Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
Hilton Worldwide Holdings
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$88.15 292 $25,770
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-02-13 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-24 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-03 Officers
8-K 2018-07-25 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-10 Shareholder Vote, Other Events
8-K 2018-04-19 Enter Agreement, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-10 Enter Agreement, Officers, Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-09 Enter Agreement, Earnings, Officers, Exhibits
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HLT 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Note 1: Organization
Note 2: Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Note 4: Revenues From Contracts with Customers
Note 5: Consolidated Variable Interest Entities
Note 6: Goodwill and Intangible Assets
Note 7: Property and Equipment
Note 8: Accounts Payable, Accrued Expenses and Other
Note 9: Debt
Note 10: Other Liabilities
Note 11: Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
Note 12: Fair Value Measurements
Note 13: Leases
Note 14: Income Taxes
Note 15: Employee Benefit Plans
Note 16: Share-Based Compensation
Note 17: Earnings (Loss) per Share
Note 18: Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
Note 19: Business Segments
Note 20: Commitments and Contingencies
Note 21: Related Party Transactions
Note 22: Supplemental Disclosures of Cash Flow Information
Note 23: Condensed Consolidating Guarantor Financial Information
Note 24: Selected Quarterly Financial Information
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
EX-10.38 q42018amendment_1038.htm
EX-21.1 q42018subsidiaries_211.htm
EX-23.1 q42018eyconsent_231.htm
EX-31.1 q42018ceocertification_311.htm
EX-31.2 q42018cfocertification_312.htm
EX-32.1 q42018ceocertification_321.htm
EX-32.2 q42018cfocertificationq_322.htm
EX-99.1 q42018exhibit991_13riranex.htm

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Earnings 2018-12-31

HLT 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 q42018hwh10-k.htm 10-K Document
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
or
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to

Commission File Number 001-36243
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
27-4384691
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
7930 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 1100, McLean, VA
 
22102
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
 
(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (703) 883-1000

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
(Title of Class)
 
(Name of each exchange on which registered)
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share
 
New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x 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 x
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 x 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 x No ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
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 x                          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 Exchange Act). Yes ¨ No x
As of June 29, 2018, the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $23,156 million (based upon the closing sale price of the common stock on that date on the New York Stock Exchange). The number of shares of common stock outstanding on February 6, 2019 was 292,847,337.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III incorporate information by reference from the registrant's definitive proxy statement relating to its 2019 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the close of the registrant's fiscal year.



HILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC.
FORM 10-K TABLE OF CONTENTS
YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2018

 
 
Page No.
PART I
 
 
 
Forward-Looking Statements
 
Terms Used and Basis of Presentation in this Annual Report on Form 10-K
Item 1.
Business
Item 1A.
Risk Factors
Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2.
Properties
Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
Item 5.
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of
 
 
     Equity Securities
Item 6.
Selected Financial Data
Item 7.
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9.
Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A.
Controls and Procedures
Item 9B.
Other Information
 
 
 
PART III
 
Item 10.
Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11.
Executive Compensation
Item 12.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder
 
 
     Matters
Item 13.
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14.
Principal Accounting Fees and Services
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
Item 15.
Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16.
Form 10-K Summary
 
Signatures


1


PART I
Forward -Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act") and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). These statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to our expectations regarding the performance of our business, our financial results, our liquidity and capital resources and other non-historical statements. In some cases, you can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "outlook," "believes," "expects," "potential," "continues," "may," "will," "should," "could," "seeks," "projects," "predicts," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "anticipates" or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including, among others, risks inherent to the hospitality industry, macroeconomic factors beyond our control, competition for hotel guests and management and franchise contracts, risks related to doing business with third-party hotel owners, performance of our information technology systems, growth of reservation channels outside of our system, risks of doing business outside of the United States ("U.S.") and our indebtedness. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. We believe these factors include, but are not limited to, those described under "Part I—Item 1A. Risk Factors." These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

Terms Used and Basis of Presentation in this Annual Report on Form 10-K

Except where the context requires otherwise, references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to "Hilton," "the Company," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., together with all of its consolidated subsidiaries. Except where the context requires otherwise, references to our "properties" and "rooms" refer to the hotels, resorts and timeshare properties managed, franchised, owned or leased by us, while references to "hotels" excludes timeshare properties.

On January 3, 2017, we completed the spin-offs of a portfolio of hotels and resorts, as well as our timeshare business, into two independent, publicly traded companies: Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. ("Park") and Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. ("HGV"), respectively, (the "spin-offs"). Hilton did not retain any interest in Park or HGV, but did enter into long-term management and franchise contracts with Park for the portfolio of hotels and resorts held by it at the time of the spin-offs and a license agreement with HGV for the timeshare business. See "Part I—Item 1A. Risk Factors" included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information. This Annual Report on Form 10-K presents our business and results of operations as of and for the periods indicated, giving effect to the spin-offs, with the combined historical financial results of Park and HGV reflected as discontinued operations.

Reference to "Average Daily Rate" or "ADR" represents hotel room revenue divided by the total number of room nights sold for a given period, and reference to "Revenue per Available Room" or "RevPAR" represents hotel room revenue divided by the total number of room nights available to guests for a given period. Reference to "Adjusted EBITDA" means earnings before interest expense, a provision for income taxes and depreciation and amortization, or "EBITDA," further adjusted to exclude certain items. Refer to "Part II—Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Business and Financial Metrics Used by Management" for additional information on these financial metrics.

Social Media

We use our website at newsroom.hilton.com, our Facebook page at facebook.com/hiltonnewsroom and our corporate Twitter account at twitter.com/hiltonnewsroom as channels of distribution of company information. The information we post through these channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor these channels, in addition to following our press releases, our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and our webcasts. The contents of our website and social media channels are not, however, part of this report.

Item 1.    Business

Overview

Hilton is one of the largest and fastest growing hospitality companies in the world, with 5,685 properties comprising 912,960 rooms in 113 countries and territories as of December 31, 2018. For nearly 100 years, Hilton has been an innovator in its industry, driven by the vision of our founder Conrad Hilton, "to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality." Our premier brand portfolio includes: our luxury and lifestyle hotel brands, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels &

2


Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton; our full service hotel brands, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton; our focused service hotel brands, Motto by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton; and our timeshare brand, Hilton Grand Vacations. In 2018, we launched two new brands: Motto by Hilton and LXR Hotels & Resorts. See "—Our Brand Portfolio," for additional information. As of December 31, 2018, we had over 85 million members in our award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors.

We operate our business through a management and franchise segment and an ownership segment, each of which is managed separately because of its distinct economic characteristics. The management and franchise segment includes all of the hotels we manage for third-party owners, as well as all franchised hotels operated or managed by someone other than us. The management and franchise segment generates its revenue from: (i) management and franchise fees charged to third-party hotel owners; (ii) license fees for the exclusive right to use certain Hilton marks and intellectual property ("IP"); and (iii) fees for managing our owned and leased hotels. As of December 31, 2018, this segment included 689 managed hotels and 4,874 franchised hotels consisting of 882,873 total rooms. As of December 31, 2018, the ownership segment included 71 properties totaling 21,720 rooms, comprising 62 hotels that we wholly owned or leased, one hotel owned by a consolidated non-wholly owned entity, two hotels leased by consolidated variable interest entities ("VIEs") and six hotels owned or leased by unconsolidated affiliates. For more information regarding our segments, see "Part II—Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Segment Results" and Note 19: "Business Segments" in "Part II—Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."

In addition to our current hotel portfolio, we are focused on the growth of our business by expanding our share in the global hospitality industry through our development pipeline. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we opened over 450 hotels consisting of more than 66,000 rooms, contributing to nearly 57,000 net rooms growth in our system during the year. Additionally, during the year ended December 31, 2018, nearly 110,000 new rooms were approved for development and added to our development pipeline. As of December 31, 2018, we had more than 2,400 hotels in our development pipeline that we expect to add as open hotels in our system, representing over 364,000 rooms under construction or approved for development throughout 103 countries and territories, including 35 countries and territories where we do not currently have any open hotels. All of the rooms in the development pipeline are within our management and franchise segment. Additionally, 195,000 rooms in the development pipeline were located outside the U.S., and 184,000 rooms in the development pipeline, or more than half, were under construction. We do not consider any individual development project to be material to us.

Overall, we believe that our experience in the hospitality industry, which spans nearly a century of customer service and entrepreneurship, and continues to evolve for the tastes, preferences and demands of our hotel guests; our strong, well-defined brands that operate throughout the hospitality industry chain scales; and our commercial service offerings will continue to drive customer loyalty, including participation in our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. We believe that satisfied customers will continue to provide strong overall hotel performance for us and our hotel owners and encourage further development of additional hotels under our brands with both existing and new hotel owners, which further supports our growth and future financial performance. We believe that our existing portfolio and development pipeline, which will require minimal capital investment from us, positions us to further improve our business and serve our customers in the future.


3


Our Brand Portfolio

The goal of each of our brands is to deliver exceptional customer experiences and superior operating performance.
 
 
 
 
December 31, 2018
 
 
Brand(1)
 
Chain Scale
 
Countries/ Territories
 
Properties
 
Rooms
 
Percentage of Total Rooms
 
Selected Competitors(2)
wastackeda09.jpg
 
Luxury
 
14
 
31
 
10,502
 
1.2%
 
Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton,
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis
lxrlogoresizeblack.jpg
 
Luxury
 
1
 
1
 
234
 
—%
 
Leading Hotels of the World,
Legend Preferred Hotels & Resorts,
Small Luxury Hotels of The World,
The Luxury Collection
conradfreecolora13.jpg
 
Luxury
 
22
 
33
 
10,625
 
1.2%
 
Fairmont, Intercontinental,
JW Marriott, Park Hyatt, Sofitel
canopylogorgb01.jpg
 
Upper Upscale
 
4
 
8
 
1,244
 
0.1%
 
Hyatt Centric, Joie De Vivre,
Kimpton, Le Méridien
hhrcmyk.jpg
 
Upper Upscale
 
94
 
586
 
215,623
 
23.6%
 
Hyatt Regency, Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton, Sofitel, Westin
curiocollectionbyhiltonka02.jpg
 
Upper Upscale
 
22
 
68
 
13,569
 
1.5%
 
Autograph Collection,
The Unbound Collection
dtverticallogocmyk.jpg
 
Upscale
 
45
 
559
 
130,714
 
14.3%
 
Crowne Plaza, Delta, Holiday Inn, Radisson, Sheraton, Wyndham
tapestrycollectionbyhilton08.jpg
 
Upscale
 
1
 
18
 
2,559
 
0.3%
 
Tribute Portfolio
embassysuites3a11.jpg
 
Upper Upscale
 
6
 
253
 
58,858
 
6.4%
 
Hyatt Regency, Marriott, Sheraton, Westin
mottobrandlogogreenrgb002.jpg
 
Upper Midscale
 
 
 
 
—%
 
CitizenM, Freehand, Moxy, Yotel
revisedhiltonlogofinal.jpg
 
Upscale
 
40
 
815
 
118,675
 
13.0%
 
Aloft, Courtyard, Four Points,
Holiday Inn, Hyatt Place
hamptonbyhiltoncolora11.jpg
 
Upper Midscale
 
25
 
2,433
 
250,310
 
27.4%
 
Comfort Suites, Courtyard,
Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Springhill Suites
endorsedtruhorizcmyka03.jpg
 
Midscale
 
1
 
53
 
5,019
 
0.6%
 
Best Western, Comfort Inn & Suites,
La Quinta, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn
homewoodlogo201701.jpg
 
Upscale
 
3
 
482
 
54,836
 
6.0%
 
Element, Hyatt House, Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites
h2slogopmsnofilla13.jpg
 
Upper Midscale
 
2
 
290
 
30,125
 
3.3%
 
Candlewood Suites, Comfort Suites, TownePlace Suites
hgvcolorrgb300dpia06.jpg
 
Timeshare
 
4
 
51
 
8,367
 
0.9%
 
Hyatt Residence, Marriott Vacation Club, Vistana Signature Experiences,
Wyndham Vacations Resorts
____________
(1)  
The table above excludes four unbranded properties with 1,700 rooms, representing approximately 0.2 percent of total rooms. HGV has the exclusive right to use our Hilton Grand Vacations brand, subject to the terms of a license agreement with us.
(2)  
The table excludes lesser-known regional competitors.

4


Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts: What began as an iconic hotel in New York City is today a portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. In landmark destinations around the world, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts reflect their locations, each providing the inspirational environments and personalized attention that are the source of unforgettable moments. Properties typically include elegant spa and wellness facilities; high-end restaurants; golf courses at our resort properties; 24-hour room service; fitness and business centers; meeting, wedding and banquet facilities; and special event and concierge services.

LXR Hotels & Resorts: Found in some of the world's most alluring locations, LXR Hotels & Resorts immerse guests in truly profound travel experiences. LXR connects legendary luxury properties into a network of hotels offering singular service and remarkable experiences. In 2018, the first LXR hotel opened in Dubai.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts: Conrad is a global luxury brand offering guests personalized experiences with sophisticated, locally inspired surroundings and an intuitive service model based on customization and control, as demonstrated by the Conrad Concierge mobile application that enables guest control of on-property amenities and services. Properties typically include convenient and relaxing spa and wellness facilities; enticing restaurants; comprehensive room service; fitness and business centers; multi-purpose meeting facilities; and special event and concierge services.

Canopy by Hilton: Canopy by Hilton is an energizing lifestyle hotel in the neighborhood. Our guests are explorers who seek uncomplicated comfort, thoughtful details, an energizing atmosphere and a uniquely local experience. Each property is designed as a natural extension of its neighborhood, with local design, food and drink and culture delivering an authentic neighborhood experience with a boutique hotel feel.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts: Hilton is our global flagship brand and one of the most globally recognized hotel brands, with hotels and resorts in 94 countries and territories across six continents. The brand primarily serves business and leisure upper upscale travelers and meeting groups. Hilton hotels are full service hotels that typically include meeting, wedding and banquet facilities and special event services; restaurants and lounges; food and beverage services; swimming pools; gift shops; retail facilities; and other services. Additionally, Hilton Hotels & Resorts was voted the favorite hotel chain in the 2018 Globe Travel Awards.

Curio Collection by Hilton: Curio Collection by Hilton is created for travelers who seek local discovery and one-of-a-kind experiences. The collection is made up of hand-picked hotels that retain their unique identity or story, featuring elevated food and beverage experiences, and are able to leverage the many benefits of the Hilton global platform, including our common reservation and customer care service and Hilton Honors guest loyalty program.

DoubleTree by Hilton: DoubleTree by Hilton is an upscale, full service hotel designed to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment for today’s business and leisure travelers. DoubleTree's hotels and resorts are united by the brand’s CARE ("Creating a Rewarding Experience") service culture that all starts with its signature welcome and iconic warm chocolate chip cookie. DoubleTree’s diverse portfolio allows for flexibility with a variety of hotel and location types including historic icons, small contemporary hotels, resorts, suburban locations and both small and large urban markets.

Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Tapestry Collection by Hilton, which launched in 2017, is a portfolio of upscale, unique hotels that caters to guests seeking original and authentic experiences. Every Tapestry Collection property has its own unique style, while giving travelers the peace of mind and reassurance associated with the Hilton name, in addition to the benefits of the award-winning Hilton Honors guest loyalty program.

Embassy Suites by Hilton: Embassy Suites by Hilton is the upscale all-suites hotel brand that delivers inclusive value. All guests are welcomed with spacious two-room suites with separate areas to work and play, plus free made-to-order breakfast daily and complimentary drinks and snacks every night.

Motto by Hilton: Motto by Hilton is a micro-hotel with an urban vibe in prime global locations. It is Hilton’s new affordable urban lifestyle brand that empowers guests by giving them the freedom to create their own experiences in the world’s most sought-after cities. Motto combines comfort and accessibility with travel and lifestyle trends centered around location, value and experience.

Hilton Garden Inn: Hilton Garden Inn is an award-winning brand where guests find an open, inviting atmosphere with warm, glowing service and simple, thoughtful touches that allow them to relax and recharge. As a recognized leader in food and beverage services, Hilton Garden Inn caters to guests' dining needs by serving cooked-to-order breakfast and offering handcrafted cocktails, shareable small plates and full meals at its on-site restaurants and bars. Flexible meeting space, free Wi-Fi, wireless printing and fitness centers are offered to help guests stay polished and productive.


5


Hampton by Hilton: Hampton by Hilton is our moderately priced brand with limited food and beverage facilities. The Hampton by Hilton brand also includes Hampton Inn & Suites hotels, which offer both traditional hotel rooms and suite accommodations within one property. At our Hamptons around the world, guests receive free hot breakfast and free high-speed internet access, all for a great price and all supported by the 100% Hampton Guarantee.

