Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) rolls out the welcome mat for the road-weary. The real estate investment trust (REIT) owns nearly 300 hotels throughout the US and in Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as 185 full-service truck stops operating as TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers. Unlike some hospitality REITs, HPT is not affiliated with any one hotel company. Its properties target different markets, from upscale (Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts) to business and family travelers on long-term trips (Residence Inn by Marriott). HPT maintains a geographically diverse portfolio with hotels or travel centers (usually both) in nearly 45 states, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.
HPT's portfolio is also fairly stable, with a minimal number of property dispositions. Though the company has made few new acquisitions in recent years, it prefers to purchase new hotels in bulk from owners and operators that wish to divest their properties in order to raise capital but want to stay in the hospitality business. While the company manages some of its properties, the vast majority are leased. Its leases typically have terms of 15 or more years and include agreements in which property managers or tenants must pay minimum rent or returns to the company.
The REIT's revenue rose in 2010 and 2011 amid increasing occupancy rates. However, the company suffered a loss in 2010 as its tenants reported higher operating costs and lower rates per room. It returned to profitability in 2011 when those metrics improved. As a REIT, HPT is usually not subject to federal income tax, but is required to distribute up to 95% of its net income to shareholders.
HPT made a bold move beyond hotels when it acquired truck stop chain TravelCenters of America (TA) in 2007 for almost $2 billion, signifying the REIT's first foray into the travel convenience industry. While the hotel industry is cyclical, HPT wanted to capitalize on the fact that travel centers, which are located along most major US interstate highways, perform well even in recession. TA was spun off not long after the acquisition and now operates as a separate company, leasing all travel center properties from owner HPT.
The company is managed by Reit Management & Research (RMR). The real estate management company oversees one of the largest portfolios in the US with more than 1,300 properties under its supervision. – less