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Item 1A. Risk Factors.
We make forward-looking statements in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and elsewhere in this report based on the beliefs and assumptions of our management and on information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements include information about our possible or assumed future results of operations, which follow under the headings “Business and Overview,” “Liquidity and Capital Resources,” and other statements throughout this report preceded by, followed by, or that include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” or similar expressions.
Any number of risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those we express in our forward-looking statements, including the risks and uncertainties we describe below and other factors we describe from time to time in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We therefore caution you not to rely unduly on any forward-looking statement. The forward-looking statements in this report speak only as of the date of this report, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether due to new information, future developments, or otherwise.
Risks and Uncertainties
We are subject to various risks that could have a negative effect on us or on our financial condition. You should understand that these risks could cause results to differ materially from those we express in forward-looking statements contained in this report or in other Company communications. Because there is no way to determine in advance whether, or to what extent, any present uncertainty will ultimately impact our business, you should give equal weight to each of the following:
Our industry is highly competitive, which may impact our ability to compete successfully with other hotel properties and home and apartment sharing services for guests. We operate in markets that contain many competitors. Each of our hotel brands competes with major hotel chains and home and apartment sharing services in national and international venues, and with independent companies in regional markets. Our ability to remain competitive and attract and retain business and leisure travelers depends on our success in distinguishing the quality, value, and efficiency of our lodging products and services, including our Loyalty Programs and consumer-facing technology platforms and services, from those offered by others. If we cannot compete successfully in these areas, our operating margins could contract, our market share could decrease, and our earnings could decline. Further, new lodging supply in individual markets could have a negative impact on the hotel industry and hamper our ability to increase room rates or occupancy in those markets.
Economic downturns could impact our financial results and growth. Weak economic conditions in one or more parts of the world, changes in oil prices and currency values, potential disruptions in the U.S. economy generally and the travel business in particular that might result from the U.S. administration’s changing policies in such areas as trade, travel, immigration, healthcare, and related issues, political instability in some areas, and the uncertainty over how long any of these conditions could continue, could have a negative impact on the lodging industry. U.S. government travel is also a significant part of our business, and this aspect of our business could suffer due to U.S. federal spending cuts, or government hiring restrictions and any further limitations that may result from presidential or congressional action or inaction. Because of such uncertainty, we continue to experience weakened demand for our hotel rooms in some markets. Our future financial results and growth could be further harmed or constrained if economic or these other conditions worsen.