Tru by Hilton: Tru by Hilton is a brand designed to be a game changer in the midscale segment. Tru was built from a belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay do not have to be mutually exclusive. By focusing on the brand's three key tenets of simplified, spirited and grounded in value, every detail of the property is crafted for operational efficiency and to drive increased guest satisfaction – from the activated, open lobby to the efficiently designed bedrooms.

Homewood Suites by Hilton: Homewood Suites by Hilton is the upscale extended-stay hotel brand that delivers the comforts of home with the added conveniences of a hotel. Every room is a spacious suite featuring a fully equipped kitchen – suitable for stays of any length. A free, full hot breakfast is served daily, along with complimentary drinks and bites Monday through Thursday.

Home2 Suites by Hilton: Home2 Suites by Hilton provides a modern and savvy option to budget conscious extended-stay travelers. Offering innovative suites with contemporary design and cutting-edge technology, we strive to ensure that our guests are comfortable and productive, whether they are staying a few days or a few months. Each of the brand's hotels offers complimentary continental breakfast, integrated laundry and exercise facility, recycling and sustainability initiatives and a pet-friendly policy.

Hilton Grand Vacations: Hilton Grand Vacations is our timeshare brand. Ownership of a deeded real estate interest with club membership points provides members with a lifetime of vacation advantages and the comfort and convenience of residential-style resort accommodations in select, renowned vacation destinations. Each of the Hilton Grand Vacations properties provides a distinctive setting, while signature elements remain consistent, such as high-quality guest service, spacious units and extensive on-property amenities.

Our Guest Loyalty Program

Hilton Honors is our award-winning guest loyalty program that supports our portfolio of brands at our managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and resorts. The program generates significant repeat business by rewarding guests with points for each stay at any of our nearly 5,700 properties worldwide, which are then redeemable for free nights and other goods and services. Members can also use points earned to transact with nearly 75 partners, including airlines, rail and car rental companies, credit card providers, Amazon.com and others. The program provides targeted marketing, promotions and customized guest experiences to over 85 million members, a 20 percent increase from December 31, 2017. Affiliation with our loyalty programs encourages members to allocate more of their travel spending to our hotels. The percentage of travel spending we capture from loyalty members increases as they move up the tiers of our program. The program is funded by contributions from eligible revenues generated by Hilton Honors members and collected by us from hotels and resorts in our system. These funds are applied to reimburse hotels and partners for Hilton Honors points redemptions by loyalty members and to pay for administrative expenses and marketing initiatives that support the program.


6


Our Business

As of December 31, 2018, our system included the following properties and rooms, by type, brand and region:
 
Owned / Leased(1)
 
Managed
 
Franchised
 
Total
 
Properties
 
Rooms
 
Properties
 
Rooms
 
Properties
 
Rooms
 
Properties
 
Rooms
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.
1

 
215

 
14

 
5,956

 

 

 
15

 
6,171

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
1

 
142

 
1

 
984

 
2

 
1,126

Europe
2

 
463

 
4

 
898

 

 

 
6

 
1,361

Middle East and Africa

 

 
4

 
949

 

 

 
4

 
949

Asia Pacific

 

 
4

 
895

 

 

 
4

 
895

LXR Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Middle East and Africa

 

 

 

 
1

 
234

 
1

 
234

Conrad Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
4

 
1,289

 
1

 
319

 
5

 
1,608

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
2

 
402

 

 

 
2

 
402

Europe

 

 
4

 
1,155

 

 

 
4

 
1,155

Middle East and Africa
1

 
614

 
2

 
993

 

 

 
3

 
1,607

Asia Pacific
1

 
164

 
17

 
5,035

 
1

 
654

 
19

 
5,853

Canopy by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 

 

 
5

 
831

 
5

 
831

Europe

 

 

 

 
2

 
263

 
2

 
263

Asia Pacific

 

 
1

 
150

 

 

 
1

 
150

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
67

 
48,780

 
177

 
54,082

 
244

 
102,862

Americas (excluding U.S.)
1

 
405

 
26

 
9,320

 
21

 
7,066

 
48

 
16,791

Europe
53

 
14,424

 
49

 
15,440

 
36

 
10,182

 
138

 
40,046

Middle East and Africa
5

 
1,998

 
42

 
12,607

 
3

 
1,609

 
50

 
16,214

Asia Pacific
7

 
3,437

 
92

 
33,447

 
7

 
2,826

 
106

 
39,710

Curio Collection by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
4

 
1,981

 
34

 
7,253

 
38

 
9,234

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 

 

 
10

 
1,669

 
10

 
1,669

Europe

 

 
3

 
270

 
10

 
1,072

 
13

 
1,342

Middle East and Africa

 

 
2

 
255

 
1

 
356

 
3

 
611

Asia Pacific

 

 
3

 
663

 
1

 
50

 
4

 
713

DoubleTree by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
35

 
11,791

 
316

 
73,948

 
351

 
85,739

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
3

 
494

 
24

 
5,231

 
27

 
5,725

Europe

 

 
12

 
3,347

 
93

 
15,966

 
105

 
19,313

Middle East and Africa

 

 
10

 
2,350

 
6

 
718

 
16

 
3,068

Asia Pacific

 

 
57

 
15,797

 
3

 
1,072

 
60

 
16,869

Tapestry Collection by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 

 

 
18

 
2,559

 
18

 
2,559

Embassy Suites by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
42

 
11,110

 
202

 
45,548

 
244

 
56,658

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
3

 
667

 
6

 
1,533

 
9

 
2,200

Hilton Garden Inn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
5

 
537

 
655

 
90,603

 
660

 
91,140

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
12

 
1,663

 
39

 
6,177

 
51

 
7,840

Europe

 

 
21

 
3,826

 
43

 
7,182

 
64

 
11,008

Middle East and Africa

 

 
10

 
2,251

 
1

 
175

 
11

 
2,426

Asia Pacific

 

 
29

 
6,261

 

 

 
29

 
6,261

Hampton by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
46

 
5,641

 
2,140

 
209,300

 
2,186

 
214,941

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
13

 
1,677

 
92

 
10,923

 
105

 
12,600

Europe

 

 
18

 
2,956

 
63

 
9,873

 
81

 
12,829

Middle East and Africa

 

 
1

 
420

 

 

 
1

 
420

Asia Pacific

 

 

 

 
60

 
9,520

 
60

 
9,520

Tru by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 

 

 
53

 
5,019

 
53

 
5,019

Homewood Suites by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
19

 
2,016

 
439

 
50,103

 
458

 
52,119

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 
3

 
358

 
21

 
2,359

 
24

 
2,717

Home2 Suites by Hilton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.

 

 
2

 
198

 
283

 
29,384

 
285

 
29,582

Americas (excluding U.S.)

 

 

 

 
5

 
543

 
5

 
543

Other

 

 
3

 
1,450

 
1

 
250

 
4

 
1,700

Hotels
71

 
21,720

 
689

 
215,437

 
4,874

 
667,436

 
5,634

 
904,593

Hilton Grand Vacations

 

 

 

 
51

 
8,367

 
51

 
8,367

Total
71

 
21,720

 
689

 
215,437

 
4,925

 
675,803

 
5,685

 
912,960

____________
(1)  
Includes properties owned or leased by entities in which we own a noncontrolling financial interest.


7


Management and Franchise

We manage hotels and license our brands through our management and franchise segment. This segment generates its revenue primarily from fees charged to hotel owners, as well as from fees associated with license agreements. We grow our management and franchise business by attracting owners to become a part of our system and participate in our commercial services to support their properties. These contracts require little or no capital investment to initiate on our part and provide significant return on investment for us as fees are earned.

Hotel Management

Our core management services consist of operating hotels under management contracts for the benefit of third parties who either own or lease the hotels and the associated personal property. Terms of our management contracts vary, but our fees generally consist of a base management fee, which is typically based on a percentage of the hotel’s monthly gross revenue, and, when applicable, an incentive management fee, which is typically based on a percentage of the hotel's operating profits. In general, the owner pays all operating and other expenses and reimburses our out-of-pocket expenses. In turn, our managerial discretion typically is subject to approval by the owner in certain major areas, including the approval of annual operating and capital expenditure budgets. Additionally, the owners generally pay a monthly program fee based on the underlying hotel's sales or usage, which covers the costs of: (i) advertising and marketing programs; (ii) internet, technology and reservation systems; and (iii) quality assurance program expenses. Owners are also responsible for various other fees and charges, including payments for participation in our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program, training, consultation and procurement of certain goods and services. As of December 31, 2018, we managed 689 hotels with 215,437 rooms, excluding hotels included in our ownership segment.

The initial terms of our management contracts are typically 20 to 30 years. In certain cases, we are both the franchisor and manager of the hotel, when we enter into a franchise contract in addition to a management contract, and we classify the hotel as managed in our portfolio. Extension options for our management contracts are negotiated and vary, but typically are more prevalent in full service hotels. Typically, these contracts contain one or two extension options that are for either five or 10 years and can be exercised at our or the hotel owner's option or by mutual agreement.

Some of our management contracts provide early termination rights to hotel owners upon certain events, including the failure to meet certain financial or performance criteria. Performance test measures typically are based upon the hotel’s performance individually and/or in comparison to specified competitive hotels. We often have a cure right by paying an amount equal to the performance shortfall over a specified period, although in some cases our cure rights are limited.

Franchising

We license our brand names, trademarks and service marks and operating systems to hotel owners under franchise contracts. We do not own, manage or operate franchised properties and do not employ the individuals working at these locations. We conduct periodic inspections to ensure that brand standards that we establish are maintained. For newly franchised hotels, including both new construction and conversions of existing hotels from other brands, we approve the location, as well as the plans for the facilities to ensure the hotels meet our brand standards. For existing franchised hotels, we provide franchisees with product improvement plans that must be completed to keep the hotels in compliance with our brand standards, so that they can remain in our hotel system. We also earn license fees from a license agreement with HGV and co-brand credit card arrangements for the use of certain Hilton marks and IP.

Each franchisee pays us an application, initiation or other fee in conjunction with the inception of a franchise contract. Franchisees also pay a royalty fee, generally based on a percentage of the hotel’s monthly gross room revenue and, in some cases, a percentage of gross food and beverage revenues and other revenues, as applicable. Additionally, the franchisees generally pay a monthly program fee based on the underlying hotel's sales or usage, which covers the costs of: (i) advertising and marketing programs; (ii) internet, technology and reservation systems; and (iii) quality assurance program expenses. Franchisees also are responsible for various other fees and charges, including payments for participation in our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program, training, consultation and procurement of certain goods and services. As of December 31, 2018, we franchised 4,925 properties with 675,803 rooms.

Our franchise contracts typically have initial terms of approximately 20 years for new hotels and approximately 10 to 20 years for converted hotels. At the expiration of the initial term, we may have a contractual right or obligation to relicense the hotel to the franchisee for an additional term ranging from 10 to 15 years. We have the right to terminate a franchise contract upon specified events of default, including nonpayment of fees or noncompliance with brand standards. If a franchise contract

8


is terminated by us because of a franchisee’s default, the franchisee is contractually required to pay us liquidated damages. We have no legal responsibility for the employees or the liabilities associated with operating franchised properties.

Ownership

As a hotel owner and lessee, we focus on maximizing the cost efficiency and profitability of the portfolio by, among other things, maximizing hotel revenues, implementing new labor management practices and systems and reducing fixed costs. Through our disciplined approach to hotel and asset management, we develop and execute on strategic plans for each of our hotels to enhance their market position and, at many of our hotels, we invest in renovating guest rooms and public spaces and adding or enhancing meeting and retail space to improve profitability. As of December 31, 2018, our ownership segment consisted of 71 hotels with 21,720 rooms that we owned or leased or that are owned or leased by entities in which we own a noncontrolling financial interest.

Competition

We encounter active and robust competition as a hotel and resort manager, franchisor and owner. Competition in the hospitality industry generally is based on the attractiveness of the facility; location; level of service; quality of accommodations; amenities; food and beverage options and outlets; public and meeting spaces and other guest services; consistency of service; room rate; brand reputation; and the ability to earn and redeem loyalty program points through a global system. Our properties and brands compete with other hotels, resorts, motels and inns in their respective geographic markets or customer segments, including facilities owned by local interests, individuals, national and international chains, institutions, investment and pension funds and real estate investment trusts ("REITs"). We believe that our position as a multi-branded manager, franchisor and owner of hotels with an associated system-wide guest loyalty and commercial platform helps us succeed as one of the largest and most geographically diverse hospitality companies in the world.

Our principal competitors include other branded and independent hotel operating companies, national and international hotel brands and ownership companies, including hotel REITs. While local and independent brand competitors vary, on a global scale, our primary competitors are firms such as Accor S.A., Choice Hotels International, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Marriott International, Radisson Hotel Group and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

Seasonality

The hospitality industry is seasonal in nature. The periods during which our hotels and resorts experience higher revenues vary from property to property, depending principally upon their location and the customer-base served. We generally expect our revenues to be lower in the first quarter of each year than in each of the three subsequent quarters.

Cyclicality

The hospitality industry is cyclical, and demand generally follows, on a lagged basis, key macroeconomic indicators. There is a history of increases and decreases in the development and supply of and demand for hotel rooms, occupancy levels and room rates realized by hotel owners through economic cycles. The combination of changes in economic conditions and in the supply of hotel rooms can result in significant volatility in results for owners and managers of hotel properties. The costs of running a hotel tend to be more fixed than variable. As a result of such fixed costs, in a negative economic environment, the rate of decline in earnings can be higher than the rate of decline in revenues.

Intellectual Property

In the highly competitive hospitality industry in which we operate, trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos and patents are very important to the success of our business. We have a significant number of trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, patents and pending registrations and expend significant resources each year on surveillance, registration and protection of our trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos and patents, which we believe have become synonymous in the hospitality industry with a reputation for excellence in service and authentic hospitality.

Government Regulation

Our business is subject to various foreign and U.S. federal and state laws and regulations, including laws and regulations that govern the offer and sale of franchises, many of which impose substantive requirements on franchise contracts and require that certain materials be registered before franchises can be offered or sold in a particular jurisdiction.

9



In addition, a number of states regulate the activities of hospitality properties and restaurants, including safety and health standards, as well as the sale of liquor at such properties, by requiring licensing, registration, disclosure statements and compliance with specific standards of conduct. Operators of hospitality properties also are subject to laws governing their relationship with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions and work permit requirements. Our franchisees are responsible for their own compliance with laws, including with respect to their employees, minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions and work permit requirements. Compliance with, or changes in, these laws could reduce the revenue and profitability of our properties and could otherwise adversely affect our operations.

We also manage hotels with casino gaming operations as part of or adjacent to the hotels. However, with the exception of casinos at certain of our properties in Puerto Rico and one property in Egypt, third parties manage and operate the casinos. We hold and maintain the casino gaming license and manage the casinos located in Puerto Rico and Egypt and employ third-party compliance consultants and service providers. As a result, our business operations at these facilities are subject to the licensing and regulatory control of the local regulatory agency responsible for gaming licenses and operations in those jurisdictions.

As an international manager, franchisor, owner and lessee of properties in 113 countries and territories, we also are subject to the local laws and regulations in each country in which we operate, including employment laws and practices; privacy laws; tax laws, which may provide for tax rates that exceed those of the U.S. and which may provide that our foreign earnings are subject to withholding requirements or other restrictions; unexpected changes in regulatory requirements or monetary policy; and other potentially adverse tax consequences.

In addition, our business operations in countries outside the U.S. are subject to a number of laws and regulations, including restrictions imposed by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"), as well as trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"). The FCPA is intended to prohibit bribery of foreign officials and requires us to keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect our transactions. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations and individuals. In addition, some of our operations may be subject to additional laws and regulations of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom's ("U.K.") Bribery Act 2010, which contains significant prohibitions on bribery and other corrupt business activities, and other local anti-corruption laws in the countries and territories in which we conduct operations. The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, effective in 2018, has stringent requirements regarding the handling of personal data such as credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information that we collect for a variety of important business purposes, including managing our workforce, providing requested products and services and maintaining guest preferences to enhance customer service and for marketing and promotion purposes.

