nights and food and beverage. Receivables arising from these sales are not collateralized. Credit risk associated with the accounts receivable is minimized due to the large and diverse nature of the customer base.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The Company provides allowances for doubtful accounts based upon a percentage of revenue and periodic evaluations of the aging of accounts receivable.

Prepaid Expenses and Other Assets

Prepaid expenses and other assets at December 31 consist of (amounts in thousands):

    

2019

    

2018

Prepaid expenses

$

18,888

$

15,732

Supplemental deferred compensation plan assets

 

29,174

 

24,687

Tax rebate receivables

20,389

17,143

Earnest money deposit for potential Block 21 acquisition

15,000

Inventories

 

10,329

 

9,823

Deferred financing costs on revolving credit facility

8,493

Derivative assets

3,808

Other

 

17,764

 

10,855

Total prepaid expenses and other assets

$

123,845

$

78,240

Prepaid expenses consist of prepayments for property taxes, insurance and other contracts that will be expensed during the subsequent year. Inventories consist primarily of food and beverage inventory for resale and retail inventory sold in the Entertainment segment. Inventory is carried at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is computed on an average cost basis. Deferred financing costs (“DFCs”) on the Company’s revolving credit facility are included in prepaid expenses and other assets when the related revolving credit facility has no outstanding balance. Other assets include capitalized software costs, non-trade receivables, and investments in joint ventures, among others.

The Gaylord Rockies joint venture is party to an incentive agreement with the local government that provides that the joint venture is entitled to receive monthly rebates of certain city and state taxes, including property, sales and lodging taxes. The term of the rebate agreement varies by type of tax but ranges from 25-33 years from commencement of the

87

construction of Gaylord Rockies. The joint venture earned $34.6 million in rebates in 2019, which are generally recorded as a reduction in other hotel expenses in the accompanying consolidated statement of operations for 2019.

Intangible Assets

In connection with the Company’s purchase price allocation of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, as discussed further in Note 4, “Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture,” the Company acquired certain definite-lived intangibles, which are shown on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. Included in these intangibles are the original estimated fair value of advanced bookings of $125.5 million and the original estimated fair value related to the Gaylord Hotels trade name, which Marriott owns, of $115.3 million. The advanced bookings asset is being amortized on a straight-line basis over a period of 3.5 years, which corresponds with the period in which the advanced deposits relate, and the value in the trade name is being amortized on a straight-line basis over 30 years, which is the period of the Marriott management agreement.

The gross carrying amount of intangible assets at December 31, 2019 and 2018 was $252.7 million and $252.2 million, respectively. Accumulated amortization of intangible assets at December 31, 2019 and 2018 was $45.6 million and $5.4 million, respectively. Amortization expense related to intangible assets during 2019, 2018 and 2017 was $40.2 million, $0.2 million and $0.1 million, respectively. The estimated amounts of amortization expense for the next five years are as follows (amounts in thousands):

2020

    

$

40,198

2021

 

40,198

2022

 

22,240

2023

 

4,282

2024

 

4,044

$

110,962

Investments

From time to time, the Company has owned minority interest investments in certain businesses. Generally, non-marketable investments (excluding limited partnerships and limited liability company interests) in which the Company owns less than 20 percent are accounted for using the cost method of accounting, and investments in which the Company owns between 20 percent and 50 percent and limited partnerships, including its investment in Circle, are accounted for using the equity method of accounting.

Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities at December 31 consist of (amounts in thousands):

    

2019

    

2018

Trade accounts payable

$

40,238

$

77,620

Property and other taxes payable

 

57,668

 

35,947

Deferred revenues

 

76,744

 

69,280

Accrued salaries and benefits

 

35,303

 

21,544

Accrued interest payable

 

16,520

 

16,027

Other accrued liabilities

 

38,442

 

54,472

Total accounts payable and accrued liabilities

$

264,915

$

274,890

Deferred revenues consist primarily of deposits on advance bookings of hotel rooms and advance ticket sales at the Company’s tourism properties, as well as uncollected attrition and cancellation fees. Other accrued liabilities include accruals for, among others, purchasing, meeting planner commissions and utilities.

88