Environmental Matters

We are subject to certain requirements and potential liabilities under various foreign and U.S. federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and incur costs in complying with such requirements. These laws and regulations govern actions including air emissions; the use, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances; and wastewater disposal. In addition to investigation and remediation liabilities that could arise under such laws, we may also face personal injury, property damage, fines or other claims by third parties concerning environmental compliance or contamination. We use and store hazardous and toxic substances, such as cleaning materials, pool chemicals, heating oil and fuel for back-up generators at some of our facilities, and we generate certain wastes in connection with our operations. Some of our properties include older buildings, and some may have, or may historically have had, laundry and dry-cleaning facilities and underground storage tanks for heating oil and back-up generators. We have from time to time been responsible for investigating and remediating contamination at some of our facilities, such as contamination that has been discovered when we have removed underground storage tanks, and we could be held responsible for any contamination resulting from the disposal of waste that we generate, including at locations where such waste has been sent for disposal. In some cases, we may be entitled to indemnification from the party that caused the contamination pursuant to our management or franchise contracts, but there can be no assurance that we would be able to recover all or any costs we incur in addressing such problems. From time to time, we may also be required to manage, abate, remove or contain mold, lead, asbestos-containing materials, radon gas or other hazardous conditions found in or on our properties. We have implemented an ongoing operations and maintenance plan at each of our owned and managed properties that seeks to identify and remediate these conditions as appropriate. Although we have incurred, and expect that we will continue to incur, costs relating to the investigation, identification and remediation of hazardous materials known or discovered to exist at our properties, those costs have not had, and are not expected to have, a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.


10


Insurance

U.S. hotels that we manage are permitted to participate in certain of our insurance programs by mutual agreement with our hotel owners. If not participating in our programs, hotel owners must purchase insurance programs consistent with our requirements. U.S. franchised hotels are not permitted to participate in our insurance programs, but rather must purchase insurance programs consistent with our requirements. Foreign managed and franchised hotels are required to participate in certain of our insurance programs. In addition, our management and franchise contracts typically include provisions requiring the owner of any hotel to indemnify us against losses arising from the design, development and operation of such hotel.

Most of our insurance policies are written with self-insured retentions or deductibles that are common in the insurance market for similar risks, and we believe such risks are prudent for us to assume. Our third-party insurance policies provide coverage for claim amounts that exceed our self-insurance retentions or deductible obligations. We maintain insurance coverage for general liability, property, business interruption, terrorism and other risks with respect to our business for all of our owned and leased hotels, and we maintain workers' compensation coverage for all of our employees. In addition, through our captive insurance subsidiary, we participate in a reinsurance arrangement that provides coverage for a certain portion of our deductibles. In general, our insurance provides coverage related to any claims or losses arising out of the design, development and operation of our hotels.

Corporate Responsibility

The success of our business is linked to the success of our communities – from the local owners who partner with us to build our hotels, to the local talent that operate them, to the local businesses we support through the products we source and to the guests we serve. Therefore, we work every day to drive positive social and environmental change across our value chain, which consists of our operations, our supply chain and our communities.

Travel with Purpose, our corporate responsibility strategy, is our commitment to drive responsible travel and tourism globally. Our strategy was developed by mapping and ranking the social and environmental issues that are affected by our business and are critical to our long-term success, and we engage with stakeholders on an ongoing basis to identify interests and concerns to continuously inform and enhance our strategy.

As one of the world’s largest industries, travel and tourism plays an important role in helping the international community achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs") adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Our corporate responsibility strategy and actions, which align with the SDGs, are designed to address issues important to our business and serve to help ensure that there will be sufficient natural resources and thriving communities in the future to sustain our growth. We use LightStay, our proprietary and award-winning corporate responsibility performance measurement platform, to measure our social and environmental impact, including, but not limited to, volunteer hours, in-kind donations, local partnerships and energy, water and waste management. Use of LightStay is a global brand standard required across Hilton’s entire system of hotels and corporate offices.

In 2018, Hilton was named industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America demonstrating industry leadership across economic, social and environmental pillars.

Social Impact

We have the ability to use our global growth as an engine of opportunity by committing to: (i) youth; (ii) inclusive growth; (iii) human rights; and (iv) our communities.

As part of our commitment to youth, we are approaching our goal to open doors for 1 million young people by the end of 2019 by connecting with, preparing or employing them through global partnerships, talent pipeline and local activations. We continue to promote inclusive growth, which includes Operation: Opportunity, our veteran hiring initiative launched in 2013, through which we have hired more than 10,000 veterans in the U.S. We also promote inclusive growth through our involvement in Project SEARCH, a platform to prepare young people with significant disabilities for success in integrated, competitive employment. Additionally, over 3,000 women-, minority-, veteran-, disabled- and LGBT-owned businesses are vendors that are included in our purchasing operations in the U.S.

We are committed to an environment free of any form of discrimination or harassment, and we require all of our employees to complete trainings on our Code of Conduct, which embraces our values and states that we will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of any characteristic protected by law. As reflected in our Code of Conduct, any behavior, communication or other conduct that creates an environment that is intimidating, offensive or hostile is

11


unacceptable. Additionally, to combat human trafficking, we launched mandatory human rights trainings in 2018 for all general managers at all of our hotels and resorts. In 2018, we received a 100 percent rating in the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign.

We continually seek to create a positive impact in the communities in which we operate. In 2018, employees from 93 countries and territories volunteered more than 235,000 hours during our annual Global Week of Service. Additionally, since 2014, we have raised over $3 million to support 35 disaster relief campaigns for our employees around the world. To invest in our communities, we are working to double our sourcing spend from local, small and medium-sized enterprises and minority-owned suppliers.

Environmental Impact

We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint through energy and carbon management, water stewardship, waste reduction and responsible sourcing. In order to reduce our water, waste and energy consumption and achieve savings we have invested in various initiatives, including maintaining our portfolio-wide certification, which is valid through 2020, to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management) standards.

We have achieved the following reductions in environmental impact since 2008:
 
Percent Reduction Achieved Since 2008(1)
Reduction in water consumption per square meter(2)
19
%
Reduction in waste produced per square meter(2)
36

Reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per square meter(2)
33

Energy consumption per square meter(2)
22

____________
(1) 
Reflects data that has been certified by an independent third party as of December 31, 2017, the most recent date for which data is available.
(2) 
Reflects performance across Hilton's managed, owned and leased properties, which totaled approximately 22.1 million square meters as of December 31, 2017.

In the area of responsible sourcing, we have collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund to identify, implement and scale up our sustainable sourcing practices. We mapped water risk levels for our properties around the world and identified three destinations with high water risk where we have started context-based water pilot projects: South Africa; China; and the U.S. Additionally, we have trained all of our purchasing employees in responsible sourcing.

History

In May 1919, our founder Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel in Cisco, Texas and we are celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2019. Our predecessors commenced corporate operations in 1946 and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in March 2010.

Employees

As of December 31, 2018, more than 169,000 people were employed at our managed, owned and leased properties and at our corporate locations.

As of December 31, 2018, approximately 31 percent of our employees globally and 36 percent of our employees in the U.S. were covered by various collective bargaining agreements generally addressing pay rates, working hours, other terms and conditions of employment, certain employee benefits and orderly settlement of labor disputes.

Where You Can Find More Information

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. Our SEC filings are also available on our website at newsroom.hilton.com as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the SEC. Our website and the information contained on or connected to that site are not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


12


Item 1A.    Risk Factors

In addition to the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the following risk factors should be considered carefully in evaluating our company and our business.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We are subject to the business, financial and operating risks inherent to the hospitality industry, any of which could reduce our revenues and limit opportunities for growth.

Our business is subject to a number of business, financial and operating risks inherent to the hospitality industry, including:

significant competition from multiple hospitality providers in all parts of the world;

changes in operating costs, including employee compensation and benefits, energy, insurance, and food and beverage;

increases in costs due to inflation or other factors that may not be fully offset by increases in revenues in our business;

changes in taxes and governmental regulations that influence or set wages, prices, interest rates or construction and maintenance procedures and costs;

the costs and administrative burdens associated with complying with applicable laws and regulations;

the costs or desirability of complying with local practices and customs;

significant increases in cost for health care coverage for employees and potential government regulation with respect to health care coverage;

shortages of labor or labor disruptions;

the ability of third-party internet and other travel intermediaries who sell our hotel rooms to guests to attract and retain customers;

the quality of services provided by franchisees;

the availability and cost of capital necessary for us and third-party hotel owners to fund investments, capital expenditures and service debt obligations;

delays in or cancellations of planned or future development or refurbishment projects;

the financial condition of third-party property owners, developers and joint venture partners;

relationships with third-party property owners, developers and joint venture partners, including the risk that owners may terminate our management, franchise or joint venture contracts;

cyclical over-building in the hospitality industry;

changes in desirability of geographic regions of the hotels in our business, geographic concentration of our operations and customers and shortages of desirable locations for development;

changes in the supply and demand for hotel services, including rooms, food and beverage and other products and services; and

decreases in the frequency of business travel that may result from alternatives to in-person meetings, including virtual meetings hosted online or over private teleconferencing networks.

Any of these factors could increase our costs or limit or reduce the prices we are able to charge for hospitality products and services, or otherwise affect our ability to maintain existing properties or develop new properties. As a result, any of these factors can reduce our revenues and limit opportunities for growth.

13


Macroeconomic and other factors beyond our control can adversely affect and reduce demand for our products and services.

Macroeconomic and other factors beyond our control can reduce demand for hospitality products and services, including demand for rooms at our hotels. These factors include, but are not limited to:

changes in general economic conditions, including low consumer confidence, increases in unemployment levels and depressed real estate prices resulting from the severity and duration of any downturn in the U.S. or global economy;

governmental action and uncertainty resulting from U.S. and global political trends and policies, including potential barriers to travel, trade and immigration;

war, political instability or civil unrest, terrorist activities or threats and heightened travel security measures instituted in response to these events;

decreased corporate or government travel-related budgets and spending, as well as cancellations, deferrals or renegotiations of group business such as industry conventions;

statements, actions, or interventions by governmental officials related to travel and corporate travel-related activities and the resulting negative public perception of such travel and activities;

the financial and general business condition of the airline, automotive and other transportation-related industries and its effect on travel, including decreased airline capacity and routes and increased travel costs;

conditions that negatively shape public perception of travel, including travel-related accidents, outbreaks of pandemic or contagious diseases, such as Ebola, Zika, avian flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H1N1 (swine flu) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and perceived negative impacts of tourism on local cultures and the environment;

cyber-attacks;

climate change or availability of natural resources;

natural or man-made disasters and extreme weather conditions, including earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes (e.g., hurricanes Florence, Lane and Michael in 2018), typhoons, floods, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, oil spills and nuclear incidents;

changes in the desirability of particular locations or travel patterns of customers; and

organized labor activities, which could cause a diversion of business from hotels involved in labor negotiations and loss of business for our hotels generally as a result of certain labor tactics.

Any one or more of these factors could limit or reduce overall demand for our products and services or could negatively affect our revenue sources, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Contraction in the global economy or low levels of economic growth could adversely affect our revenues and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.

Consumer demand for our services is closely linked to the performance of the general economy and is sensitive to business and personal discretionary spending levels. Decreased global or regional demand for hospitality products and services can be especially pronounced during periods of economic contraction or low levels of economic growth, and the recovery period in our industry may lag overall economic improvement. Declines in demand for our products and services due to general economic conditions could negatively affect our business by limiting the amount of fee revenues we are able to generate from our managed and franchised properties and decreasing the revenues and profitability of our owned and leased properties. In addition, many of the expenses associated with our business, including personnel costs, interest, rent, property taxes, insurance and utilities, are relatively fixed. During a period of overall economic weakness, if we are unable to meaningfully decrease these costs as demand for our hotels decreases, our business operations and financial performance and results may be adversely affected.

 

14


The hospitality industry is subject to seasonal and cyclical volatility, which may contribute to fluctuations in our results of operations and financial condition.

The hospitality industry is seasonal in nature. The periods during which our properties experience higher revenues vary from property to property, depending principally upon their location, type of property and competitive mix within the specific location. Based on historical results, we generally expect our revenues to be lower in the first quarter of each year than in each of the three subsequent quarters. In addition, the hospitality industry is cyclical and demand generally follows the general economy on a lagged basis. The seasonality and cyclicality of our industry may contribute to fluctuations in our results of operations and financial condition.

Because we operate in a highly competitive industry, our revenues or profits could be harmed if we are unable to compete effectively.

The segments of the hospitality industry in which we operate are subject to intense competition. Our principal competitors are other operators of luxury, full-service and focused-service hotels, including other major hospitality chains with well-established and recognized brands. We also compete against smaller hotel chains, independent and local hotel owners and operators, home and apartment sharing services and timeshare operators. If we are unable to compete successfully, our revenues or profits may decline.

Competition for hotel guests

We face competition for individual guests, group reservations and conference business. We compete for these customers based primarily on brand name recognition and reputation, as well as location, rates for hotel rooms, food and beverage and other services, property size and availability of rooms and conference space, quality of the accommodations, customer satisfaction, amenities and the ability to earn and redeem loyalty program points. Our competitors may have greater commercial, financial and marketing resources and more efficient technology platforms, which could allow them to improve their properties and expand and improve their marketing efforts in ways that could affect our ability to compete for guests effectively, or they could offer a type of lodging product that customers find attractive but that we do not offer.

Competition for management and franchise contracts

We compete to enter into management and franchise contracts. Our ability to compete effectively is based primarily on the value and quality of our management services, brand name recognition and reputation, our ability and willingness to invest capital, availability of suitable properties in certain geographic areas, and the overall economic terms of our contracts and the economic advantages to the property owner of retaining our management services and using our brands. If the properties that we manage or franchise perform less successfully than those of our competitors, if we are unable to offer terms as favorable as those offered by our competitors, or if the availability of suitable properties is limited, our ability to compete effectively for new management or franchise contracts could be reduced.

Any deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands could have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our brands and our reputation are among our most important assets. Our ability to attract and retain guests depends, in part, on the public recognition of our brands and their associated reputation. In addition, the success of our hotel owners’ businesses and the amount of payments to us for the assets and services we provide them may depend on the strength and reputation of our brands. If our brands become obsolete or consumers view them as unfashionable, unsustainable or lacking in consistency and quality, we may be unable to attract guests to our hotels, and may further be unable to attract or retain our hotel owners.

Changes in ownership or management practices, the occurrence of accidents or injuries, cyber-attacks, security breaches, natural disasters, crime, individual guest, owner or employee notoriety or similar events at our hotels and resorts can harm our reputation, create adverse publicity and cause a loss of consumer confidence in our business. Because of the global nature of our brands and the broad expanse of our business and hotel locations, events occurring in one location could negatively affect the reputation and operations of otherwise successful individual locations. In addition, the expansion of social media has compounded the potential scope of negative publicity by increasing the speed and expanse of information dissemination. Many social media platforms publish content immediately and without filtering or verifying the accuracy of that content. A negative incident at one hotel could have far-reaching effects, including lost sales, customer boycotts, loss of development opportunities, and employee difficulties. Such an incident also could subject us to legal actions, including litigation, governmental

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investigations or penalties, along with the resulting additional adverse publicity. A perceived decline in the quality of our brands or damage to our reputation could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business is subject to risks related to doing business with third-party property owners that could adversely affect our reputation, operational results or prospects for growth.

Unless we maintain good relationships with third-party hotel owners and renew or enter into new management and franchise contracts, we may be unable to expand our presence and our business, financial condition and results of operations may suffer.

Our business depends on our ability to establish and maintain long-term, positive relationships with third-party property owners and our ability to enter into new and renew management and franchise contracts. Although our management and franchise contracts are typically long-term arrangements, hotel owners may be able to terminate the contracts under certain circumstances, including the failure to meet specified financial or performance criteria. Our ability to meet these financial and performance criteria is subject to, among other things, risks common to the overall hospitality industry, including factors outside of our control. In addition, negative management and franchise pricing trends could adversely affect our ability to negotiate with hotel owners. If we fail to maintain and renew existing management and franchise contracts or enter into new contracts on favorable terms, we may be unable to expand our presence and our business, and our financial condition and results of operations may suffer.

Our business is subject to real estate investment risks for third-party owners that could adversely affect our operational results and our prospects for growth.

Growth of our business is affected, and may potentially be limited, by factors influencing real estate development generally, including site availability, financing, planning, zoning and other local approvals. In addition, market factors such as projected room occupancy, changes in growth in demand for customers compared to projected supply, geographic area restrictions in management and franchise contracts, costs of construction and anticipated room rate structure, if not managed effectively by our third-party owners could adversely affect the growth of our management and franchise business.

 
If our third-party property owners are unable to repay or refinance loans secured by the mortgaged properties, or to obtain financing adequate to fund current operations or growth plans, our revenues, profits and capital resources could be reduced and our business could be harmed.

Many of our third-party property owners pledged their properties as collateral for mortgage loans entered into at the time of development, purchase or refinancing. If our third-party property owners are unable to repay or refinance maturing indebtedness on favorable terms or at all, their lenders could declare a default, accelerate the related debt and repossess the property. While we maintain certain contractual protections, repossession could result in the termination of our management or franchise contract or eliminate revenues and cash flows from the property. In addition, the owners of managed and franchised hotels depend on financing to develop or buy and improve hotels and in some cases, fund operations during down cycles. Our hotel owners’ inability to obtain adequate funding could materially adversely affect the maintenance and improvement plans of existing hotels, result in the delay or stoppage of the development of our existing development pipeline and limit additional development to further expand our hotel portfolio.

If our third-party property owners fail to make investments necessary to maintain or improve their properties, guest preference for Hilton brands and reputation and performance results could suffer.

Substantially all of our management and franchise contracts, as well as our license agreement with HGV, require third-party property owners to comply with quality and reputation standards of our brands, which include requirements related to the physical condition, use of technology, safety standards and appearance of the properties as well as the service levels provided by hotel employees. These standards may evolve with customer preference, or we may introduce new requirements over time. If our property owners fail to make investments necessary to maintain or improve the properties in accordance with our standards, guest preference for our brands could diminish. In addition, if third-party property owners fail to observe standards or meet their contractual requirements, we may elect to exercise our termination rights, which would eliminate revenues from these properties and cause us to incur expenses related to terminating these contracts. We may be unable to find suitable or offsetting replacements for any terminated relationships.


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Contractual and other disagreements with third-party property owners could make us liable to them or result in litigation costs or other expenses.

Our management and franchise contracts require us and our hotel owners to comply with operational and performance conditions that are subject to interpretation and could result in disagreements. Any dispute with a property owner could be very expensive for us, even if the outcome is ultimately in our favor. We cannot predict the outcome of any arbitration or litigation, the effect of any negative judgment against us or the amount of any settlement that we may enter into with any third party. Furthermore, specific to our industry, some courts have applied principles of agency law and related fiduciary standards to managers of third-party hotel properties, which means that property owners may assert the right to terminate contracts even where the contracts do not expressly provide for termination. Our fees from any terminated property would be eliminated, and accordingly may negatively affect our results of operations.

Some of our existing development pipeline may not be developed into new hotels, which could materially adversely affect our growth prospects.

As of December 31, 2018, we had more than 2,400 hotels in our development pipeline, which we define as hotels under construction or approved for development under one of our brands. The commitments of owners and developers with whom we have contracts are subject to numerous conditions, and the eventual development and construction of our development pipeline not currently under construction is subject to numerous risks, including, in certain cases, the owner's or developer's ability to obtain adequate financing and obtaining governmental or regulatory approvals. As a result, not every hotel in our development pipeline may develop into a new hotel that enters our system.

New hotel brands or non-hotel branded concepts that we launch in the future may not be as successful as we anticipate, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Since 2011, we have launched seven new brands: Home2 Suites by Hilton; Curio Collection by Hilton; Canopy by Hilton; Tru by Hilton; Tapestry Collection by Hilton; Motto by Hilton and, most recently, LXR Hotels & Resorts. We may continue to build our portfolio by launching new hotel and non-hotel brands in the future. In addition, the Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and Hampton by Hilton brands have been expanding into new jurisdictions outside the United States over the past several years. We may continue to expand existing brands into new international markets. New hotel products or concepts or brand expansions may not be accepted by hotel owners, franchisees or customers and we cannot guarantee the level of acceptance any new brand will have in the development and consumer marketplaces. If new branded hotel products, non-hotel branded concepts or brand expansions are not as successful as we anticipate, we may not recover the costs we incurred in their development or expansion, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

The risks resulting from investments in owned and leased real estate could increase our costs, reduce our profits and limit our ability to respond to market conditions.

Our investments in owned and leased real property (including through joint ventures) subject us to various risks that may not be applicable to managed or franchised properties, including:

governmental regulations relating to real estate ownership or operations, including tax, environmental, zoning and eminent domain laws;

 
fluctuations or loss in value of real estate or potential impairments in the value of our assets due to changes in market conditions in the area in which real estate or assets are located;

increased potential civil liability for accidents or other occurrences on owned or leased properties;

the ongoing need for capital improvements and expenditures funded by us to maintain or upgrade properties and contractual requirements to deliver properties back to landlords in a particular state of repair and condition at the end of a lease term;

periodic total or partial closures due to renovations and facility improvements;

risks associated with any mortgage debt, including the possibility of default, fluctuating interest rate levels and uncertainties in the availability of replacement financing;

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contingent liabilities that exist after we have exited a property;

costs linked to the employment and management of staff to run and operate an owned or leased property; and

the relative illiquidity of real estate compared to some other assets.

The negative effect on profitability and cash flow from declines in revenues is more pronounced in owned or leased properties because we, as the owner or lessee, bear the risk of their high fixed-cost structure. Further, during times of economic distress, declining demand and declining earnings often result in declining asset values, and we may not be able to sell properties on favorable terms or at all. Accordingly, we may not be able to adjust our owned and leased property portfolio promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions.

Our efforts to develop, redevelop or renovate our owned and leased properties could be delayed or become more expensive than anticipated.

Certain of our owned and leased properties were constructed many years ago. The condition of aging properties could negatively affect our ability to attract guests or result in higher operating and capital costs, either of which could reduce revenues or profits from these properties. There can be no assurance that our planned replacements and repairs will occur, or even if completed, will result in improved performance. In addition, these efforts are subject to a number of risks, including:

construction delays or cost overruns (including labor and materials);

obtaining zoning, occupancy and other required permits or authorizations;

changes in economic conditions that may result in weakened or lack of demand for improvements that we make or negative project returns;

governmental restrictions on the size or kind of development;

volatility in the debt and capital markets that may limit our ability to raise capital for projects or improvements;

lack of availability of rooms or meeting spaces for revenue-generating activities during construction, modernization or renovation projects;

force majeure events, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods or tsunamis, or acts of terrorism; and

design defects that could increase costs.

If our properties are not updated to meet guest preferences, if properties under development or renovation are delayed in opening as scheduled, or if renovation investments adversely affect or fail to improve performance, our operations and financial results could be negatively affected.

Our properties may not be permitted to be rebuilt if destroyed.

Certain of our properties may qualify as legally-permissible nonconforming uses and improvements. If a substantial portion of any such property were to be destroyed by fire or other casualty, we might not be permitted to rebuild that property as it now exists or at all, regardless of the availability of insurance proceeds. Any loss of this nature, whether insured or not, could materially adversely affect our results of operations and prospects.

We have investments in joint venture projects, which limits our ability to manage third-party risks associated with these projects.

In most cases, we are minority participants and do not control the decisions of the joint ventures in which we are involved. Therefore, joint venture investments may involve risks such as the possibility that a co-venturer in an investment might become bankrupt, be unable to meet its capital contribution obligations, have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with our business interests or goals or take actions that are contrary to our instructions or to applicable laws and regulations. In addition, we may be unable to take action without the approval of our joint venture partners, or our joint venture partners could take actions binding on the joint venture without our consent. Consequently, actions by a co-venturer or other

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third party could expose us to claims for damages, financial penalties and reputational harm, any of which could adversely affect our business and operations. In addition, we may agree to guarantee indebtedness incurred by a joint venture or co-venturer or provide standard indemnifications to lenders for loss liability or damage occurring as a result of our actions or actions of the joint venture or other co-venturers. Such a guarantee or indemnity may be on a joint and several basis with a co-venturer, in which case we may be liable in the event that our co-venturer defaults on its guarantee obligation. The non-performance of a co-venturer's obligations may cause losses to us in excess of the capital we initially may have invested or committed.

Although our joint ventures may generate positive cash flow, in some cases they may be unable to distribute that cash to us or the other joint venture partners. Additionally, in some cases our joint venture partners control distributions and may choose to leave capital in the joint venture rather than distribute it. Because our ability to generate liquidity from our joint ventures depends in part on their ability to distribute capital to us, our failure to receive distributions from our joint venture partners could reduce our cash flow return on these investments.

Failures in, material damage to, or interruptions in our information technology systems, software or websites and difficulties in updating our existing software or developing or implementing new software could have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.

We depend heavily upon our information technology systems in the conduct of our business. We develop, own and license or otherwise contract for sophisticated technology systems and services for property management, procurement, finance, human resources, reservations, distribution and the operation of the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Such systems are subject to, among other things, damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, third party criminal activity including "ransomware" or other malware, and natural and man-made disasters. Although we have a cold disaster recovery site in a separate location to back up our core reservation, distribution and financial systems, substantially all of our data center operations are currently located in a single facility. Although we are migrating portions of our operations to cloud-based providers while simultaneously building and operating new applications and services with those cloud-based providers, any loss or damage to our primary facility could result in operational disruption and data loss as we transfer production operations to our disaster recovery site. Damage or interruption to our information systems may require a significant investment to update, remediate or replace with alternate systems, and we may suffer interruptions in our operations as a result. In addition, costs and potential problems or interruptions associated with the implementation of new or upgraded systems and technology or with maintenance or support of existing systems could also disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations. Any material interruptions or failures in our systems, including those that may result from our failure to adequately develop, implement and maintain a robust disaster recovery plan and backup systems could severely affect our ability to conduct normal business operations and, as a result, have a material adverse effect on our business operations and financial performance.

We rely on third parties for the performance of a significant portion of our information technology functions worldwide. In particular, our reservation and distribution system relies on data communications networks and systems operated by unaffiliated third parties. The success of our business depends in part on maintaining our relationships with these third parties and their continuing ability to perform these functions and services in a timely and satisfactory manner. If we experience a loss or disruption in the provision of any of these functions or services, or they are not performed in a satisfactory manner, we may have difficulty in finding alternate providers on terms favorable to us, in a timely manner or at all, and our business could be adversely affected.

We rely on certain software vendors to maintain and periodically upgrade many of these systems so that they can continue to support our business. The software programs supporting many of our systems were licensed to us by independent software developers. The inability of these developers or us to continue to maintain and upgrade these information systems and software programs would disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations if we were unable to convert to alternate systems in an efficient and timely manner.

We are vulnerable to various risks and uncertainties associated with our websites and mobile applications, including changes in required technology interfaces, website and mobile application downtime and other technical failures, costs and issues as we upgrade our website software and mobile applications. Additional risks include computer malware, changes in applicable federal, state and international regulations, security breaches, legal claims related to our website operations and e-commerce fulfillment and other consumer privacy concerns. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks and uncertainties could reduce website and mobile application sales and have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.


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Cyber-attacks could have a disruptive effect on our business.

From time to time we and our third-party service providers experience cyber-attacks, attempted and actual breaches of our or their information technology systems and networks or similar events, which could result in a loss of sensitive business or customer information, systems interruption or the disruption of our operations. The techniques that are used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently and may be difficult to detect for long periods of time, and despite our deployment of cyber-attack prevention and detection techniques, we are accordingly unable to anticipate and prevent all data security incidents. We have in the past been subject to cyber-attacks and expect that we will be subject to additional cyber-attacks in the future and may experience data breaches.

Even if we are fully compliant with legal standards and contractual or other requirements, we still may not be able to prevent security breaches involving sensitive data. The sophistication of efforts by hackers to gain unauthorized access to information systems has continued to increase in recent years and may continue to do so. Breaches, thefts, losses or fraudulent uses of customer, employee or company data could cause consumers to lose confidence in the security of our websites, mobile applications, point of sale systems and other information technology systems and choose not to purchase from us. Such security breaches also could expose us to risks of data loss, business disruption, litigation and other costs or liabilities, any of which could adversely affect our business.

We are exposed to risks and costs associated with protecting the integrity and security of our guests’ personal data and other sensitive information.

We are subject to various risks and costs associated with the collection, handling, storage and transmission of sensitive information, including those related to compliance with U.S. and foreign data collection and privacy laws and other contractual obligations, as well as those associated with the compromise of our systems collecting such information. For example, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), which became effective in May 2018 and replaced the data protection laws of each EU member state, requires companies to meet new and more stringent requirements regarding the handling of personal data, and failure to meet the GDPR requirements could result in penalties of up to four percent of worldwide revenue. We collect internal and customer data, including credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information for a variety of important business purposes, including managing our workforce, providing requested products and services and maintaining guest preferences to enhance customer service and for marketing and promotion purposes. We could be exposed to fines, penalties, restrictions, litigation, reputational harm or other expenses, or other adverse effects on our business, due to failure to protect our guests' personal data and other sensitive information or failure to maintain compliance with the various U.S. and foreign data collection and privacy laws or with credit card industry standards or other applicable data security standards.

In addition, U.S. states and the federal government have enacted additional laws and regulations to protect consumers against identity theft. These laws and similar laws in other jurisdictions have increased the costs of doing business, and failure on our part to implement appropriate safeguards or to detect and provide prompt notice of unauthorized access as required by some of these laws could subject us to potential claims for damages and other remedies. If we were required to pay any significant amounts in satisfaction of claims under these laws, or if we were forced to cease our business operations for any length of time as a result of our inability to comply fully with any such law, our business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Failure to keep pace with developments in technology could adversely affect our operations or competitive position.

The hospitality industry demands the use of sophisticated technology and systems for property management, brand assurance and compliance, procurement, reservation systems, operation of our guest loyalty programs, distribution of hotel resources to current and future customers and guest amenities. These technologies may require refinements and upgrades, and third parties may cease support of systems that are currently in use. The development and maintenance of these technologies may require significant investment by us. As various systems and technologies become outdated or new technology is required, we may not be able to replace or introduce them as quickly as needed or in a cost-effective and timely manner. We may not achieve the benefits we may have been anticipating from any new technology or system.


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We may seek to expand through acquisitions of and investments in other businesses and properties, or through alliances, and we may also seek to divest some of our properties and other assets. These acquisition and disposition activities may be unsuccessful or divert management’s attention.

We may consider strategic and complementary acquisitions of and investments in other hotel or hospitality brands, businesses, properties or other assets. Furthermore, we may pursue these opportunities in alliance with existing or prospective owners of managed or franchised properties. In many cases, we will be competing for these opportunities with third parties that may have substantially greater financial resources than us. Acquisitions or investments in brands, businesses, properties or assets as well as third-party alliances are subject to risks that could affect our business, including risks related to:

issuing shares of stock that could dilute the interests of our existing stockholders;

spending cash and incurring debt;

assuming contingent liabilities; or

creating additional expenses.

We may not be able to identify opportunities or complete transactions on commercially reasonable terms or at all or we may not actually realize any anticipated benefits from such acquisitions, investments or alliances. Similarly, we may not be able to obtain financing for acquisitions or investments on attractive terms or at all, or the ability to obtain financing may be restricted by the terms of our indebtedness. In addition, the success of any acquisition or investment also will depend, in part, on our ability to integrate the acquisition or investment with our existing operations.

We also may divest certain properties or assets, and any such divestments may yield lower than expected returns or otherwise fail to achieve the benefits we expect. In some circumstances, sales of properties or other assets may result in losses. Upon sales of properties or assets, we may become subject to contractual indemnity obligations, incur material tax liabilities or, as a result of required debt repayment, face a shortage of liquidity. Finally, any acquisitions, investments or dispositions could demand significant attention from management that would otherwise be available for business operations, which could harm our business.

Failure to comply with marketing and advertising laws, including with regard to direct marketing, could result in fines or place restrictions on our business.

We rely on a variety of direct marketing techniques, including telemarketing, email and social media marketing and postal mailings, and we are subject to various laws and regulations in the U.S. and internationally that govern marketing and advertising practices. Any further restrictions in laws and court or agency interpretations of such laws, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, and various U.S. state laws, new laws, or international data protection laws, such as the EU GDPR, that govern these activities could adversely affect current or planned marketing activities and cause us to change our marketing strategy. If this occurs, we may not be able to develop adequate alternative marketing strategies, which could affect our ability to maintain relationships with our customers and acquire new customers. We also obtain access to names of potential customers from travel service providers or other companies, and we market to some individuals on these lists directly or through other companies’ marketing materials. If access to these lists were prohibited or otherwise restricted, our ability to develop new customers and introduce them to products could be impaired.

The growth of internet reservation channels could adversely affect our business and profitability.

A significant percentage of hotel rooms for individual guests are booked through internet travel intermediaries, to whom we commit to pay various commissions and transaction fees for sales of our rooms through their systems. Search engines and peer-to-peer inventory sources also provide online travel services that compete with our business. If these bookings increase, certain hospitality intermediaries may be able to obtain higher commissions, reduced room rates or other significant concessions from us or our franchisees. These hospitality intermediaries also may reduce these bookings by de-ranking our hotels in search results on their platforms, and other online providers may divert business away from our hotels. Although our contracts with many hospitality intermediaries limit transaction fees for hotels, there can be no assurance that we will be able to renegotiate these contracts upon their expiration with terms as favorable as the provisions that existed before the expiration, replacement or renegotiation. Moreover, hospitality intermediaries generally employ aggressive marketing strategies, including expending significant resources for online and television advertising campaigns to drive consumers to their websites. As a result, consumers may develop brand loyalties to the intermediaries’ offered brands, websites and reservations systems rather

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than to the Hilton brands and systems. If this happens, our business and profitability may be significantly affected as shifting customer loyalties divert bookings away from our websites, which increases costs to hotels in our system. Internet travel intermediaries also have been subject to regulatory scrutiny, particularly in Europe. The outcome of this regulatory activity may affect our ability to compete for direct bookings through our own internet channels.

In addition, although internet travel intermediaries have traditionally competed to attract individual leisure consumers or "transient" business rather than "group" business for meetings and events, in recent years they have expanded their business to include marketing to group business and also to corporate transient business. If that growth continues, it could both divert group and corporate transient business away from our hotels and also increase our cost of sales for group and corporate transient business. Consolidation of internet travel intermediaries, or the entry of major internet companies into the internet travel bookings business, also could divert bookings away from our websites and increase our hotels' cost of sales.

Our reservation system is an important component of our business operations and a disruption to its functioning could have an adverse effect on our performance and results.

We manage a global reservation system that communicates reservations to our branded hotels when made by individuals directly, either online, by telephone to our call centers, through devices via our mobile application, or through intermediaries like travel agents, internet travel web sites and other distribution channels. The cost, speed, efficacy and efficiency of the reservation system are important aspects of our business and are important considerations of hotel owners in choosing to affiliate with our brands. Any failure to maintain or upgrade, and any other disruption to our reservation system may adversely affect our business.

The cessation, reduction or taxation of program benefits of our Hilton Honors loyalty program could adversely affect the Hilton brands and guest loyalty.

We manage the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program for the Hilton brands. Program members accumulate points based on eligible stays and hotel charges and redeem the points for a range of benefits including free rooms and other items of value. The program is an important aspect of our business and of the affiliation value for hotel owners under management and franchise contracts. System hotels (including, without limitation, third-party hotels under management and franchise arrangements) contribute a percentage of the loyalty member's charges to the program for each stay of a program member. In addition to the accumulation of points for future hotels stays at our brands, Hilton Honors arranges with third parties, such as airlines, other transportation services, online vendors, retailers and credit card companies, to sell Honors points for the use of their customers and/or to allow Honors members to use or exchange points for products or services. Currently, the program benefits are not taxed as income to members. If the program awards and benefits are materially altered, curtailed or taxed such that a material number of Hilton Honors members choose to no longer participate in the program, this could adversely affect our business.

Because we derive a portion of our revenues from operations outside the United States, the risks of doing business internationally could lower our revenues, increase our costs, reduce our profits or disrupt our business.

We currently manage, franchise, own or lease hotels and resorts in 113 countries and territories around the world. Our rooms outside the United States represented approximately 27 percent, 26 percent and 25 percent of our system-wide rooms for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. We expect that our international operations will continue to account for a material portion of our results. As a result, we are subject to the risks of doing business outside the United States, including:

rapid changes in governmental, economic or political policy, political or civil unrest, acts of terrorism or the threat of international boycotts or U.S. anti-boycott legislation;

increases in anti-American sentiment and the identification of the licensed brands as an American brand;

recessionary trends or economic instability in international markets;

changes in foreign currency exchange rates or currency restructurings and hyperinflation or deflation in the countries in which we operate;

the effect of disruptions caused by severe weather, natural disasters, outbreak of disease or other events that make travel to a particular region less attractive or more difficult;


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the presence and acceptance of varying levels of business corruption in international markets and the effect of various anti-corruption and other laws;

 
the imposition of restrictions on currency conversion or the transfer of funds or limitations on our ability to repatriate non-U.S. earnings in a tax-efficient manner;

the ability to comply with or the effect of complying with complex and changing laws, regulations and policies of foreign governments that may affect investments or operations, including foreign ownership restrictions, import and export controls, tariffs, embargoes, increases in taxes paid and other changes in applicable tax laws;

the ability to comply with or the effect of complying with developing laws, regulations and policies of foreign governments with respect to human rights, including in the supply chain;

instability or changes in a country's or region's economic, regulatory or political conditions, including inflation, recession, interest rate fluctuations and actual or anticipated military or political conflicts or any other change;

political, economic and other uncertainty resulting from the U.K.'s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union (commonly known as "Brexit"), the terms and timing of which remain uncertain and could adversely affect our business;

uncertainties as to local laws regarding, and enforcement of, contract and intellectual property rights;

forced nationalization of our properties by local, state or national governments; and

the difficulties involved in managing an organization doing business in many different countries.

These factors may adversely affect the revenues earned from and the market value of properties that we own or lease located in international markets. While these factors and the effect of these factors are difficult to predict, any one or more of them could lower our revenues, increase our costs, reduce our profits or disrupt our business operations.

Failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our international operations may increase costs, reduce profits, limit growth or subject us to broader liability.

Our business operations in countries outside the U.S. are subject to a number of laws and regulations, including restrictions imposed by the FCPA, as well as trade sanctions administered by the OFAC. The FCPA is intended to prohibit bribery of foreign officials and requires us to keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect our transactions. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations and individuals. Although we have policies in place designed to comply with applicable sanctions, rules and regulations, it is possible that hotels we manage or own in the countries and territories in which we operate may provide services to or receive funds from persons subject to sanctions. Where we have identified potential violations in the past, we have taken appropriate remedial action including filing voluntary disclosures to OFAC. In addition, some of our operations may be subject to the laws and regulations of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the U.K.’s Bribery Act 2010, which contains significant prohibitions on bribery and other corrupt business activities, and other local anti-corruption laws in the countries and territories in which we conduct operations.

If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we could be exposed to claims for damages, financial penalties, reputational harm and incarceration of employees or restrictions on our operation or ownership of hotels and other properties, including the termination of management, franchising and ownership rights. In addition, in certain circumstances, the actions of parties affiliated with us (including our owners, joint venture partners, employees and agents) may expose us to liability under the FCPA, U.S. sanctions or other laws. These restrictions could increase costs of operations, reduce profits or cause us to forgo development opportunities that would otherwise support growth.

In August 2012, Congress enacted the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 ("ITRSHRA"), which expands the scope of U.S. sanctions against Iran and Syria. In particular, Section 219 of the ITRSHRA amended the Exchange Act to require SEC-reporting companies to disclose in their periodic reports specified dealings or transactions involving Iran or other individuals and entities targeted by certain OFAC sanctions engaged in by the reporting company or any of its affiliates. These companies are required to separately file with the SEC a notice that such activities have been disclosed in the relevant periodic report, and the SEC is required to post this notice of disclosure on its website and send the report to the U.S. President

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and certain U.S. Congressional committees. The U.S. President thereafter is required to initiate an investigation and, within 180 days of initiating such an investigation with respect to certain disclosed activities, to determine whether sanctions should be imposed.

Under ITRSHRA, we are required to report if we or any of our "affiliates" knowingly engaged in certain specified activities during a period covered by one of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K or Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. We have engaged in, and may in the future engage in, activities that would require disclosure pursuant to Section 219 of ITRSHRA, including the activities discussed in the disclosures included on Exhibit 99.1 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Disclosure of such activities, even if such activities are permissible under applicable law, and any sanctions imposed on us or our affiliates as a result of these activities, could harm our reputation and brands and have a negative effect on our results of operations.

In addition, we are subject to a number of modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labor reporting, training and due diligence laws in various jurisdictions and expect additional statutory regimes to combat these crimes to be enacted in the future. The impact of laws such as the U.K's Modern Slavery Act 2015, Australia's Modern Slavery Bill 2018, and France's Duty of Vigilance Law 2017 on hotel operations as well as supply chain could increase costs of operations and reduce profits.

The loss of senior executives or key field personnel, such as general managers, could significantly harm our business.

Our ability to maintain our competitive position depends somewhat on the efforts and abilities of our senior executives. Finding suitable replacements for senior executives could be difficult. Losing the services of one or more of these senior executives could adversely affect strategic relationships, including relationships with third-party property owners, significant customers, joint venture partners and vendors, and limit our ability to execute our business strategies.

We also rely on the general managers at each of our managed, owned and leased hotels to manage daily operations and oversee the efforts of employees. These general managers are trained professionals in the hospitality industry and have extensive experience in many markets worldwide. The failure to retain, train or successfully manage general managers for our managed, owned and leased hotels could negatively affect our operations.

Collective bargaining activity could disrupt our operations, increase our labor costs or interfere with the ability of our management to focus on executing our business strategies.

A significant number of our employees (approximately 31 percent) and employees of our hotel owners are covered by collective bargaining agreements and similar agreements. If relationships with our employees or employees of our hotel owners or the unions that represent them become adverse, the properties we manage, franchise, own or lease could experience labor disruptions such as strikes, lockouts, boycotts and public demonstrations. A number of our collective bargaining agreements, representing approximately 20 percent of our organized employees, have expired and are in the process of being renegotiated, and we may be required to negotiate additional collective bargaining agreements in the future if more employees become unionized. Labor disputes, which may be more likely when collective bargaining agreements are being negotiated, could harm our relationship with our employees or employees of our hotel owners, result in increased regulatory inquiries and enforcement by governmental authorities and deter guests. Further, adverse publicity related to a labor dispute could harm our reputation and reduce customer demand for our services. Labor regulation and the negotiation of new or existing collective bargaining agreements could lead to higher wage and benefit costs, changes in work rules that raise operating expenses, legal costs and limitations on our ability or the ability of our third-party property owners to take cost saving measures during economic downturns. We do not have the ability to control the negotiations of collective bargaining agreements covering unionized labor employed by many third-party property owners. Increased unionization of our workforce, new labor legislation or changes in regulations could disrupt our operations and our ability to promote services expected by customers, reduce our profitability or interfere with the ability of our management to focus on executing our business strategies.

Labor shortages could restrict our ability to operate our properties or grow our business or result in increased labor costs that could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our success depends in large part on our ability to attract, retain, train, manage and engage employees. We employ or manage more than 169,000 individuals at our managed, owned and leased hotels and corporate offices around the world. If we are unable to attract, retain, train, manage and engage skilled individuals, our ability to staff and manage the hotels that we manage, own and lease could be impaired, which could reduce customer satisfaction. In addition, the inability of our franchisees to attract, retain, train, manage and engage skilled employees for the franchised hotels could adversely affect the reputation of our brands. Staffing shortages in various parts of the world also could hinder our ability to grow and expand our businesses. Because payroll costs are a major component of the operating expenses at our hotels and our franchised hotels, a shortage of skilled labor could also require higher wages that would increase labor costs, which could adversely affect our

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results of operations and the results of hotels that we manage on behalf of third-party owners. Additionally, increase in minimum wage rates could increase costs and reduce profits for us and our franchisees.

Any failure to protect our trademarks and other intellectual property could reduce the value of the Hilton brands and harm our business.

The recognition and reputation of our brands are important to our success. We have more than 6,200 trademark registrations in jurisdictions around the world for use in connection with our services, plus at any given time, a number of pending applications for trademarks and other intellectual property. However, those trademark or other intellectual property registrations may not be granted or the steps we take to use, control or protect our trademarks or other intellectual property in the U.S. and other jurisdictions may not always be adequate to prevent third parties from copying or using the trademarks or other intellectual property without authorization. We may also fail to obtain and maintain trademark protection for all of our brands in all jurisdictions. For example, in certain jurisdictions, third parties have registered or otherwise have the right to use certain trademarks that are the same as or similar to our trademarks, which could prevent us from registering trademarks and opening hotels in that jurisdiction. Third parties may also challenge our rights to certain trademarks or oppose our trademark applications. Defending against any such proceedings may be costly, and if unsuccessful, could result in the loss of important intellectual property rights. Obtaining and maintaining trademark protection for multiple brands in multiple jurisdictions is also expensive, and we may therefore elect not to apply for or to maintain certain trademarks.

Our intellectual property is also vulnerable to unauthorized copying or use in some jurisdictions outside the U.S., where local law, or lax enforcement of law, may not provide adequate protection. If our trademarks or other intellectual property are improperly used, the value and reputation of the Hilton brands could be harmed. There are times where 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 or reputation. In addition, we license certain of our trademarks to third parties. For example, we have granted HGV the right to use certain of our marks and intellectual property in its timeshare business and we grant our franchisees a right to use certain of our trademarks in connection with their operation of the applicable property. If HGV, a franchisee or other licensee fails to maintain the quality of the goods and services used in connection with the licensed trademarks, our rights to, and the value of, our trademarks could be harmed. Failure to maintain, control and protect our trademarks and other intellectual property could likely adversely affect our ability to attract guests or third-party owners, and could adversely affect our results.

In addition, we license the right to use certain intellectual property from unaffiliated third parties, including the right to grant sublicenses to franchisees. If we are unable to use this intellectual property, our ability to generate revenue from such properties may be diminished.

Third-party claims that we infringe intellectual property rights of others could subject us to damages and other costs and expenses.

Third parties may make claims against us for infringing their patent, trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights or for misappropriating their trade secrets. We have been and are currently party to a number of such claims and may receive additional claims in the future. Any such claims, even those without merit, could:

be expensive and time consuming to defend, and result in significant damages;

force us to stop using the intellectual property that is being challenged or to stop providing products or services that use the challenged intellectual property;

force us to redesign or rebrand our products or services;

require us to enter into royalty, licensing, co-existence or other contracts to obtain the right to use a third party’s intellectual property;

limit our ability to develop new intellectual property; and

limit the use or the scope of our intellectual property or other rights.

In addition, we may be required to indemnify third-party owners of the hotels that we manage for any losses they incur as a result of any infringement claims against them. All necessary royalty, licensing or other contracts may not be available to us

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on acceptable terms. Any adverse results associated with third-party intellectual property claims could negatively affect our business.

Exchange rate fluctuations and foreign exchange hedging arrangements could result in significant foreign currency gains and losses and affect our business results.

Conducting business in currencies other than the U.S. dollar subjects us to fluctuations in currency exchange rates that could have a negative effect on our financial results. We earn revenues and incur expenses in foreign currencies as part of our operations outside of the U.S. As a result, fluctuations in currency exchange rates may significantly increase the amount of U.S. dollars required for foreign currency expenses or significantly decrease the U.S. dollars received from foreign currency revenues. We also have exposure to currency translation risk because, generally, the results of our business outside of the U.S. are reported in local currency and then translated to U.S. dollars for inclusion in our consolidated financial statements. As a result, changes between the foreign exchange rates and the U.S. dollar will affect the recorded amounts of our foreign assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and could have a negative effect on our financial results. Our exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations will grow if the relative contribution of our operations outside the U.S. increases.

To attempt to mitigate foreign currency exposure, we may enter into foreign exchange derivatives with financial institutions. However, these derivatives may not eliminate foreign currency risk entirely and involve costs and risks of their own in the form of transaction costs, credit requirements and counterparty risk.

If the insurance that we or our owners carry does not sufficiently cover damage or other potential losses or liabilities to third parties involving properties that we manage, franchise or own, our profits could be reduced.

We operate in certain areas where the risk of natural disaster or other catastrophic losses exists, and the occasional incidence of such an event could cause substantial damage to us, our owners or the surrounding area. We carry, and/or we require our owners to carry, insurance from solvent insurance carriers that we believe is adequate for foreseeable first- and third-party losses and with terms and conditions that are reasonable and customary. Nevertheless, market forces beyond our control, such as the natural and man-made disasters that occurred in 2018, could limit the scope of the insurance coverage that we and our owners can obtain or may otherwise restrict our or our owners’ ability to buy insurance coverage at reasonable rates. We anticipate increased costs of property insurance across the portfolio in 2019 due to the significant losses that insurers suffered globally in 2018. In the event of a substantial loss, the insurance coverage that we and/or our owners carry may not be sufficient to pay the full value of our financial obligations, our liabilities or the replacement cost of any lost investment or property. Because certain types of losses are uncertain, they may be uninsurable or prohibitively expensive. In addition, there are other risks that may fall outside the general coverage terms and limits of our policies.
 

In some cases, these factors could result in certain losses being completely uninsured. As a result, we could lose some or all of the capital we have invested in a property, as well as the anticipated future revenues, profits, management fees or franchise fees from the property.

Terrorist attacks and military conflicts may adversely affect the hospitality industry.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 underscore the possibility that large public facilities or economically important assets could become the target of terrorist attacks in the future. In particular, properties that are well-known or are located in concentrated business sectors in major cities where our hotels are located may be subject to the risk of terrorist attacks.

The occurrence or the possibility of terrorist attacks or military conflicts could:

cause damage to one or more of our properties that may not be fully covered by insurance to the value of the damages;

cause all or portions of affected properties to be shut down for prolonged periods, resulting in a loss of income;

generally reduce travel to affected areas for tourism and business or adversely affect the willingness of customers to stay in or avail themselves of the services of the affected properties;

expose us to a risk of monetary claims arising out of death, injury or damage to property caused by any such attacks; and


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result in higher costs for security and insurance premiums or diminish the availability of insurance coverage for losses related to terrorist attacks, particularly for properties in target areas, all of which could adversely affect our results.

The occurrence of a terrorist attack with respect to one of our properties could directly and materially adversely affect our results of operations. Furthermore, the loss of any of our well-known buildings could indirectly affect the value of our brands, which would in turn adversely affect our business prospects.

Terrorism insurance may not be available at commercially reasonable rates or at all.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which established the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (the "Program") to provide insurance capacity for terrorist acts. The Program expired at the end of 2014 but was reauthorized, with some adjustments to its provisions, in January 2015 for six years through December 31, 2020. We carry, and we require our owners and our franchisees to carry, insurance from solvent insurance carriers to respond to both first-party and third-party liability losses related to terrorism. We purchase our first-party property damage and business interruption insurance from a stand-alone market in place of and to supplement insurance from government run pools. If the Program is not extended or renewed upon its expiration in 2020, or if there are changes to the Program that would negatively affect insurance carriers, premiums for terrorism insurance coverage will likely increase and/or the terms of such insurance may be materially amended to increase stated exclusions or to otherwise effectively decrease the scope of coverage available, perhaps to the point where it is effectively unavailable.

Changes in U.S. federal, state and local or foreign tax law, interpretations of existing tax law, or adverse determinations by tax authorities, could increase our tax burden or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

We are subject to taxation at the federal, state or provincial and local levels in the U.S. and various other countries and jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rate could be affected by changes in the composition of earnings in jurisdictions with differing tax rates, changes in statutory rates and other legislative changes, 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 and foreign governments make substantive changes to tax rules and their application, which could result in materially higher corporate taxes than would be incurred under existing tax law and could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

We are subject to ongoing and periodic tax audits and disputes in U.S. federal and various state, local and foreign jurisdictions. In particular, our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2005 through December 31, 2013 are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), and the IRS has proposed adjustments to increase our taxable income based on several assertions involving intercompany loans, our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program and our foreign-currency denominated loans issued by one of our subsidiaries. In total, the proposed adjustments sought by the IRS would result in U.S. federal tax owed of approximately $817 million, excluding interest and penalties and potential state income taxes. We disagree with the IRS’s position on each of the assertions and intend to vigorously contest them. See Note 14: "Income Taxes" in our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information. An unfavorable outcome from any tax audit could result in higher tax costs, penalties and interest, thereby adversely affecting our financial condition or results of operations.

Changes to accounting rules or regulations may adversely affect our reported financial condition and results of operations.

New accounting rules or regulations and varying interpretations of existing accounting rules or regulations have occurred and may occur in the future. A change in accounting rules or regulations may require retrospective application and affect our reporting of transactions completed before the change is effective, and future changes to accounting rules or regulations may adversely affect our reported financial condition and results of operations. See Note 2: "Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a summary of accounting standards issued but not yet adopted.

Changes to estimates or projections used to assess the fair value of our assets, or operating results that are lower than our current estimates at certain locations, may cause us to incur impairment losses that could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our total assets include goodwill, intangible assets with indefinite useful lives, other intangible assets with finite useful lives and substantial amounts of long-lived assets, principally property and equipment, including hotel properties. We evaluate our goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives for impairment on an annual basis or at other times during the year if events or circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the fair value is below the carrying value. We evaluate our

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intangible assets with finite useful lives and long-lived assets for impairment when circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. Our evaluation of impairment requires us to make certain estimates and assumptions including projections of future results. After performing our evaluation for impairment, including an analysis to determine the recoverability of long-lived assets, we will record an impairment loss when the carrying value of the underlying asset, asset group or reporting unit exceeds its estimated fair value. If the estimates or assumptions used in our evaluation of impairment change, we may be required to record additional impairment losses on certain of these assets. If these impairment losses are significant, our results of operations would be adversely affected.

Governmental regulation may adversely affect the operation of our properties.

In many jurisdictions, the hospitality industry is subject to extensive foreign or U.S. federal, state and local governmental regulations, including those relating to the service of alcoholic beverages, the preparation and sale of food and those relating to building and zoning requirements. We are also subject to licensing and regulation by foreign or U.S. state and local departments relating to health, sanitation, fire and safety standards, and to laws governing our relationships with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions status and citizenship requirements. We or our third-party owners may be required to expend funds to meet foreign or U.S. federal, state and local regulations in connection with the continued operation or remodeling of certain of our properties. The failure to meet the requirements of applicable regulations and licensing requirements, or publicity resulting from actual or alleged failures, could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Foreign or U.S. environmental laws and regulations may cause us to incur substantial costs or subject us to potential liabilities.

We are subject to certain compliance costs and potential liabilities under various foreign and U.S. federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These laws and regulations govern actions including air emissions, the use, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances, and wastewater disposal. Our failure to comply with such laws, including any required permits or licenses, could result in substantial fines or possible revocation of our authority to conduct some of our operations. We could also be liable under such laws for the costs of investigation, removal or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances at our currently or formerly owned, leased or operated real property (including managed and franchised properties) or at third-party locations in connection with our waste disposal operations, regardless of whether or not we knew of, or caused, the presence or release of such substances. From time to time, we may be required to remediate such substances or remove, abate or manage asbestos, mold, radon gas, lead or other hazardous conditions at our properties. The presence or release of such toxic or hazardous substances could result in third-party claims for personal injury, property or natural resource damages, business interruption or other losses. Such claims and the need to investigate, remediate or otherwise address hazardous, toxic or unsafe conditions could adversely affect our operations, the value of any affected real property, or our ability to sell, lease or assign our rights in any such property, or could otherwise harm our business or reputation. Environmental, health and safety requirements have also become increasingly stringent, and our costs may increase as a result. New or revised laws and regulations or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations, such as those related to climate change, could affect the operation of our properties or result in significant additional expense and operating restrictions on us.

The cost of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar legislation outside of the U.S. may be substantial.

We are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and similar legislation in certain jurisdictions outside of the U.S. Under the ADA all public accommodations are required to meet certain federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons. These regulations apply to accommodations first occupied after January 26, 1993; public accommodations built before January 26, 1993 are required to remove architectural barriers to disabled access where such removal is "readily achievable." The regulations also mandate certain operational requirements that hotel operators must observe. The failure of a property to comply with the ADA could result in injunctive relief, fines, an award of damages to private litigants or mandated capital expenditures to remedy such noncompliance. Any imposition of injunctive relief, fines, damage awards or capital expenditures could adversely affect the ability of an owner or franchisee to make payments under the applicable management or franchise contract and negatively affect the reputation of our brands. In November 2010, we entered into a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice related to compliance with the ADA. Our obligations under this settlement expired in March 2015 except that certain managed and franchised hotels that were required to conduct surveys of their facilities remain under an obligation to remove architectural barriers at their facilities through March 15, 2022 and we have an obligation to have an independent consultant to monitor those barrier removal efforts during this period. If we fail to comply with the requirements of the ADA, we could be subject to fines, penalties, injunctive action, reputational harm and other business effects that could materially and negatively affect our performance and results of operations.


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Casinos featured within certain of our properties are subject to gaming laws, and noncompliance could result in the revocation of the gaming licenses.

Several of our properties feature casinos, most of which are operated by third parties. Factors affecting the economic performance of a casino property include:

location, including proximity to or easy access from major population centers;

appearance;

local, regional or national economic and political conditions;

the existence or construction of competing casinos;

dependence on tourism; and

governmental regulation.

Jurisdictions in which our properties containing casinos are located, including Puerto Rico and Egypt, have laws and regulations governing the conduct of casino gaming. These jurisdictions generally require that the operator of a casino must be found suitable and be registered. Once issued, a registration remains in force until revoked. The law defines the grounds for registration, as well as revocation or suspension of such registration. The loss of a gaming license for any reason would have a material adverse effect on the value of a casino property and could reduce fee income associated with such operations and consequently negatively affect our business results.

We are subject to risks from litigation filed by or against us.

Legal or governmental proceedings brought by or on behalf of franchisees, third-party owners of managed properties, employees or customers may adversely affect our financial results. In recent years, a number of hospitality companies have been subject to lawsuits, including class action lawsuits, alleging violations of federal laws and regulations regarding workplace and employment matters, consumer protection claims and other commercial matters. A number of these lawsuits have resulted in the payment of substantial damages by the defendants. Similar lawsuits have been and may be instituted against us from time to time, and we may incur substantial damages and expenses resulting from lawsuits of this type, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. At any given time, we may be engaged in lawsuits or disputes involving third-party owners of our hotels. Similarly, we may from time to time institute legal proceedings on behalf of ourselves or others, the ultimate outcome of which could cause us to incur substantial damages and expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 
Risks Related to Our Spin-offs

The spin-offs could result in substantial tax liability to us and our stockholders.

We received a private letter ruling from the IRS on certain issues relevant to qualification of the spin-offs as tax-free distributions under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code"). Although the private letter ruling generally is binding on the IRS, the continued validity of the private letter ruling will be based upon and subject to the accuracy of factual statements and representations made to the IRS by us. Further, the private letter ruling is limited to specified aspects of the spin-offs under Section 355 of the Code and does not represent a determination by the IRS that all of the requirements necessary to obtain tax-free treatment to holders of our common stock and to us have been satisfied. Moreover, if any statement or representation upon which the private letter ruling was based was incorrect or untrue in any material respect, or if the facts upon which the private letter ruling was based were materially different from the facts that prevailed at the time of the spin-offs, the private letter ruling could be invalidated. The opinion of tax counsel we received in connection with the spin-offs regarding the qualification of the spin-offs as tax-free distributions under Section 355 of the Code similarly relied on, among other things, the continuing validity of the private letter ruling and various assumptions and representations as to factual matters made by each of the spun-off companies and us which, if inaccurate or incomplete in any material respect, would jeopardize the conclusions reached by counsel in its opinion. The opinion is not binding on the IRS or the courts, and there can be no assurance that the IRS or the courts will not challenge the conclusions stated in the opinion or that any such challenge would not prevail. Additionally, recently enacted legislation denies tax-free treatment to a spin-off in which either the distributing corporation or the spun-off corporation is a REIT and prevents a distributing corporation or a spun-off corporation from electing REIT status for a 10-year period following a tax-free spin-off. Under an effective date provision, the legislation

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does not apply to distributions described in a ruling request initially submitted to the IRS before December 7, 2015. Because our initial request for the private letter ruling was submitted before that date and because we believe the distribution has been described in that initial request, we believe the legislation does not apply to the spin-off of Park. However, no ruling was obtained on that issue and thus no assurance can be given in that regard. In particular, the IRS or a court could disagree with our view regarding the effective date provision based on any differences that exist between the description in the ruling request and the actual facts relating to the spin-offs. If the legislation applied to the spin-off of Park, either the spin-off would not qualify for tax-free treatment or Park would not be eligible to elect REIT status for a 10-year period following the spin-off.

If the spin-offs and certain related transactions were determined to be taxable, the Company would be subject to a substantial tax liability that would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, if the spin-offs were taxable, each holder of our common stock who received shares of Park and HGV would generally be treated as receiving a taxable distribution of property in an amount equal to the fair market value of the shares received.

Park or HGV may fail to perform under various transaction agreements that we have executed as part of the spin-offs.

In connection with the spin-offs, we, Park and HGV entered into a distribution agreement and various other agreements, including a transition services agreement, a tax matters agreement, an employee matters agreement and, as to Park, management agreements, and, as to HGV, a license agreement. Certain of these agreements provide for the performance of services by each company for the benefit of the other following the spin-offs. We are relying on Park and HGV to satisfy their performance and payment obligations under these agreements. In addition, it is possible that a court would disregard the allocation agreed to between us, Park and HGV and require that we assume responsibility for certain obligations allocated to Park and to HGV, particularly if Park or HGV were to refuse or were unable to pay or perform such obligations. The impact of any of these factors is difficult to predict, but one or more of them could cause reputational harm and could have an adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and/or cash flows.

In connection with the spin-offs, each of Park and HGV indemnified us for certain liabilities. These indemnities may not be sufficient to insure us against the full amount of the liabilities assumed by Park and HGV, and Park and HGV may be unable to satisfy their indemnification obligations to us in the future.

In connection with the spin-offs, each of Park and HGV indemnified us with respect to such parties’ assumed or retained liabilities pursuant to the distribution agreement and breaches of the distribution agreement or other agreements related to the spin-offs. There can be no assurance that the indemnities from each of Park and HGV will be sufficient to protect us against the full amount of these and other liabilities. Third parties also could seek to hold us responsible for any of the liabilities that Park and HGV have agreed to assume. Even if we ultimately succeed in recovering from Park or HGV any amounts for which we are held liable, we may be temporarily required to bear those losses ourselves. Each of these risks could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

If we are required to indemnify Park or HGV in connection with the spin-offs, we may need to divert cash to meet those obligations, which could negatively affect our financial results.

Pursuant to the distribution agreement entered into in connection with the spin-offs and certain other agreements among Park and HGV and us, we agreed to indemnify each of Park and HGV from certain liabilities. Indemnities that we may be required to provide Park and/or HGV may be significant and could negatively affect our business.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our substantial indebtedness and other contractual obligations could adversely affect our financial condition, our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, our ability to operate our business, our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry and our ability to pay our debts and could divert our cash flow from operations for debt payments.

We have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2018, our total indebtedness, excluding unamortized deferred financing costs and discount, was approximately $7.4 billion, and our contractual debt maturities of our long-term debt for the years ending December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, were $16 million, $17 million and $18 million. Our substantial debt and other contractual obligations could have important consequences, including:

requiring a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures or dividends to stockholders and to pursue future business opportunities;


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increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic, industry or competitive developments;

exposing us to increased interest expense, as our degree of leverage may cause the interest rates of any future indebtedness (whether fixed or floating rate interest) to be higher than they would be otherwise;

exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates because certain of our indebtedness is at variable rates of interest;

making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness, and any failure to comply with the obligations of any of our debt instruments, including restrictive covenants, could result in an event of default that accelerates our obligation to repay indebtedness;

restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, satisfaction of debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes; and

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business or market conditions and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who may be better positioned to take advantage of opportunities that our leverage prevents us from exploiting.

In addition, certain of our variable rate indebtedness uses LIBOR as a benchmark for establishing the rate of interest and may be hedged with LIBOR-based interest rate derivatives. LIBOR is the subject of recent national, international and other regulatory guidance and proposals for reform. These reforms and other pressures may cause LIBOR to be replaced with a new benchmark or to perform differently than in the past. The consequences of these developments cannot be entirely predicted, but could include an increase in the cost of our variable rate indebtedness.

We are a holding company, and substantially all of our consolidated assets are owned by, and most of our business is conducted through, our subsidiaries. Revenues from these subsidiaries are our primary source of funds for debt payments and operating expenses. If our subsidiaries are restricted from making distributions to us, that may impair our ability to meet our debt service obligations or otherwise fund our operations. Moreover, there may be restrictions on payments by subsidiaries to their parent companies under applicable laws, including laws that require companies to maintain minimum amounts of capital and to make payments to stockholders only from profits. As a result, although a subsidiary of ours may have cash, we may not be able to obtain that cash to satisfy our obligation to service our outstanding debt or fund our operations.
 

Certain of our debt agreements impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, which may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.

The indentures that govern our senior notes and the credit agreement that governs our senior secured credit facilities impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions limit our ability and/or the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things:

incur or guarantee additional debt or issue disqualified stock or preferred stock;

pay dividends (including to us) and make other distributions on, or redeem or repurchase, capital stock;

make certain investments;

incur certain liens;

enter into transactions with affiliates;

merge or consolidate;

enter into agreements that restrict the ability of restricted subsidiaries to make dividends or other payments to the issuers;




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designate restricted subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries; and

transfer or sell assets.

In addition, if, on the last day of any period of four consecutive quarters, the aggregate principal amount of revolving credit loans, swing line loans and/or letters of credit (excluding up to $50 million of letters of credit and certain other letters of credit that have been cash collateralized or back-stopped) that are issued and/or outstanding is greater than 30 percent of the revolving credit facility, the credit agreement will require us to maintain a consolidated first lien net leverage ratio not to exceed 7.0 to 1.0.

As a result of these restrictions, we are limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We may not be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, we may not be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants.

Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above, as well as other terms of our other indebtedness and/or the terms of any future indebtedness from time to time, could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in our being required to repay these borrowings before their due date. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or are unable to refinance these borrowings, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Servicing our indebtedness will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate sufficient cash depends on many factors, some of which are not within our control.

Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness, to fund planned capital expenditures and to pay dividends to our stockholders will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. To a certain extent, this is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt and meet our other commitments, we may need to restructure or refinance all or a portion of our debt, sell material assets or operations or raise additional debt or equity capital. We may not be able to effect any of these actions on a timely basis, on commercially reasonable terms or at all, and these actions may not be sufficient to meet our capital requirements. In addition, the terms of our existing or future debt arrangements may restrict us from effecting any of these alternatives.

Despite our current level of indebtedness, we may be able to incur substantially more debt and enter into other transactions, which could further exacerbate the risks to our financial condition described above.

We may be able to incur significant additional indebtedness, including secured debt, in the future. Although the credit agreements and indentures that govern substantially all of our indebtedness contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness and entering into certain types of other transactions, these restrictions are subject to a number of qualifications and exceptions. Additional indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. These restrictions also do not prevent us from incurring obligations, such as trade payables, that do not constitute indebtedness as defined under our debt instruments. To the extent new debt is added to our current debt levels, the substantial leverage risks described in the preceding three risk factors would increase.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

 
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may fluctuate substantially and be volatile due to numerous factors beyond our control.

Our common stock is listed on the NYSE under the trading symbol "HLT." The capital and credit markets have on occasion experienced periods of extreme volatility and disruption. The market price and liquidity of the market for shares of our common stock may be significantly affected by numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. In the past, securities class action litigation has been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the price of their common stock. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and per share trading price of our common stock.

32


While we currently pay a quarterly cash dividend to holders of our common stock, we may change our dividend policy at any time.

Although we currently pay a quarterly cash dividend to holders of our common stock, we have no obligation to do so, and our dividend policy may change at any time without notice to our stockholders. The declaration and payment of dividends is at the discretion of our board of directors in accordance with applicable law after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, operating results, current and anticipated cash needs, limitations imposed by our indebtedness, legal requirements and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant.

Future issuances of common stock may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

The issuance of additional shares of our common stock, or issuance of shares of preferred stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into equity securities, may dilute the ownership interest of existing holders of our common stock. Because our decision to issue additional equity securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future issuances. Also, we cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of our common stock, or the availability of shares for future sales, on the market price of our common stock. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock, or the perception that these sales could occur, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that you might consider favorable.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated by-laws contain provisions that may make the merger or acquisition of our company more difficult without the approval of our board of directors. Among other things:

although we do not have a stockholder rights plan, and would either submit any such plan to stockholders for ratification or cause such plan to expire within a year, these provisions would allow us to authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock in connection with a stockholder rights plan or otherwise, the terms of which may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend, or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of common stock;

these provisions prohibit stockholder action by written consent unless such action is recommended by all directors then in office;

these provisions provide that our board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our by-laws and that our stockholders may only amend our by-laws with the approval of 80 percent or more of all the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote; and

these provisions establish advance notice requirements for nominations for elections to our board or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings.

Further, as a Delaware corporation, we are subject to provisions of Delaware law, which may impair a takeover attempt that our stockholders may find beneficial. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions under Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company, including actions that our stockholders may deem advantageous, or negatively affect the trading price of our common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire.

Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

33


Item 2.    Properties

Hotel Properties

Owned or Controlled Hotels

As of December 31, 2018, we owned 100 percent or a controlling financial interest in the following three properties, representing 579 rooms.
Property
 
Location
 
Rooms
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
Hilton Nairobi(1)
 
Nairobi, Kenya
 
287
Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa
 
Odawara City, Japan
 
163
Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf & Country Club
 
Templepatrick, United Kingdom
 
129
____________
(1) 
We own a controlling financial interest, but less than a 100 percent interest, in the entity that owns this property.

Joint Venture Hotels

As of December 31, 2018, we had a minority or noncontrolling financial interest in the entities that own or lease the following six properties, representing 2,459 rooms. We have a right of first refusal to purchase additional equity interests in certain of these joint ventures. We manage each of the hotels for the entity owning or leasing the hotel.

Property
 
Location
 
Ownership
 
Rooms
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
 
Chicago, IL, USA
 
12%
 
215
Conrad Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
Conrad Cairo
 
Cairo, Egypt
 
10%
 
614
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hilton Tokyo Bay
 
Urayasu-shi, Japan
 
24%
 
828
Hilton Nagoya
 
Nagoya, Japan
 
24%
 
460
Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa
 
Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius
 
20%
 
193
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
 
Dubrovnik, Croatia
 
18%
 
149

Leased Hotels

As of December 31, 2018, we leased the following 62 hotels, representing 18,682 rooms.
Property
 
Location
 
Rooms
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
 
Rome, Italy
 
370
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
 
Amsterdam, Netherlands
 
93
Conrad Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
Conrad Osaka
 
Osaka, Japan
 
164
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
 
 
 
 
Hilton Tokyo(1)
 
(Shinjuku-ku) Tokyo, Japan
 
821
Ramses Hilton
 
Cairo, Egypt
 
817
Hilton London Kensington
 
London, United Kingdom
 
601
Hilton Vienna
 
Vienna, Austria
 
579
Hilton Osaka(1)
 
Osaka, Japan
 
562
Hilton Tel Aviv
 
Tel Aviv, Israel
 
560
Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus
 
Istanbul, Turkey
 
500
Hilton Munich Park
 
Munich, Germany
 
484
Hilton Munich City
 
Munich, Germany
 
483
London Hilton on Park Lane
 
London, United Kingdom
 
453
Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
 
Barcelona, Spain
 
433
Hilton Mainz
 
Mainz, Germany
 
431
Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre
 
Port of Spain, Trinidad
 
405

34


Property
 
Location
 
Rooms
Hilton London Heathrow Airport
 
London, United Kingdom
 
398
Hilton Izmir
 
Izmir, Turkey
 
380
Hilton Addis Ababa
 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 
372
Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront
 
Vienna, Austria
 
367
Hilton Frankfurt
 
Frankfurt, Germany
 
342
Hilton Brighton Metropole
 
Brighton, United Kingdom
 
340
Hilton Sandton
 
Sandton, South Africa
 
329
Hilton Milan
 
Milan, Italy
 
320
Hilton Brisbane
 
Brisbane, Australia
 
319
Hilton Glasgow
 
Glasgow, United Kingdom
 
319
Ankara Hilton
 
Ankara, Turkey
 
309
The Waldorf Hilton, London
 
London, United Kingdom
 
298
Hilton Cologne
 
Cologne, Germany
 
296
Adana Hilton
 
Adana, Turkey
 
295
Hilton Stockholm Slussen
 
Stockholm, Sweden
 
289
Hilton Madrid Airport
 
Madrid, Spain
 
284
Parmelia Hilton Perth
 
Parmelia Perth, Australia
 
284
Hilton London Canary Wharf
 
London, United Kingdom
 
282
Hilton Amsterdam
 
Amsterdam, Netherlands
 
271
Hilton Newcastle Gateshead
 
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
 
254
Hilton Vienna Plaza
 
Vienna, Austria
 
254
Hilton Bonn
 
Bonn, Germany
 
252
Hilton London Tower Bridge
 
London, United Kingdom
 
248
Hilton Manchester Airport
 
Manchester, United Kingdom
 
230
Hilton Bracknell
 
Bracknell, United Kingdom
 
215
Hilton Antwerp Old Town
 
Antwerp, Belgium
 
210
Hilton Reading
 
Reading, United Kingdom
 
210
Hilton Leeds City
 
Leeds, United Kingdom
 
208
Hilton Watford
 
Watford, United Kingdom
 
200
Mersin Hilton
 
Mersin, Turkey
 
186
Hilton Warwick/Stratford-upon-Avon
 
Warwick, United Kingdom
 
181
Hilton Leicester
 
Leicester, United Kingdom
 
179
Hilton Nottingham
 
Nottingham, United Kingdom
 
176
Hilton St. Anne’s Manor, Bracknell
 
Wokingham, United Kingdom
 
170
Hilton London Croydon
 
Croydon, United Kingdom
 
168
Hilton Cobham
 
Cobham, United Kingdom
 
158
Hilton Paris La Defense
 
Paris, France
 
153
Hilton East Midlands Airport
 
Derby, United Kingdom
 
152
Hilton Maidstone
 
Maidstone, United Kingdom
 
146
Hilton Avisford Park, Arundel
 
Arundel, United Kingdom
 
140
Hilton Northampton
 
Northampton, United Kingdom
 
139
Hilton London Hyde Park
 
London, United Kingdom
 
136
Hilton York
 
York, United Kingdom
 
131
Hilton Mainz City
 
Mainz, Germany
 
127
Hilton Puckrup Hall, Tewkesbury
 
Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
 
112
Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor
 
Glasgow, United Kingdom
 
97
____________
(1) 
We own a controlling financial interest, but less than a 100 percent interest, in the entity that owns this property.

Corporate Headquarters and Regional Offices

Our corporate headquarters are located at 7930 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102. These offices consist of approximately 238,000 rentable square feet of leased space. We also have corporate offices in Watford, England (Europe), Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Middle East and Africa), Singapore (Asia Pacific), Tokyo (Japan) and Shanghai (China). Additionally, to support our operations, we have our Hilton Honors and other commercial services office in Addison, Texas. Other non-operating real estate that we own or lease includes centralized operations centers located in Memphis, Tennessee and Glasgow, U.K., and our Hilton Reservations and Customer Care office in Carrollton, Texas. We believe that our existing office

35


properties are in good condition and are sufficient and suitable for the conduct of our business. In the event we need to expand our operations, we believe that suitable space will be available on commercially reasonable terms.

Item 3.     Legal Proceedings

We are involved in various claims and lawsuits arising in the ordinary course of business, some of which include claims for substantial sums, including proceedings involving tort and other general liability claims, employee claims, consumer protection claims and claims related to our management of certain hotel properties. We recognize a liability when we believe the loss is probable and can be reasonably estimated. Most occurrences involving liability, claims of negligence and employees are covered by insurance with solvent insurance carriers. The ultimate results of claims and litigation cannot be predicted with certainty. We believe we have adequate reserves against such matters. We currently believe that the ultimate outcome of such lawsuits and proceedings will not, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. However, depending on the amount and timing, an unfavorable resolution of some or all of these matters could materially affect our future results of operations in a particular period.

Item 4.     Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

36


PART II

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

Market Information and Dividends
    
Our common stock began trading publicly on the NYSE under the symbol "HLT" on December 12, 2013. As of December 31, 2018, there were approximately 14 holders of record of our common stock, which does not include a substantially greater number of beneficial holders whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

We currently pay regular quarterly cash dividends and expect to continue paying regular cash dividends on a quarterly basis. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the sole discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. Because we are a holding company and have no direct operations, we will only be able to pay dividends from funds we receive from our subsidiaries.

Performance Graph

The following graph compares Hilton's cumulative total stockholder return since December 31, 2013 with the S&P 500 Index ("S&P 500") and the S&P Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines Index ("S&P Hotel"). The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our common stock and each index was $100 on December 31, 2013 and that all dividends and other distributions, including the effect of the spin-offs, were reinvested. The comparisons in the graph below are based on historical data and are not indicative of, or intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.
chart-a195df07dda95876c02.jpg

 
12/31/2013
 
12/31/2014
 
12/31/2015
 
12/31/2016
 
12/31/2017
 
12/31/2018
Hilton
$
100.00

 
$
117.26

 
$
96.18

 
$
125.58

 
$
181.26

 
$
164.19

S&P 500
100.00

 
111.39

 
110.58

 
121.13

 
144.65

 
135.63

S&P Hotel
100.00

 
121.69

 
124.09

 
130.49

 
191.06

 
154.05


Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.


37


Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The following table sets forth information regarding our purchases of shares of our common stock during the three months ended December 31, 2018:
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased(1)
 
Average Price Paid per Share(2)
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Program(3)
 
Maximum Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Program(3)
(in millions)
October 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018
580,786

 
$
73.02

 
580,786

 
$
677

November 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018
406,175

 
72.47

 
406,175

 
648

December 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018
1,336,638

 
71.11

 
1,234,593

 
560

Total
2,323,599

 
71.83

 
2,221,554

 
 
____________
(1) 
The total number of shares purchased includes 102,045 shares of common stock acquired for a total cost of approximately $7 million that were not part of any publicly announced repurchase program. These shares were retained to cover withholding taxes incurred in connection with the vesting of restricted stock awards granted under our incentive compensation plans.
(2) 
This price includes per share commissions paid.
(3) 
In February 2017, our board of directors authorized a stock repurchase program of up to $1.0 billion of the Company's common stock and, in November 2017, an additional $1.0 billion was authorized. Under this publicly announced program, the Company is authorized to repurchase shares through open market purchases, privately-negotiated transactions or otherwise in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including through Rule 10b5-1 trading plans and under Rule 10b-18 of the Exchange Act. The repurchase program does not have an expiration date and may be suspended or discontinued at any time.


38


Item 6.     Selected Financial Data

We derived the selected statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 and the selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All selected financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 have been restated to reflect the adoption of Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) ("ASU 2014-09") using the full retrospective approach as of January 1, 2016. The selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016 was derived from unaudited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and reflect the adoption of ASU 2014-09. The selected statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014 and the selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2015 were derived from audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and have not been adjusted from the basis of accounting applied before our adoption of ASU 2014-09. The selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2014 was derived from unaudited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and have not been adjusted from the basis of accounting applied before our adoption of ASU 2014-09.

The selected financial data below should be read together with the consolidated financial statements including the related notes thereto and "Part II—Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results expected for any future period.
 
As of and for the Year Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(in millions, except per share data)
Selected Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total revenues
$
8,906

 
$
8,131

 
$
6,576

 
$
7,133

 
$
6,688

Operating income(1)
1,432

 
1,132

 
868

 
904

 
708

Income (loss) from continuing operations, net of taxes
769

 
1,089

 
(17
)
 
881

 
179

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations per share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
2.53

 
$
3.34

 
$
(0.08
)
 
$
2.67

 
$
0.53

Diluted
2.50

 
3.32

 
(0.08
)
 
2.66

 
0.53

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash dividends declared per share
$
0.60

 
$
0.60

 
$
0.84

 
$
0.42

 
$

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selected Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
13,995

 
$
14,228

 
$
26,176

 
$
25,622

 
$
26,001

Long-term debt(2)
7,282

 
6,602

 
6,616

 
5,894

 
6,696

___________
(1) 
Restated to reflect the adoption of ASU No. 2017-07, Compensation – Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost, which was adopted on January 1, 2018 on a retrospective basis for all periods presented.
(2) 
Includes current maturities and is net of unamortized deferred financing costs and discount. Also includes capital lease obligations and debt of VIEs.

39



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

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. On January 1, 2018, we adopted the requirements of ASU 2014-09 using the full retrospective approach as of January 1, 2016. Except where otherwise noted, all amounts and disclosures set forth in this Form 10-K reflect the necessary adjustments required for the adoption of this standard, including the reclassification of prior period balances to conform to current year presentation. See Note 2: "Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in our consolidated financial statements for additional information.

Overview

Our Business

Hilton is one of the largest and fastest growing hospitality companies in the world, with 5,685 properties comprising 912,960 rooms in 113 countries and territories as of December 31, 2018. Our premier brand portfolio includes: our luxury and lifestyle hotel brands, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton and our recently launched luxury brand, LXR Hotels & Resorts; our full service hotel brands, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton; our focused service hotel brands, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and our recently launched urban-affordable brand, Motto by Hilton; and our timeshare brand, Hilton Grand Vacations. As of December 31, 2018, we had over 85 million members in our award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, a 20 percent increase from December 31, 2017.

On January 3, 2017, we completed the spin-offs of Park and HGV. The historical financial results of Park and HGV are reflected in our consolidated financial statements as discontinued operations. See Note 3: "Discontinued Operations" in our consolidated financial statements for additional information.

Segments and Regions

Management analyzes our operations and business by both operating segments and geographic regions. Our operations consist of two reportable segments that are based on similar products or services: (i) management and franchise and (ii) ownership. The management and franchise segment provides services, including hotel management and licensing of our brands. This segment generates its revenue from: (i) management and franchise fees charged to third-party hotel owners; (ii) license fees for the exclusive right to use certain Hilton marks and intellectual property; and (iii) fees for managing our owned and leased hotels. As a manager of hotels, we typically are responsible for supervising or operating the property in exchange for management fees. As a franchisor of hotels, we charge franchise fees in exchange for the use of one of our brand names and related commercial services, such as our reservation system, marketing and information technology services. The ownership segment primarily derives earnings from hotel room sales, food and beverage sales and other services at our owned and leased hotels.

Geographically, management conducts business through three distinct geographic regions: (i) the Americas; (ii) Europe, Middle East and Africa ("EMEA"); and (iii) Asia Pacific. The Americas region includes North America, South America and Central America, including all Caribbean nations. Although the U.S. is included in the Americas, it represented 73 percent of our system-wide hotel rooms as of December 31, 2018; therefore, the U.S. is often analyzed separately and apart from the Americas geographic region overall and, as such, it is presented separately within the analysis herein. The EMEA region includes Europe, which represents the western-most peninsula of Eurasia stretching from Iceland in the west to Russia in the east, and the Middle East and Africa ("MEA"), which represents the Middle East region and all African nations, including the Indian Ocean island nations. Europe and MEA are often analyzed separately and, as such, are presented separately within the analysis herein. The Asia Pacific region includes the eastern and southeastern nations of Asia, as well as India, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island nations.

System Growth and Pipeline

Our strategic objectives include the continued expansion of our global footprint and fee-based business. As we enter into new management and franchise contracts, we expand our business with minimal or no capital investment by us as the manager or franchisor, since the capital required to build and maintain hotels is typically provided by the third-party owner of the hotel with whom we contract to provide management or franchise services. Prior to approving the addition of new properties to our management and franchise development pipeline, we evaluate the economic viability of the property based on its geographic

40



location, the credit quality of the third-party owner and other factors. By increasing the number of management and franchise contracts with third-party owners, we expect to increase overall return on invested capital and cash available for return to stockholders.

As of December 31, 2018, we had more than 2,400 hotels in our development pipeline that we expect to add as open hotels in our system, representing over 364,000 rooms under construction or approved for development throughout 103 countries and territories, including 35 countries and territories where we do not currently have any open hotels. All of the rooms in the development pipeline are within our management and franchise segment. Additionally, 195,000 rooms in the development pipeline were located outside the U.S., and 184,000 rooms, or more than half, were under construction. We do not consider any individual development project to be material to us.

Principal Components and Factors Affecting our Results of Operations

Revenues

Principal Components

We primarily derive our revenues from the following sources:

Franchise and licensing fees. Represents fees received in connection with the licensing of our brands. Under our franchise contracts, franchisees typically pay us franchise fees that include: (i) monthly royalty fees, generally based on a percentage of monthly gross room revenue, and, for our full service brands, a percentage of gross food and beverage revenues and other revenues, as applicable, and (ii) application, initiation and other fees for when new hotels enter the system, when there is a change of ownership or when contracts with properties already in our system are extended. We also earn licensing fees from a license agreement with HGV and co-brand credit card arrangements for the use of certain Hilton marks and IP. Consideration to incentivize hotel owners to enter into franchise contracts with us is amortized over the life of the applicable contract as a reduction to franchise and licensing fees.

Base and incentive management fees. Represents fees received in connection with the management of hotels. Terms of our management contracts vary, but our fees generally consist of a base fee, which is typically based on a percentage of the hotel's monthly gross revenue and, in some cases, an incentive fee, which is based on hotel operating profits and may be subject to a stated return threshold to the owner, normally measured over a one-calendar year period. Outside of the U.S., our fees are often more dependent on hotel profitability measures, either through a single management fee structure where the entire fee is based on a profitability measure, or because our two-tier fee structure is more heavily weighted toward the incentive fee than the base fee. Consideration to incentivize hotel owners to enter into management contracts with us is amortized over the life of the applicable contract as a reduction to base and other management fees.

Owned and leased hotels. Represents revenues derived from hotel operations, including hotel room sales, food and beverage sales and other ancillary goods and services. These revenues are primarily derived from two categories of customers: transient and group. Transient guests are individual travelers who are traveling for business or leisure. Group guests are traveling for group events that reserve rooms for meetings, conferences or social functions sponsored by associations, corporate, social, military, educational, religious or other organizations. Group business usually includes a block of room accommodations, as well as other ancillary services, such as meeting facilities and catering and banquet services. A majority of our food and beverage sales and other ancillary services are provided to customers who are also occupying rooms at our hotels. As a result, occupancy affects all components of our owned and leased hotel revenues.

Other revenues. Represents revenues generated by the incidental support of hotel operations for owned, leased, managed and franchised properties, including our purchasing operations, and other operating income.

Other revenues from managed and franchised properties. Represents amounts that are contractually reimbursed to us by property owners, either directly as costs are incurred or indirectly through fees that are billed and collected each month based on the underlying hotel's sales or usage and are related to certain costs and expenses of the related properties. The direct reimbursements by property owners are for payroll and related costs where the property employees are legally our responsibility, and certain other operating costs of the managed and franchised properties' operations. We have no legal responsibility for the employees or the liabilities associated with operating franchised properties. These direct reimbursements have no net effect on operating income (loss) or net income (loss). The monthly fee that hotel franchisees and property owners of hotels we manage pay is based on the underlying hotel's

41



sales or usage and covers the costs of: (i) advertising and marketing programs; (ii) internet, technology and reservation systems; and (iii) quality assurance program expenses. We are contractually required to use these fees solely for the programs.

Factors Affecting our Revenues

The following factors affect the revenues we derive from our operations:

Consumer demand and global economic conditions. Consumer demand for our products and services is closely linked to the performance of the general economy and is sensitive to business and personal discretionary spending levels. Declines in consumer demand due to adverse general economic conditions, risks affecting or reducing travel patterns, lower consumer confidence and adverse political conditions can lower the amount of management and franchise fee revenues we are able to generate from our managed and franchised properties and the revenues and profitability of our owned and leased operations. Further, competition for hotel guests and the supply of hotel services affect our ability to sustain or increase rates charged to customers at our hotels. Also, declines in hotel profitability during an economic downturn directly affect the incentive portion of our management fees, which is based on hotel profitability measures. As a result, changes in consumer demand and general business cycles have historically subjected and could in the future subject our revenues to significant volatility.

Contracts with third-party owners and franchisees and relationships with developers. We depend on our long-term management and franchise contracts with third-party owners and franchisees for a significant portion of our management and franchise fee revenues. The success and sustainability of our management and franchise business depends on our ability to perform under our management and franchise contracts and maintain good relationships with third-party owners and franchisees. Our relationships with these third parties also generate new relationships with developers and opportunities for property development that can support our growth. Growth and maintenance of our hotel system and earning fees relating to hotels in development are dependent on the ability of developers and owners to access capital for the development, maintenance and renovation of properties. We believe that we have good relationships with our third-party owners, franchisees and developers and are committed to the continued growth and development of these relationships. These relationships exist with a diverse group of owners, franchisees and developers and are not significantly concentrated with any particular third party.

Expenses

Principal Components

We primarily incur the following expenses:

Owned and leased hotels. Reflects the operating expenses of our consolidated owned and leased hotels, including room expense, food and beverage costs, other support costs and property expenses. Room expense includes compensation costs for housekeeping, laundry and front desk staff, as well as supply costs for guest room amenities and laundry. Food and beverage costs include costs for wait and kitchen staff and food and beverage inventory. Other support expenses consist of costs associated with property-level management, utilities, sales and marketing, operating hotel spas, telephones, parking and other guest recreation, entertainment and services. Property expenses include property taxes, repairs and maintenance, rent and insurance.

Depreciation and amortization. These are non-cash expenses that primarily consist of amortization of intangible assets that were recorded at their fair value at the time of the October 24, 2007 transaction whereby we became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Blackstone Group L.P., which include management and franchise contracts, leases and our Hilton Honors guest loyalty program intangible, as well as certain proprietary technologies. These expenses also include depreciation of fixed assets, such as buildings and furniture and equipment that are used in corporate operations or at our consolidated owned and leased hotels.

General and administrative. Consists primarily of compensation expense for our corporate staff and personnel supporting our business segments, including divisional offices that support our management and franchise segment; professional fees, including consulting, audit and legal fees; travel and entertainment expenses; bad debt expenses for uncollected management, franchise and other fees; and administrative and related expenses.

Other expenses. Consists of expenses incurred by our purchasing operations and other ancillary businesses, along with other operating expenses of the business.

42




Other expenses from managed and franchised properties. Represents certain costs and expenses that are contractually reimbursed to us by property owners for payroll and related costs for properties that we manage where the property employees are legally our responsibility, or paid from fees collected from properties for certain other operating costs of the managed and franchised properties' operations, marketing expenses and other expenses associated with our brands and shared services. We are contractually required to use these fees solely for the programs. We have no legal responsibility for the employees or the liabilities associated with operating franchised properties.

Factors Affecting our Costs and Expenses

The following are principal factors that affect the costs and expenses we incur in the course of our operations:

Fixed expenses. Many of the expenses associated with owning and leasing hotels are relatively fixed. These expenses include personnel costs, rent, property taxes, insurance and utilities. If we are unable to decrease these costs significantly or rapidly when demand for our hotels and other properties decreases, the resulting decline in our revenues can have an adverse effect on our net cash flow, margins and profits. This effect can be especially pronounced during periods of economic contraction or slow economic growth. Economic downturns generally affect the results of our ownership segment more significantly than the results of our management and franchise segment due to the high fixed costs associated with operating an owned or leased hotel. Employees at some of our owned and leased hotels are parties to collective bargaining agreements that may also limit our ability to make timely staffing or labor changes in response to declining revenues. In addition, any efforts to reduce costs, including the deferral or cancellation of capital improvements, could adversely affect the economic value of our hotels and brands. Additionally, the general and administrative expenses of operating a global business also include fixed personnel costs, rent, property taxes, insurance and utilities. The effectiveness of any cost-cutting efforts related to owning and leasing hotels or corporate operations is limited by the amount of inherent fixed costs. However, we have taken steps to reduce our fixed costs to levels we believe are appropriate to maximize profitability and respond to market conditions, while continuing to optimize the overall customer experience or the value of our hotels or brands.

Changes in depreciation and amortization expense. We capitalize costs associated with certain software development projects and, as those projects are completed and placed into service, amortization expense will increase. Additionally, changes in depreciation expense may be driven by renovations of existing hotels, acquisition or development of new hotels, the disposition of existing hotels through sale or closure or changes in estimates of the useful lives of our assets. As we place new assets into service, we will be required to recognize additional depreciation expense on those assets.

Other Items

Effect of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations

Significant portions of our operations are conducted in functional currencies other than our reporting currency, which is the U.S. dollar ("USD"), and we have assets and liabilities, including those that are intercompany in nature, denominated in a variety of foreign currencies. As a result, we are required to translate those results, assets and liabilities from the functional currency into USD at market-based exchange rates for each reporting period. When comparing our results of operations between periods, there may be material portions of the changes in our revenues or expenses that are derived from fluctuations in exchange rates experienced between those periods. We hedge foreign exchange-based cash flow variability in certain of our foreign currency denominated management and franchise fees using forward contracts.

Seasonality

The hospitality industry is seasonal in nature. The periods during which our properties experience higher or lower levels of demand vary from property to property, depending principally upon their location, type of property and competitive mix within the specific location. Based on historical results, we generally expect our revenues to be lower in the first quarter of each year than in each of the three subsequent quarters.


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Key Business and Financial Metrics Used by Management

Comparable Hotels

We define our comparable hotels as those that: (i) were active and operating in our system for at least one full calendar year as of the end of the current period, and open January 1st of the previous year; (ii) have not undergone a change in brand or ownership type during the current or comparable periods reported, excluding the hotels distributed in the spin-offs; and (iii) have not sustained substantial property damage, business interruption, undergone large-scale capital projects or for which comparable results are not available. Of the 5,634 hotels in our system as of December 31, 2018, 4,218 hotels have been classified as comparable hotels. Our 1,416 non-comparable hotels included 197 hotels, or approximately three percent of the total hotels in our system, that were removed from the comparable group during the year because they sustained substantial property damage, business interruption, underwent large-scale capital projects or comparable results were not available.

Occupancy

Occupancy represents the total number of room nights sold divided by the total number of room nights available at a hotel or group of hotels for a given period. Occupancy measures the utilization of our hotels' available capacity. Management uses occupancy to gauge demand at a specific hotel or group of hotels in a given period. Occupancy levels also help us determine achievable average daily rate pricing levels as demand for hotel rooms increases or decreases.

Average Daily Rate ("ADR")

ADR represents hotel room revenue divided by the total number of room nights sold for a given period. ADR measures average room price attained by a hotel, and ADR trends provide useful information concerning the pricing environment and the nature of the customer base of a hotel or group of hotels. ADR is a commonly used performance measure in the industry, and we use ADR to assess pricing levels that we are able to generate by type of customer, as changes in rates charged to customers have a different effect on overall revenues and incremental profitability than changes in occupancy, as described above.

Revenue per Available Room ("RevPAR")

RevPAR is calculated by dividing hotel room revenue by the total number of room nights available to guests for a given period. We consider RevPAR to be a meaningful indicator of our performance as it provides a metric correlated to two primary and key drivers of operations at a hotel or group of hotels, as previously described: occupancy and ADR. RevPAR is also a useful indicator in measuring performance over comparable periods for comparable hotels.

References to RevPAR, ADR and occupancy are presented on a comparable basis and references to RevPAR and ADR are presented on a currency neutral basis, unless otherwise noted. As such, comparisons of these hotel operating statistics for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 use the exchange rates for the year ended December 31, 2018, and comparisons for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 use the exchange rates for the year ended December 31, 2017.

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

EBITDA reflects income (loss) from continuing operations, net of taxes, excluding interest expense, a provision for income taxes and depreciation and amortization.

Adjusted EBITDA is calculated as EBITDA, as previously defined, further adjusted to exclude certain items, including gains, losses, revenues and expenses in connection with: (i) asset dispositions for both consolidated and unconsolidated equity investments; (ii) foreign currency transactions; (iii) debt restructurings and retirements; (iv) furniture, fixtures and equipment ("FF&E") replacement reserves required under certain lease agreements; (v) reorganization costs; (vi) share-based compensation expense; (vii) non-cash impairment losses; (viii) severance, relocation and other expenses; (ix) amortization of contract acquisition costs; (x) the net effect of reimbursable costs included in other revenues and expenses from managed and franchised properties; and (xi) other items.

During the first quarter of 2018, we modified the definition of Adjusted EBITDA to exclude the amortization of contract acquisition costs and the net effect of reimbursable costs included in other revenues and expenses from managed and franchised properties. We believe that excluding these items is useful for the reasons set forth below and have applied the modified definition of Adjusted EBITDA to all periods presented.


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We believe that EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA provide useful information to investors about us and our financial condition and results of operations for the following reasons: (i) these measures are among the measures used by our management team to evaluate our operating performance and make day-to-day operating decisions and (ii) these measures are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties as a common performance measure to compare results or estimate valuations across companies in our industry. Additionally, these measures exclude certain items that can vary widely across different industries and among competitors within our industry. For instance, interest expense and the provision for income taxes are dependent on company specifics, including, among other things, capital structure and operating jurisdictions, respectively, and, therefore could vary significantly across companies. Depreciation and amortization, as well as amortization of contract acquisition costs, are dependent upon company policies, including the method of acquiring and depreciating assets and the useful lives that are used. For Adjusted EBITDA, we also exclude items such as: (i) FF&E replacement reserves to be consistent with the treatment of FF&E for owned and leased hotels where it is capitalized and depreciated over the life of the FF&E; (ii) share-based compensation expense, as this could vary widely among companies due to the different plans in place and the usage of them; (iii) the net effect of our cost reimbursement revenues and reimbursed expenses, as we contractually do not operate the related programs to generate a profit over the terms of the respective contracts; and (iv) other items that are not core to our operations and are not reflective of our performance.

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not recognized terms under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") and should not be considered as alternatives to net income (loss) or other measures of financial performance or liquidity derived in accordance with GAAP. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools and should not be considered as alternatives, either in isolation or as a substitute, for net income (loss), cash flow or other methods of analyzing our results as reported under GAAP. Some of these limitations are:

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs;

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect our interest expense, or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments, on our indebtedness;

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect a provision for income taxes or the cash requirements to pay our taxes;

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect historical cash expenditures or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments;