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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

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

For the transition period from            to

Commission File No. 1-13079

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

Delaware

73-0664379

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

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

One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee

37214

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

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

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

Name of Each Exchange on

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol(s)

Which Registered

Common stock, par value $.01

RHP

New York Stock Exchange

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

(Title of Class)

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer     

Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report

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

The aggregate market value of the shares of Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant based on the closing price of the Common Stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2020 of $34.60 per share was approximately $1,752,136,111 (assuming for this purpose that shares beneficially owned by persons other than officers or directors of the registrant, and their affiliates, are held by non-affiliates).

As of January 31, 2021, there were 54,983,526 shares of Common Stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

Table of Contents

RYMAN HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES, INC.

2020 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    

Page

PART I

Item 1.

Business

5

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

17

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

39

Item 2.

Properties

40

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

41

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

41

PART II

Item 5.

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

41

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

42

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

70

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

71

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

71

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

72

Item 9B.

Other Information

73

PART III

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

73

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

73

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

74

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

74

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

74

PART IV

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

74

SIGNATURES

79

Table of Contents

PART I

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

Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements concern our goals, beliefs, expectations, strategies, objectives, plans, future operating results and underlying assumptions, and other statements that are not necessarily based on historical facts. Without limitation, you can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts, and these statements may contain words such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “might,” “projects,” “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “continue,” “estimate,” or “pursue,” or the negative or other variations thereof or comparable terms. In particular, they include statements relating to, among other things, future actions, strategies, future performance, the outcome of contingencies such as legal proceedings and future financial results. These also include statements regarding (i) the anticipated impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on travel, transient and group demand, the anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results from operations, liquidity, collection of cancellation and attrition fees, cost containment efforts, efforts to rebook customers for later dates in 2021 and later years, and our plans for reopening and operating our Gaylord Hotels properties and other assets during the ongoing pandemic and when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides; (ii) the effect of our election to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and maintain REIT status for U.S. federal income tax purposes; (iii) the holding of our non-qualifying REIT assets in one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRSs”); (iv) the suspension of our dividend and our dividend policy, including the frequency and amount of any dividend we may pay; (v) potential growth opportunities, including future expansion of the geographic diversity of our existing asset portfolio through acquisitions and investment in joint ventures; (vi) Marriott International, Inc.’s (“Marriott”) ability to effectively manage our hotels and other properties; (vii) our anticipated capital expenditures and investments; (viii) the potential operating and financial restrictions imposed on our activities under existing and future financing agreements including our credit facility and other contractual arrangements with third parties, including management agreements with Marriott; (ix) our use of cash during 2021; (x) our ability to borrow available funds under our credit facility; (xi) our expectations about successfully amending the agreements governing our indebtedness should the need arise; and (xii) any other business or operational matters. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events.

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

2

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Risk Factors Summary

Our business faces significant risks and uncertainties. If any of the following risks are realized, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. You should carefully review and consider the full discussion of our risk factors in the section titled “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Set forth below is a summary list of the principal risk factors as of the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had and is expected to continue to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders and may have an adverse effect on our access to financial markets and our ability to service our indebtedness.
If Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager does not manage our hotel properties or other businesses successfully, our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders may be negatively impacted. Further, the operation and management of our current hotel properties, the operation of which generates substantially all our Hospitality segment revenue, is concentrated in Marriott.
Restrictive covenants and other provisions in our hotel management agreements with third-party hotel managers could limit our ability to sell or lease our hotel properties or refinance our existing debt. In addition, Marriott and any future third-party hotel manager may own or operate hotels that compete with our hotel properties.
Our concentration in the hospitality industry, and in particular the group-oriented meetings sector of the hospitality industry, exposes us to certain risks outside of our and Marriott’s control. In addition, due to the geographic concentration of our current hotel properties, we are subject to a greater degree of risk to certain factors.
The hotel business is capital-intensive, and our inability to obtain financing or successfully complete acquisitions or capital improvements, or the disruption associated with them, could limit our growth.
Our TRS lessee structure will subject us to the risk of increased hotel operating expenses and the inability of our TRS lessees to make lease payments to us.
We and our third-party hotel manager rely on information technology in our operations, and any material failure, inadequacy, interruption, or security failure could harm our business. In addition, cyber security incidents could have a disruptive effect on our business.
Our real estate assets are subject to numerous risks, including environmental regulations that could impose significant financial liability on us. Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our hotel properties and harm our financial condition. Moreover, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act could require us to incur substantial costs.
As an owner of hotel properties and operator of leisure businesses, we are subject to risks relating to acts of God, outbreaks of pandemic disease, terrorist activity and war. Also, our operating results and ability to service debt and make distributions to our stockholders may be adversely affected by various operating risks common to the lodging industry.
We are subject to risks associated with our hotel managers’ employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels whose managers employ unionized labor, which could increase our hotels’ operating costs, reduce the flexibility of our third-party hotel managers to adjust the size of the workforce at our hotel properties and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
Any failure to protect the trademarks and intellectual property used in our business could reduce the value of our brand names and harm our business.
If we fail to remain qualified as a REIT, we would be subject to tax at corporate income tax rates and would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders when computing our taxable income. As a REIT, failure to make required distributions to our stockholders would subject us to federal and state corporate income tax.

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Even though we are conducting our business as a REIT, certain of our business activities will be subject to corporate level income tax, which will continue to reduce our cash flows, and we will have potential deferred and contingent tax liabilities.
Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and increase the costs of our hedging, may cause us to incur tax liabilities, and may limit our flexibility or cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities. Further, we may be required to borrow funds, sell assets, or issue equity to satisfy our REIT distribution requirements or maintain the asset ownership tests.
Legislative or other actions affecting REITs could have a negative effect on us or our stockholders, and even as a REIT, changes in federal, state, or local tax law, interpretations of existing tax law or agreements with tax authorities could affect our profitability and financial condition by increasing our tax costs. Further, U.S. federal tax reform legislation could affect REITs generally, the geographic markets in which we operate, our stock and our results of operations, both positively and negatively in ways that are difficult to anticipate.
The ability of our board of directors to revoke our REIT qualification, without stockholder approval, may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.
Our planned use of TRSs may cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT, and if our leases of our hotel properties to TRS lessees are not true leases for federal income tax purposes, we may fail to qualify as a REIT.
If Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager fails to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor,” or if our hotels are not “qualified lodging facilities,” we may fail to qualify as a REIT.
Our dividend is currently suspended, and covenants in our current and future debt instruments may limit our ability to make required distributions to our stockholders in accordance with our announced intended dividend policy.
Our cash distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate. Further, we may not have sufficient funds to make cash distributions to stockholders at intended payment levels, and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from our operations to make distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future.
We have invested in, and in the future may invest in, mortgage loans, mezzanine debt, joint ventures or certain minority equity interests over which we may not have significant control, to or for which we may owe significant funding or obligations and for which there is no readily available market, and these investments may not be profitable.
Our substantial debt could reduce our cash flow and limit our business activities, and our indebtedness is secured by a substantial portion of our assets. In addition, we could be required to refinance our debt before it matures and there is no assurance that we will be able to refinance our debt on acceptable terms.
To service our debt and pay other obligations, we will require a significant amount of cash, which may not be available to us. In addition, any replacement of LIBOR as the basis on which interest on our variable-rate debt is calculated may harm our financial results, profitability and cash flows.
The agreements governing our debt contain various covenants that may limit our ability to operate our business and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
We are a holding company and depend upon our subsidiaries’ cash flow to meet our debt service obligations.
Our organizational documents, Delaware law and our issuance of preferred stock could make it difficult for a third party to acquire control of us and could adversely affect our stockholders. In addition, the ownership limitations in our charter may restrict or prevent stockholders from engaging in certain transfers of our common stock.
We are subject to certain general risks, including, but not limited to, risks related to our environmental, social and governance practices, class actions and other lawsuits, healthcare reform legislation, the market price of our common stock, and our board of directors’ ability to change our major policies.

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Item 1.            Business

Overview

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

Our owned assets include a network of five upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 9,615 rooms that are managed by Marriott under the Gaylord Hotels brand. These five resorts, which we refer to as our Gaylord Hotels properties, consist of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee (“Gaylord Opryland”), the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando, Florida (“Gaylord Palms”), the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center near Dallas, Texas (“Gaylord Texan”), the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington D.C. (“Gaylord National”), and the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver, Colorado (“Gaylord Rockies”), which is owned by a joint venture (the “Gaylord Rockies joint venture”), in which we own a 65% interest. Our other owned hotel assets managed by Marriott include the Inn at Opryland, an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, and the AC Hotel at National Harbor, Washington D.C. (“AC Hotel”), an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord National.

We also own and operate media and entertainment assets including the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for 95 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied live music venue and former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home; Ole Red, a brand of Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event spaces; and three Nashville-based assets managed by Marriott – Gaylord Springs Golf Links (“Gaylord Springs”), the Wildhorse Saloon, and the General Jackson Showboat (“General Jackson”). We also own a 50% interest in a joint venture intended to create and distribute a linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to the country music lifestyle (“Circle”).

Our operations are organized into three principal business segments: (i) Hospitality, which includes our directly-owned hotel properties and the results of hotel operations, as well as the Gaylord Rockies joint venture; (ii) Entertainment, which includes our Grand Ole Opry assets, the Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM, Ole Red, our other Nashville-based attractions, among others, as well as the Circle joint venture; and (iii) Corporate and Other, which includes corporate expenses. These three business segments — Hospitality, Entertainment, and Corporate and Other — represented approximately 89%, 11%, and 0%, respectively, of our total revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

Financial information by business segment and for each of our Gaylord Hotels properties as of December 31, 2020 and for each of the three years then ended appears in Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and in “Note 15 – Financial Reporting by Business Segments” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Current Status

Our business has been adversely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, all of our hotel properties are open at limited capacity, other than Gaylord National, which remains closed. All of our entertainment assets are open at limited capacity, including limited attendance for shows at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, other than the General Jackson, which remains closed, and the Wildhorse Saloon, which is temporarily closed due to the recent December 2020 bombing in downtown Nashville. Any decision to increase capacity at our assets will be made in conjunction with local health authorities and in the best interests of our employees and guests. We have taken steps to conserve our liquidity and contain costs, including suspending our regular quarterly cash dividend payments to stockholders, deferring most non-essential capital projects, including our previously announced expansion at Gaylord Rockies, and obtaining waivers under and amendments to our credit agreement as described below. For more information concerning our operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, see Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Our Strategic Plan

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

Existing Hotel Property Design. Our Gaylord Hotels properties focus on the large group meetings market in the United States and incorporate meeting and exhibition space, signature guest rooms, food and beverage offerings, fitness and spa facilities and other attractions within a large hotel property so attendees’ needs are met in one location. This strategy creates a better experience for both meeting planners and guests, and has led to our current Gaylord Hotels properties claiming a place among the leading convention hotels in the country.
Expansion of Hotel Asset Portfolio. Part of our long-term growth strategy includes acquisitions of other hotels, particularly in the group meetings sector of the hospitality industry, either alone or through joint ventures or alliances with one or more third parties. We will consider attractive investment opportunities which meet our acquisition parameters, specifically, group-oriented large hotels and overflow hotels with existing or potential leisure appeal. We are generally interested in highly accessible upper-upscale assets with over 400 hotel rooms in urban and resort group destination markets. We also consider assets that possess or are located near convention centers that present a repositioning opportunity and/or would significantly benefit from capital investment in additional rooms or meeting space. We plan to expand the geographic diversity of our existing asset portfolio through acquisitions. As a REIT, we do not view independent, large-scale development of resort and convention hotels as part of our long-term growth strategy.
Leverage Brand Name Awareness. We believe the Grand Ole Opry is one of the most recognized entertainment brands in the United States. We promote the Grand Ole Opry name through various media, including our WSM-AM radio station, the Internet and television, and through performances by the Grand Ole Opry’s members, many of whom are renowned country music artists. As such, we have alliances in place with multiple distribution partners in an effort to foster brand extension. We believe that licensing our brand for products may provide an opportunity to increase revenues and cash flow with relatively little capital investment. We are continuously exploring additional products, such as television specials and retail products, through which we can capitalize on our brand affinity and awareness. To this end, we have invested in four Blake Shelton-themed multi-level bar, music venue and event spaces named after the Shelton hit “Ol’ Red,” and invested in Circle.
Short-Term Capital Allocation. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our short-term capital allocation strategy focused on returning capital to stockholders through the payment of dividends, in addition to investing in our assets and operations. However, in March 2020, we suspended our regular quarterly dividend payments. Our board of directors will consider a future dividend as permitted by our credit agreement. Any future dividend is subject to our board of director’s determinations as to the amount and timing thereof. We are currently focused on managing our business through the COVID-19 pandemic and are limiting our non-essential capital expenditures. See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

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Description of our Hotel Portfolio

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

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

Based on our information, publicly-available information, and information and data obtained from Smith Travel Research, the top 10 hotels within the United States with the highest square footage of self-contained exhibit and meeting space as of January 2021 are as follows:

    

    

    

Total Exhibit and

Meeting Space

Facility (1)

Location

Hotel Rooms

(sq. ft.)

The Venetian Resort & Casino

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

4,028

 

2,250,000

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

3,209

 

2,100,000

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

 

Nashville, TN

 

2,888

 

640,000

MGM Grand Las Vegas

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

5,044

 

602,000

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

 

National Harbor, MD

 

1,996

 

500,000

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

Grapevine, TX

1,814

488,000

Marriott Orlando World Center Resort

 

Orlando, FL

 

2,009

 

450,000

Rosen Shingle Creek Resort

 

Orlando, FL

 

1,501

 

410,000

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center (2)

 

Aurora, CO

 

1,501

 

409,000

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

 

Kissimmee, FL

 

1,416

 

400,000

(1)Bolded facilities are owned by the Company.
(2)The Company owns a 65 percent interest through the Gaylord Rockies joint venture.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center — Nashville, Tennessee. Gaylord Opryland is one of the leading convention destinations in the United States based upon number of rooms, exhibit space and conventions held. Designed with lavish gardens and expansive atrium areas, the resort is situated on approximately 172 acres in the Opryland complex. Gaylord Opryland has a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, and a full-service spa with 27,000 square feet of dedicated space. It also serves as a destination resort for vacationers due to its proximity to the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, the General Jackson Showboat, and other attractions in the Nashville area. Gaylord Opryland has 2,888 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 127,000 square feet, 111 banquet/meeting rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 640,000 square feet. Gaylord Opryland is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being named a 2019 STELLA Award Finalist for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2020 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, and recognition as a member of Meeting & Conventions’ Hall of Fame. We opened the indoor sections of SoundWaves, a $90 million luxury indoor/outdoor waterpark with over 200,000 square feet of water attractions and amenities adjacent to Gaylord Opryland in December 2018 and the outdoor sections in May 2019.

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center — Kissimmee, Florida. Gaylord Palms has 1,416 signature guest rooms, three ballrooms with approximately 76,000 square feet, 76 banquet/meeting rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 400,000 square feet. The resort is situated on a 65-acre site in Osceola County, Florida, which we have leased pursuant to a 75-year ground lease with a 24-year renewal option. The resort is approximately a five-minute drive from the main gate of the Walt Disney World® Resort complex. Gaylord Palms has a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a new resort pool, and a full-service spa with 20,000 square feet of dedicated space. Hotel guests also have golf privileges at Celebration Golf Club, located approximately two miles from the property. Gaylord Palms is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial

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publications, including being awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Bronze Winner for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2020 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, and recognition as a member of Meeting & Conventions Hall of Fame. In 2018, we began construction of a $158 million expansion of Gaylord Palms, which will include an additional 302 guest rooms and 96,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded resort pool and events lawn, and a new multi-level parking structure. The expansion is expected to be completed in April 2021.

Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center — Grapevine, Texas. Gaylord Texan is situated on approximately 85 acres and is located approximately six minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Of the 85 acres, we own 75 acres and lease approximately 10 acres pursuant to a ground lease. The hotel features a lavish and expansive atrium, 1,814 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 115,000 square feet, 88 banquet/meeting rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 488,000 square feet. The property also includes a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a resort pool, a full-service spa with 25,000 square feet of dedicated space, and an entertainment complex consisting of an approximately 39,000 square foot venue with a performance stage, dance floor, and a two-story outdoor deck. Guests also have access to the adjacent Cowboys Golf Club. Gaylord Texan is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2020 STELLA Award Gold Winner by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines and a 2020 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine. In 2018, we completed construction of a $110 million expansion of Gaylord Texan that included an additional 303 guest rooms and 88,000 square feet of meeting space.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center — National Harbor, Maryland. Gaylord National is situated on approximately 42 acres of land located on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland, eight miles south of Washington, D.C. The hotel has 1,996 signature guest rooms, four ballrooms with approximately 103,000 square feet, 82 conference and breakout rooms, and total meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 500,000 square feet. The hotel complex includes an 18-story glass atrium, a 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center, a freestanding 24,000-square foot ballroom building offering 16,000 square feet of meeting space on the banks of the Potomac River that opened in May 2017, and entertainment options such as restaurants, shops, and a two-story rooftop nightclub. Gaylord National is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and is routinely recognized by many industry and commercial publications, including being awarded a 2020 STELLA Award Silver Winner by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, a 2020 Award of Excellence Recipient from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine, and Best of the East Award Winner from Meetings Today. Gaylord National is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center — Aurora, Colorado. As further discussed in “Note 4 – Investment in Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own a 65% interest in, and are the managing member of, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture. Gaylord Rockies is situated on approximately 85 acres and is located approximately 10 minutes from Denver International Airport. The hotel features a lavish and expansive atrium, 1,501 signature guest rooms, including 114 suites, four ballrooms with up to approximately 60,000 square feet, up to 81 breakout rooms, indoor meeting, exhibit and pre-function space of approximately 409,000 square feet, and additional outdoor meeting space of approximately 76,000 square feet. The property also includes a number of themed restaurants, retail outlets, a full-service spa, five outdoor event spaces and an indoor/outdoor pool complex. The approximately $800 million hotel project opened on a limited basis in December 2018 and on a fully completed basis in January 2019. Gaylord Rockies is rated as a AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and was awarded a 2019 STELLA Award Silver Winner for best conference center by Northstar Meetings Group and Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines.

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

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

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Description of our Entertainment Portfolio

The Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry, which celebrated its 95th anniversary in 2020, is one of the most widely known platforms for country music in the world. The Opry features a live country music show with performances every Friday and Saturday night, as well as additional weekly performances on a seasonal basis. The Grand Ole Opry House, home of the Grand Ole Opry, seats approximately 4,400, is located in the Opryland complex, and was named the Venue of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2014. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Opry House in 1974 from its most famous home in the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Each week, the Grand Ole Opry is broadcast live to millions of country lifestyle consumers on radio via WSM-AM and Sirius/XM Radio and streamed on the Internet. The show has been broadcast since 1925 on WSM-AM, making it the longest running live radio program in the United States. In addition to performances by its members, the Grand Ole Opry presents performances by many other country music artists and other acts. In 2019, we completed construction of an approximately $20 million expansion to the Grand Ole Opry House, which includes a larger retail space, additional food and beverage options, a redesigned box office, VIP lounge area with a backstage tour theater, and additional parking.

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

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

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

The General Jackson Showboat. We own the General Jackson Showboat, a 300-foot, four-deck paddle wheel showboat on the Cumberland River, which flows past the Gaylord Opryland complex in Nashville. Its Victorian Theatre can seat 600 people for banquets and 1,000 people for theater-style presentations. The showboat stages Broadway-style shows and other theatrical productions. The General Jackson is one of many sources of entertainment that is available to conventions held at Gaylord Opryland. During the day, it operates cruises, primarily serving tourists visiting the Gaylord Opryland complex and the Nashville area. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the General Jackson. The General Jackson is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The Wildhorse Saloon. Since 1994, we have owned the Wildhorse Saloon, a country music performance venue on historic Second Avenue in downtown Nashville. The three-story facility includes a dance floor of approximately 2,000 square feet, as well as a restaurant and banquet facility that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests. Marriott manages the day-to-day operations of the Wildhorse Saloon. The Wildhorse Saloon temporarily closed in December 2020 subsequent to the downtown Nashville bombing, and is currently estimated to reopen in March 2021.

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Circle. In 2019, we acquired a 50% equity interest in Circle, a media network dedicated to the country lifestyle consumer. Circle offers entertainment news, documentaries, movies, and archival, new and licensed programming, as well as Grand Ole Opry performances. We made $12.5 million in capital contributions through December 31, 2020, and the joint venture agreement requires us to contribute up to an additional $2.5 million through December 31, 2021. We made such a contribution in January 2021. Circle launched its broadcast network on January 1, 2020, with sixteen original shows and two major distribution partnerships. As of February 2021, Circle is available to more than 60% of U.S. television households via over-the-air and cable television and is available through multiple online streaming services covering over 100 million monthly average users.

Corporate and Other Segment

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

Corporate History and Structure

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

All of our assets are held by, and all of our operations are conducted through, RHP Hotel Properties, LP, a Delaware limited partnership (the “Operating Partnership”), of which we own, directly or indirectly, 99.2% of the partnership interests, including all of the general partnership interests. On December 31, 2018, we amended the limited partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership to provide that its partnership units may be exchanged on a one-for-one basis for shares of our common stock. Under certain circumstances, we may issue such partnership units as consideration to acquire hotel properties. By offering partnership units, the seller of such hotel property could defer federal income tax on any of the seller’s gains on sale, and this tax advantage may enable us to acquire hotel properties in the future which otherwise may not be available for sale.

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

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

Tax Status

As a REIT, we generally are not subject to corporate federal income tax on that portion of our REIT taxable income that we distribute to our stockholders. In addition to the requirement that 75% of our gross income for each taxable year be derived from “rents from real property” discussed above, we are subject to other organizational and operational

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

Human Capital

We create unique destination and entertainment experiences for our customers. This work requires a strong, people-centric culture that celebrates diversity, provides opportunities for growth and improves the communities we serve. Demonstrating value to our employees is fundamental to the success of our organization. Ultimately, we believe that caring for the people who work in our businesses and communities leads to a more positive experience for our guests and gives us a competitive advantage in the industries in which we operate.

Our goal is to employ a highly engaged, high performing and satisfied workforce that is happy and empowered.

Our Workforce

At December 31, 2020, we employed 995 people, including 476 full-time and 519 part-time and on-call employees in our Entertainment and Corporate segments. Fifty-five percent of our population identify as female and 45% identify as male. Women held 47% of leadership positions as of December 31, 2020. We do not have any employees in our direct employment represented by collective bargaining agreements.

Our Hotels and Managed Attractions

While our hotel operator, Marriott, is responsible for hiring and managing the workforce at our Gaylord Hotels properties, as well as the Inn at Opryland, the AC Hotel, the General Jackson, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse Saloon, we take our oversight role in ensuring fair labor management practices seriously. We receive periodic updates from Marriott concerning Marriott’s policies, and we believe they reflect our people-first approach.

Philosophy and Culture

Our people philosophy centers around creating a workplace culture where all employees feel respected, valued and inspired. We celebrate and prioritize diversity and inclusion and position employees for success with the tools and resources they need to thrive. We also actively engage employees in regular opportunities to feel connected to our company’s goals and the communities in which we operate. Our Total Wellbeing benefits philosophy includes resources to help employees live happier, healthier lives, while rewarding performance and encouraging retention.

Programs in place to reinforce our people-centric culture include, among others:

Diversity & Inclusion: We are committed to building a more diverse workforce through enhanced recruitment initiatives to attract, employ and develop minority candidates. This includes establishing relationships with local, diverse community groups and universities, along with recruiting protocols to identify and recruit diverse candidates for management positions. We are also focused on engaging our existing workforce through policies and programs promoting workplace diversity and inclusion. In 2020, we created an employee Diversity Council with cross-organizational representatives who advocate for and monitor the Company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. We also host a regular Diversity Champions meeting, open to all employees seeking to be involved in internal and external diversity and inclusion activities, including volunteer and mentoring opportunities to serve underrepresented youth in our community.

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Pay Equity: We conduct regular compensation studies with third-party consultants to make our positions competitive for the markets in which we operate, and to address such issues as compensation level differences between male and female or minority and non-minority employees.
Succession Planning and Performance Management: Our employees receive annual performance reviews. Full-time, exempt employees set annual SMART goals and are evaluated on these goals and core competencies. We also conduct quarterly talent review processes with all departments to identify high-potential individuals and create individualized development plans.
Training and Development: We conduct robust onboarding, training and development for all levels of employees focused on our guiding principles (Passion, Respect, Winning Attitude, Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Pride, Creativity and Fun). In 2019, the Company created Ryman Hospitality University, which includes a physical training space and online learning portal open to all employees. Courses offered include mandatory annual workplace harassment training for all levels, unconscious bias training for leaders, and development classes for new and emerging leaders.
Employee Engagement: The Company provides regular opportunities for employee engagement, including update meetings where full-time employees can hear directly from senior leadership about business performance and vision for the future. The meetings also celebrate employees demonstrating our workplace values. Weekly and monthly newsletter communications reinforce our people-centric culture, while regular communications from senior leaders ensure all employees have first-hand access to company updates between meetings. Two-way communication is encouraged through regular employee satisfaction surveys, CEO-led Think Tanks and focus groups designed to solicit candid feedback from employees.
Total Wellbeing/Total Rewards: We offer a competitive pay and benefits package that includes opportunities for our employees to enrich their lives and plan ahead. Offerings include health plan options for part- and full-time employees, with a generous employer cost-sharing arrangement for full-time employees; a 401(k) plan with employer match; employee assistance programs offering counselling services, financial literacy courses and many other options for employees and their families; tuition reimbursement for full-time employees; on-site wellness events, flu shot clinics and wellness fairs; complimentary tickets for our venue offerings; and on-site fitness classes at our corporate headquarters (currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Part- and full-time employees are also eligible for annual performance-based financial bonuses.

COVID-19 Response

Our commitment to our strong employee-centric culture has driven our actions from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, we proactively suspended operations at our Entertainment segment businesses as our communities worked to reduce COVID-19 spread. We extended full pay and benefits to full- and part-time employees in our operations who could not work due to the shutdown for 14 weeks and 8 weeks, respectively, while senior staff in director-level and above positions took voluntary pay cuts for the remainder of 2020. To ensure the continued well-being of our employees, we instituted regular employee meetings and communications, developed supportive policies for COVID-related leaves of absence, offered mindfulness for stress reduction classes and established proprietary health safety standards and training in partnership with Vanderbilt Health. Our corporate staff quickly adapted to a work-from-home structure. We also engaged with Vanderbilt Health to develop best-in-class safety protocols and proprietary training that allowed our businesses to safely and successfully reopen at reduced capacities by June 2020. We made this training available to other Nashville businesses through the “Good to Go” program. We continue to provide our employees with access to Vanderbilt Health experts via paid and voluntary training opportunities on infectious disease control, stress management and vaccine safety. While most of our workforce has returned to work, in 2020 we reduced our full-time workforce by approximately 15%. Approximately 35% of our workforce remains on furlough.

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Competition

Hospitality

Our current hotel properties compete with numerous other hotels throughout the United States and abroad, particularly the approximately 100 convention hotels that, on average, have over 1,000 rooms and a significant amount of meeting and exhibit space. We believe that competition among convention hotels is based on, among other things: (i) the hotel’s reputation, (ii) the quality of the hotel’s facility, (iii) the quality and scope of a hotel’s meeting and convention facilities and services, (iv) the desirability of a hotel’s location, (v) travel distance to a hotel for meeting attendees, (vi) a hotel facility’s accessibility to a recognized airport, (vii) the amount of entertainment and recreational options available in and in the vicinity of the hotel, (viii) service levels at the hotel, and (ix) price. Our hotels also compete against large municipal convention centers, including Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Washington, D.C. and Denver. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated recovery, we believe that our hotels’ expansive spaces and enhanced safety protocols will provide a competitive advantage over other hotels.

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

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

Entertainment

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

Management Agreements

Gaylord Hotels. We are a party to a management agreement with Marriott for each of our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties, as well as a pooling agreement with Marriott with respect to our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties on an aggregate basis. Each of the management agreements has a term expiring in 2047, with three automatic 10-year renewal periods (provided the applicable hotel has met certain performance thresholds). Each of the management agreements requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of gross revenues from the applicable property for each fiscal year or portion thereof. Additionally, the pooling agreement requires us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 10% of the first $15.0 million of pooled available cash flow (which is generally operating profit for the pooled hotels less an owner’s priority) plus 20% of any additional pooled available cash flow over such threshold. The owner’s priority is collectively $240 million, plus certain additional amounts, including 10% of certain non-routine capital expenditures and conversion work, and 10% of replacements of furniture, fixtures, and equipment and routine capital expenditures in excess of a reserve. If one or more of our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties were not a “pooled hotel” (i.e., if we cease to own the hotel or we lease the hotel to a third party), the thresholds used to calculate the incentive fee in the pooling agreement will be adjusted, and the incentive fee for the non-pooled hotel will be based on such hotel’s performance. The management agreements and pooling agreement also contain certain restrictions on our incurring indebtedness that encumber our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels

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properties on an individual or aggregate basis. The management agreements may be terminated earlier than the stated term if certain events occur, including the failure of Marriott to satisfy certain performance standards. The management agreements prohibit us from selling the four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties to certain persons, including any person who does not, in Marriott’s reasonable judgment, have sufficient financial resources and liquidity to fulfil our obligations under the management agreements, or any person who owns a controlling interest in a hotel brand (e.g., Hilton or Hyatt) totaling at least ten full-service hotels that are not affiliated with a brand but that are marketed and operated as a collective group, if such brand or group of hotels compete with Marriott. In addition, we may not sell a wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels property if we are then in breach of the applicable management agreement.

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

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

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

Certain Nashville Attractions. Marriott manages the General Jackson, the Wildhorse Saloon, and Gaylord Springs pursuant to management agreements. Each of these management agreements require us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of total revenues. Additionally, the management agreements require us to pay to Marriott an incentive fee of 20% of the excess of available cash flow (as defined in the management agreements) over a certain threshold. The management agreements for the General Jackson and the Wildhorse Saloon expired in 2017, with five one-year renewal options, the fourth of which was exercised in 2020, so long as neither party terminates the agreement. The management agreement for Gaylord Springs expires in 2022.

Total base management fees incurred during 2020, 2019 and 2018 were $10.3 million, $31.6 million and $23.3 million, respectively. Total incentive fees incurred during 2020, 2019 and 2018 were $0, $12.6 million and $11.8 million, respectively. Management fees are presented in the accompanying financial information net of the amortization of the deferred management rights proceeds discussed further in “Note 6 – Deferred Management Rights Proceeds” to our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Seasonality

Portions of our business are seasonal in nature. The group convention business at our Gaylord Hotels properties is subject to reduced levels of demand during the year-end holiday periods. We are not experiencing typical seasonal trends during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Regulation and Legislation

Hospitality

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

Entertainment

WSM-AM is subject to regulation under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Under the Communications Act, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, among other things, assigns frequency bands for broadcasting; determines the frequencies, location, and signal strength of stations; issues, renews, revokes, and modifies station licenses; regulates equipment used by stations; and adopts and implements regulations and policies that directly or indirectly affect the ownership, operation, and other practices of broadcasting stations. Licenses issued for radio stations have terms of eight years. Radio broadcast licenses are renewable upon application to the FCC and in the past have been renewed except in rare cases. Competing applications will not be accepted at the time of license renewal, and will not be entertained at all unless the FCC first concludes that renewal of the license would not serve the public interest. A station will be entitled to renewal in the absence of serious violations of the Communications Act or FCC regulations or other violations which constitute a pattern of abuse. WSM-AM’s current radio station license will expire in August 2028; however, we are not aware of any reason why WSM-AM’s radio station license should not be renewed.

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

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

Additional Information

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

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Information About Our Executive Officers

The following table sets forth certain information regarding the executive officers of the Company at January 1, 2021. All officers serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors (subject to, in the case of officers who have entered into employment agreements with the Company, the terms of such employment agreements).

NAME

    

AGE

    

POSITION

Colin V. Reed

73

Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Fioravanti

59

President and Chief Financial Officer

Patrick Chaffin

47

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer - Hotels

Scott J. Lynn

47

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Jennifer Hutcheson

43

Executive Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

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

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Hutcheson is the Executive Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of the Company, a position she has held since March 2020. From May 2018 to February 2020, she was Senior Vice President,

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

Item 1A.             Risk Factors

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

Risks Relating to Our Business

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had and is expected to continue to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders. Depending on its length and severity, the COVID-19 pandemic may also have an adverse effect on our access to financial markets and our ability to service our indebtedness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented restrictions on travel, group gatherings and non-essential activities, including orders and guidance issued by U.S. federal, state and local governmental authorities, such as “social distancing” guidance and Safer at Home orders. There have also been significant business closures and a substantial reduction in economic activity in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the phased reopening of the U.S. economy and the growing availability of vaccines, significant uncertainty remains as to the potential future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy as a whole, our businesses, and the lodging and entertainment industries. The longer and more severe the pandemic, the greater the material adverse effect on our financial condition, our results of operations, cash flows and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders. Further, depending on its duration and severity, the COVID-19 pandemic may have an adverse effect on our access to financial markets and our ability to service or refinance our indebtedness.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to our business and we, working with our hotel manager, Marriott, suspended operations at our Gaylord Hotels properties and substantially all of our entertainment assets by late March 2020. We have not yet reopened all of our assets, and most of our assets are operating at limited capacity. We have taken steps to conserve our liquidity and contain costs, including suspending our regular quarterly cash dividend payments to stockholders, deferring most non-essential capital projects, including our previously announced expansion at Gaylord Rockies, and obtaining waivers under and amendments to our Credit Agreement as described below, but we cannot be certain that these efforts will be sufficient to sustain our business through the pandemic.

While we were successful in amending our Credit Agreement to obtain waivers of the financial covenants and the Gaylord Rockies Loan to obtain certain other favorable modifications, as described under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations – Liquidity and Capital Resources – Principal Debt Agreements,” the Amendments also increased the interest rates under our Revolver and Term Loan A, and imposed additional restrictions on debt, investments, dividends, share repurchases and capital expenditures, and included a minimum liquidity requirement, which will increase our interest costs and impose constraints on the manner in which we do business. The amendment to the Gaylord Rockies Loan also includes restrictions on distributions to the owners of the Gaylord Rockies joint venture and requires a certain level of equity financing for a Gaylord Rockies expansion, which may increase the cost of pursuing the previously announced expansion of Gaylord Rockies. The restrictions in these agreements may prevent us from taking advantage of opportunities available to us. In the future, our access to and cost

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of financing will depend on, among other things, global economic conditions, the availability of sufficient amounts of financing, our prospects and our credit ratings. Certain of our credit ratings have been downgraded during 2020, and if our credit ratings were to be further downgraded, or general market conditions were to ascribe higher risk to our rating levels, our industry or us, our access to capital and the cost and terms of any debt financing would be negatively affected.

The material adverse effect of the pandemic on our businesses will continue during such time as any of our assets remain closed (including Gaylord National) and during phased reopenings and may continue after that time. We cannot predict how soon we will be able to fully reopen all of our Gaylord Hotels properties or our entertainment assets and operate at normal capacity when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, as our ability to reopen and to resume normal operations will depend in part on the actions of a number of governmental authorities over which we have no control. Modified social distancing requirements or recommendations have altered the way we do business during reopening, and changes may persist for an extended period of time. For example, we have implemented additional safety and cleaning protocols, and these and other changes may result in higher costs and lower profit margins at our assets. Changes we make in response to the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively affect our business, our brand reputation and ability to attract and retain employees. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, we could still experience long-term impacts on our operating costs as a result of steps we may take to counteract future outbreaks of COVID-19 or other viruses through, for example, enhanced health and hygiene requirements or other such measures in one or more properties. Some of our businesses, such as the ticketed performances at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium may be held at limited capacity for an extended period of time during reopening. Of our Gaylord Hotels properties, Gaylord National remains closed. As a result, our revenues and consolidated financial results and results of operations for periods in which our operations are subject to capacity limits and in which Gaylord National remains closed will not be comparable with periods prior to the pandemic. We have experienced a significant decline in occupancy, RevPAR and Total RevPAR and other metrics at our Gaylord Hotels properties that have reopened, and those and other declines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may continue.

Depending on the severity of the pandemic and our business levels, we cannot assure you that we will not make the decision to temporarily reclose any of our Gaylord Hotels properties or our entertainment assets in response to further outbreaks of COVID-19, including new variants of the virus.

Further, we cannot predict the full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on third parties with whom we do business, including meeting planners, Marriott, our manager, other third-party service providers, travel agencies, suppliers and other vendors, and the degree to which the impact on third parties will affect our business. To the extent these third parties are severely impacted, it may harm our business or change the way we operate.

The pace of recovery in demand and business levels following the reopening of our Gaylord Hotels properties may be affected by adverse economic conditions, including job losses, corporate financial performance, group customers’ spending and meeting budget constraints, debt loads, diminished business travel and other factors. For our managed assets, we will rely on Marriott to safely reopen, to operate these assets in a manner consistent with their obligations under their management agreements with us and to increase business levels at our properties, whether by rebooking cancelled stays for future periods or otherwise, and we cannot assure you that Marriott will be successful in doing so. Further, room bookings for future periods may yet be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we cannot assure you that Marriott will be successful in rebooking cancellations for future periods or that groups that have already rebooked to future periods will fulfill their stays. Moreover, once restrictions are relaxed or lifted, it is unclear whether consumer demand for convention center resorts, business travel, group meetings, leisure travel and country music entertainment experiences will return, in part, because we cannot predict the levels of consumer confidence in the safety of travel and group gatherings following the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have implemented new hygiene and cleaning standards, we cannot fully predict their impact on customers’ or meeting planners’ beliefs as to whether it is safe to travel and meet in groups. We cannot predict the pace of recovery of our Gaylord Hotels properties and other assets, or the timing of a return to pre-pandemic demand, occupancy, business mix or pricing.

If we determine the carrying value of our assets are not recoverable through the future cash flows associated with those assets, we could have to recognize significant non-cash impairment charges to our results of operations.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in significant financial market volatility and uncertainty, including on the market price of our common stock. A continuation or worsening of the levels of market disruption and volatility seen during the pandemic could have a further adverse effect on the market price of our common stock or our debt securities.

The extent of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and the hospitality industry at large remains highly uncertain and will ultimately depend on future developments, including, but not limited to, the duration and severity of the outbreak, the timing and availability of vaccinations and treatments to combat COVID-19, whether or not a recession occurs in the United States or globally, the state of the financial markets and the length of time it takes for demand and pricing to recover and stabilize, particularly in the large group meeting segment of the lodging industry, and normal economic and operating conditions to resume. Given the uncertainty as to the extent and timing of the potential future spread or mitigation of COVID-19 and the impositions or relaxation of protective measures, we are presently unable to estimate the full impact to our future business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition or ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

The potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic also could intensify or otherwise affect many of our other risk factors that are included in “Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequent filings, including, but not limited to, risks inherent in the hospitality industry, macroeconomic factors beyond our control, competition for hotel guests, meeting customers and customers to our entertainment assets, risks related to doing business with third parties, including vendors and suppliers, performance of our information technology systems and risks related to our indebtedness. Because the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and continuously evolving, the other potential impacts to our risk factors contained herein and that are further described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are uncertain.

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

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

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

Even if we believe our hotel properties are being operated inefficiently or in a manner that does not result in satisfactory operational metrics, we will have limited ability to require our third-party hotel managers to change their method of operation of our hotel properties. We generally will attempt to resolve issues with third-party hotel managers through discussions and negotiations. However, if we are unable to reach satisfactory results through discussions and

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negotiations, we may choose to litigate the dispute or submit the matter to third-party dispute resolution or arbitration. We would be able to seek redress only if a third-party hotel manager violates the terms of the applicable hotel management agreement, and then only to the extent of the remedies provided for under the terms of the hotel management agreement. Additionally, in the event we need to replace any of our third-party hotel managers, we may experience significant business disruptions at the affected hotel properties, and may be liable, under certain circumstances, for significant damages and/or be required to make certain payments to our third-party managers.

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

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

Revenue growth and cost synergies for our hotel operations are largely dependent on the efforts of Marriott. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marriott’s efforts to leverage its rewards program, customer channels and brands, as well as its management of demand for rooms, meeting space and banquets, resulted in revenue growth and Marriott’s efforts to reduce hotel-level costs yielded cost savings. There can be no assurance that improvements in revenue or cost savings can be achieved by Marriott during a recovery or after the COVID-19 pandemic ends or that they thereafter can be sustained.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The group-oriented meetings sector has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we believe meeting planners will continue to rebook large group meetings to periods when a vaccine is widely available, there can be no assurance as to the timing and pace of our recovery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While we have implemented security measures to safeguard our systems and data, our measures or the measures of our service providers or hotel manager may not be sufficient to maintain the confidentiality, security, or availability of the data collected, stored, and used to manage our Gaylord Hotels properties. Efforts to hack or circumvent security measures, efforts to gain unauthorized access to data, failure of systems or software to operate as designed or intended,

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

Our real estate assets are subject to numerous risks.

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

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

Environmental laws, ordinances and regulations of various federal, state, local and foreign governments regulate certain of our properties and could make us liable for the costs of removing or cleaning up hazardous or toxic substances on, under or in the properties we currently own or operate or those we previously owned or operated. Those laws could impose liability without regard to whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of hazardous or toxic substances. The presence of hazardous or toxic substances, or the failure to properly clean up such substances when present, could jeopardize our ability to develop, use, sell or rent the real property or to borrow using the real property as collateral. If we arrange for the disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic wastes, we could be liable for the costs of removing or cleaning up wastes at the disposal or treatment facility, even if we never owned or operated that facility. Other laws, ordinances and regulations could require us to manage, abate or remove lead- or asbestos-containing materials. Similarly, the operation and closure of storage tanks are often regulated by federal, state, local and foreign laws. Finally, certain laws, ordinances and regulations, particularly those governing the management or preservation of wetlands, coastal zones and threatened or endangered species, could limit our ability to develop, use, sell or rent our real property. Existing governmental laws and regulations may be revised or new laws and regulations relating to climate change, air quality or other environmental and health concerns may be adopted or become applicable to us, which could

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affect the operations of our hotels and/or result in significant additional expense and operating restrictions. The costs to clean up a contaminated property, to defend a claim, or to comply with environmental laws could be material and could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. Additionally, because we rely on third-party managers to operate our hotel properties and certain attractions, we have limited control over ensuring compliance at those locations with applicable environmental laws or regulations or approving certain remediation action taken by the manager to resolve such issues.

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

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

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

Our operating income and ability to make distributions to our stockholders may be reduced by acts of God, outbreaks of pandemic disease, or acts of terrorism in locations where we own and/or operate significant properties and areas of the world from which we draw a large number of customers. Gaylord Opryland, which is located adjacent to the Cumberland River and is protected by levees built to sustain a 100-year flood, suffered flood damage on May 3, 2010 as the river rose to levels that over-topped the levees. The per occurrence flood insurance limit for our Gaylord Opryland hotel is now $350 million. We have also completed enhancements to the levees that protect the hotel to increase the height of the levees. While we believe these steps are reasonable given the likelihood of flood damage at Gaylord Opryland, there can be no assurances that flooding will not occur at Gaylord Opryland in the future. Some types of losses, such as from flood, earthquake, terrorism and environmental hazards, may be either uninsurable, subject to sublimit, or too expensive to justify insuring against. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, we could lose all or a portion of the capital we have invested in a hotel, as well as the anticipated future revenue from the hotel. In that event, we might nevertheless remain obligated for any mortgage debt or other financial obligations related to the property. Similarly, outbreaks of pandemic disease, wars (including the potential for war), terrorist activity (including threats of terrorist activity), political unrest and other forms of civil strife as well as geopolitical uncertainty, may cause our future results to differ materially from anticipated results.

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

Our third-party hotel managers are responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of our hotel properties. Although we do not employ or manage employees at our hotel properties, we are subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force, including at those of our hotels with unionized labor. From time to time, hotel operations may be disrupted as a result of strikes, lockouts, public demonstrations or other negative actions and publicity. We also may incur increased legal costs and indirect labor costs as a result of contract disputes or other events. The resolution of labor disputes or re-negotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, either by increases in

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wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. Furthermore, labor agreements may limit the ability of our third-party hotel managers to reduce the size of hotel workforces during an economic downturn because collective bargaining agreements are negotiated between the third-party hotel managers and labor unions. We do not have the ability to control the outcome of these negotiations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

adverse changes in international, national, regional and local economic and market conditions;
changes in interest rates and in the availability, cost and terms of debt financing;
changes in governmental laws and regulations, fiscal policies and zoning ordinances and the related costs of compliance with laws and regulations, fiscal policies and ordinances;
the ongoing need for capital improvements, particularly in older structures;
changes in operating expenses; and
civil unrest, acts of God, including earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, which may result in uninsured losses, and acts of war or terrorism, including the consequences of the terrorist acts.

We may decide in the future to sell one or more of our hotel properties. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any hotel property for the price or on the terms set by us, or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a hotel property. Further, as a REIT, we are subject to a 100% excise tax on net income derived from prohibited transactions, including the sale of property (other than foreclosure property) held primarily for

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sale to customers in the ordinary course. There can be no assurances that the IRS will not contend that the sale of a hotel is subject to this 100% excise tax.

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

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

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

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

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

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risks generally associated with the ownership of hotels and real estate.

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

Risks Relating to Our Status as a REIT

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

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

we would not be allowed a deduction for distributions to stockholders in computing our taxable income; and
we would be subject to federal and state income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates.

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

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

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

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

Prior to 2012, we had not paid a cash distribution on our common stock since 1999. Beginning in 2013 we declared, and we intend to continue to declare when appropriate, regular quarterly distributions, the amount of which will be determined, and will be subject to adjustment, by our board of directors. Our board of directors formerly maintained a dividend policy pursuant to which we paid a quarterly cash dividend in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income on an annual basis, whichever is greater. Our dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors, and certain provisions of our debt agreements may prohibit us from paying dividends in accordance with the policy. In 2020, we suspended our regular quarterly dividend, but our dividends paid will satisfy the distribution requirement. To qualify as a REIT, we are generally required to distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding net capital gain) each year to our stockholders. If our cash available for distribution falls short of our estimates, we may be unable to maintain the proposed quarterly distributions that approximate our taxable income and may fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT. In addition, our cash flows from operations may be insufficient to fund required distributions as a result of differences in timing between the actual receipt of income and the recognition of income for federal and state income tax purposes, or the effect of nondeductible expenditures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At any time, the federal income tax laws governing REITs or the administrative interpretations of those laws may be amended. Federal and state tax laws are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the IRS, the United States Department of the Treasury and state taxing authorities. Changes to the tax laws, regulations and administrative interpretations, which may have retroactive application, could adversely affect us. We cannot predict with certainty whether, when, in what forms, or with what effective dates, the tax laws, regulations and administrative interpretations applicable to us may be changed. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that any such change will not significantly affect our ability to qualify for taxation as a REIT or the federal income tax consequences to us of such qualification.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hold our non-qualifying REIT assets in one or more TRSs. These non-qualifying REIT assets consist primarily of non-real estate assets related to our Hospitality segment and the assets related to our Entertainment segment as historically structured and operated. We conduct a significant portion of our business activities through these TRSs. Under the Code, no more than 25% of the value of the assets of a REIT may be represented by securities of one or more TRSs and other non-qualifying assets and no more than 20% of the value of the assets of a REIT may be represented by

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securities of one or more TRSs. These limitations may affect our ability to make additional investments in our Entertainment segment as historically structured and operated or in other non-REIT qualifying operations or assets. To meet our annual distribution requirements, we may be required to distribute amounts that may otherwise be used for our operations, including amounts that may otherwise be invested in future acquisitions, capital expenditures or repayment of debt, and it is possible that we might be required to borrow funds, sell assets or issue equity to fund these distributions, even if the then-prevailing market conditions are not favorable for these borrowings, sales or offerings.

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

The net income of our TRSs is not required to be distributed to us, and income that is not distributed to us generally will not be subject to the REIT income distribution requirement. However, there may be limitations on our ability to accumulate earnings in our TRSs and the accumulation or reinvestment of significant earnings in our TRSs could result in adverse tax treatment. In particular, if the accumulation of cash in our TRSs causes the fair market value of our securities in our TRSs and certain other non-qualifying assets to exceed 25% of the fair market value of our assets, we would fail to qualify as a REIT.

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, each property with respect to which our TRS lessees pay rent must be a “qualified lodging facility.” A “qualified lodging facility” is a hotel, motel or other establishment more than one-half of the dwelling units in which are used on a

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transient basis, including customary amenities and facilities, provided that no wagering activities are conducted at or in connection with such facility by any person who is engaged in the business of accepting wagers and who is legally authorized to engage in such business at or in connection with such facility. We believe that our current hotel properties are “qualified lodging facilities.” Although we intend to monitor future acquisitions and improvements of properties, REIT provisions of the Code provide only limited guidance for making determinations under the requirements for “qualified lodging facilities,” and there can be no assurance that these requirements will be satisfied.

Risks Relating to Our Capital Structure

Our dividend is currently suspended, and covenants in our current and future debt instruments may limit our ability to make required distributions to our stockholders in accordance with our announced intended dividend policy.

Our credit facility imposes, and future financing agreements are likely to impose, operating and financial restrictions on our activities, including restrictions on the payment of dividends. These restrictions are currently in place, and these restrictions currently permit only the payment of dividends as necessary to maintain our REIT status and payment of a dividend of $0.01 per share each quarter, and may prevent us from making distributions to our stockholders in accordance with any announced intended dividend policy. Our dividend was suspended in March 2020.

Our cash distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate.

A REIT generally is required to distribute at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. Generally, our board of directors, in its sole discretion, will determine on a quarterly basis the amount of cash to be distributed to our stockholders based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, our results of operations, cash flow and capital requirements, economic conditions, tax considerations, borrowing capacity and other factors, including debt covenant restrictions that may impose limitations on cash payments and plans for future acquisitions and divestitures. Our board of directors formerly maintained a dividend policy pursuant to which we paid a quarterly cash dividend based on an annualized amount of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income on an annual basis, whichever is greater. As part of the actions taken to preserve liquidity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, our board of directors suspended our regular quarterly dividend payments, and our board of directors will consider a future dividend as permitted by our credit agreement, which currently permits payment of dividends as necessary to maintain our REIT status and permits us to pay a dividend of $0.01 per share each quarter. The dividend policy may be altered at any time by our board of directors (as otherwise permitted by our credit agreement) and certain provisions of our agreements governing our other indebtedness may prohibit us from paying dividends in accordance with the prior policy. Consequently, our distribution levels may be minimal and may fluctuate.

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

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

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interests, including with respect to competition in other markets, and to our joint venture partners failing to meet their financial or other obligations.

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

We currently have a significant amount of debt. At December 31, 2020, we had approximately $2.7 billion of total debt (which includes approximately $0.8 billion of debt related to our Gaylord Rockies joint venture, in which we own a 65% interest). We may incur additional debt in connection with any additional hotel acquisitions, development, investment in new projects, renovations, or capital improvement.

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

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

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

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

Our ability to refinance each of our agreements governing our indebtedness on acceptable terms will be dependent upon a number of factors, including our degree of leverage, the value of our assets, borrowing restrictions which may be imposed by lenders and conditions in the credit markets at the time we refinance. In addition, although we have been successful in negotiating amendments to our credit agreement, which waive the financial covenants imposed by the credit agreement through March 31, 2022, and in negotiating an amendment to the Gaylord Rockies Loan, which provides for other favorable modifications, we may be unsuccessful in negotiating any further amendments or modifications to the agreements governing our indebtedness as we may deem necessary in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic continues or our business levels do not recover to pre-pandemic levels or we are otherwise unable to refinance our debt on acceptable terms, we may be forced to choose from a number of unfavorable options, including agreeing to otherwise unfavorable financing terms, selling one or more hotel properties at unattractive prices or on disadvantageous terms, or defaulting on mortgages and allowing our lenders to foreclose. Any one of these options could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

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

Our ability to make payments on, or repay or refinance, our debt, including our obligations under our senior notes and any future debt we may incur, and to fund planned capital expenditures will depend largely upon our future operating

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performance and our ability to generate cash from operations. Our future performance, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control, including pace of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, our ability to borrow funds in the future to make payments on our debt and other obligations will depend on the satisfaction of the covenants and financial ratios in our senior credit facility and our other debt agreements, including other agreements we may enter into in the future. Our business may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations or we may not have future borrowings available to us under our credit facility or from other sources in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our debt or to fund our other liquidity needs.

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

Our existing financial agreements, including our credit facility and term loan B impose, and future financing agreements are likely to impose, operating and financial restrictions on our activities, including our ability to make distributions to any stockholder. Our credit facility has required and in the future will require us to comply with or maintain certain financial tests and ratios, including minimum fixed charge coverage ratio, minimum implied debt service coverage ratio and maximum funded debt to asset value ratio, and we expect will require us to comply with these tests in the future (subject to the covenant waiver described in Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for this Annual Report on Form 10-K). Our financial agreements prohibit or limit our ability to, among other things:

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

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

Various risks, uncertainties and events beyond our control, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, could affect our ability to comply with these covenants and maintain applicable financial tests and ratios. Failure to comply with any of the covenants in our existing or future financing agreements could result in a default under those agreements and under other agreements containing cross-default provisions. A default would permit lenders to accelerate the maturity for the debt under these agreements and to foreclose upon any collateral securing the debt, including, in the case of our existing credit facility, our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties. Under these circumstances, we might

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not have sufficient funds or other resources to satisfy all of our obligations. In addition, the limitations imposed by financing agreements on our ability to pay dividends, incur additional debt and to take other actions might significantly impair our ability to obtain other financing and to make distributions to our stockholders in accordance with any dividend policy.

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

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

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

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

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

At December 31, 2020, we had $1.6 billion of variable interest rate debt that was indexed to the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced on July 27, 2017 that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR quotations after 2021 (the “FCA Announcement”). The FCA Announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be assured after 2021, and LIBOR may cease to exist or otherwise be unsuitable for use as a benchmark. Recent proposals for LIBOR reforms may result in the establishment of new methods for calculating LIBOR or the establishment of one or more alternative benchmark rates. Although the agreements governing our indebtedness provide for successor base rates, as applicable, the successor base rates may be related to LIBOR, and the consequences of any potential cessation, modification or other reform of LIBOR cannot be predicted at this time. If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to amend the agreements governing our indebtedness, and we cannot predict what alternative interest rate(s) will be negotiated with our counterparties. As a result, our interest expense may increase, our ability to refinance some or all of our existing indebtedness and/or interest rate swaps may be impacted and our available cash flow may be adversely affected.

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

As a REIT, we will generally be required to distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (subject to certain adjustments and excluding any net capital gains) each year for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Code, which requirement we currently intend to satisfy, and we must distribute 100% of our REIT taxable income, including capital gains, to eliminate federal corporate income tax liability. To the extent we satisfy the 90% distribution requirement but distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, we will be subject to federal corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are subject to anti-takeover provisions under Delaware law, which could also delay or prevent a change of control. Together, our Charter, Amended and Restated Bylaws, and Delaware law may discourage transactions that otherwise

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could provide for the payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our common stock, and also could limit the price that investors are willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.

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

Our Charter permits our board of directors to issue up to 100 million shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders. As of the date hereof, we have no shares of preferred stock outstanding. Our board of directors also has the power, without stockholder approval, to set the terms of any new series of preferred stock that may be issued, including voting rights, dividend rights, preferences over our common stock with respect to dividends or in the event of a dissolution, liquidation or winding up and other terms. In the event that we issue shares of preferred stock in the future that have preference over our common stock with respect to payment of dividends or upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if we issue preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of our common stock, the rights of the holders of our common stock or the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected. In addition, the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders may impede a takeover of us and prevent a transaction favorable to our stockholders.

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

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

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

General Risk Factors

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

Many factors influence our reputation including the perception held by our customers and other key stakeholders and the communities in which we do business, and the perception held by customers of Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager. The lodging and entertainment industries in which we operate face increasing scrutiny related to environmental, social and governance activities and risk of damage to our reputation if we fail to act responsibly or comply with regulatory requirements in a number of areas, such as safety and security, environmental stewardship and

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sustainability, climate change, diversity, human rights, philanthropy and support for local communities. The continuing evolution of social media presents new challenges and requires us to keep pace with new developments and trends. Negative posts or comments about us, the properties we own and Marriott or any future third-party hotel manager on any social networking or user-generated review website, including travel and vacation property websites, could affect consumer opinions of us, and we cannot guarantee that we will timely or adequately redress such instances.

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

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

Health care reform efforts could adversely affect our results of operations.

In recent years, the U.S. Congress and certain state governments have considered and enacted legislation and regulations intended to effect major change within the U.S. healthcare system, including changes intended to increase access to health insurance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the “Affordable Care Act”), is the most prominent of these reform efforts. The Affordable Care Act affects how health care services are covered, delivered, and reimbursed through a combination of public program expansion and private sector health insurance reforms. It includes a requirement, known as the “employer mandate,” that large employers make health insurance coverage available to employees or pay a penalty. However, the Affordable Care Act has been subject to legislative and regulatory changes and court challenges and may be subject to additional efforts to repeal or make additional significant changes to the law, its implementation and/or its interpretation. For example, effective in January 2019, the penalty associated with the individual mandate to maintain health insurance was repealed. As a result of this change, a federal judge in Texas ruled in December 2018 that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. This decision was appealed, and in November 2020, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the case. The law remains in effect pending the appeals process. We anticipate that Congress and state governments will continue to review and assess alternative health care delivery and payment systems and may in the future propose or adopt legislation, regulations and policies resulting in additional fundamental changes in the health care system. For example, some members of Congress have suggested expanding the coverage of government-funded insurance programs, including single-payor models (such reforms are often referred to as “Medicare for All”).

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

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

Our board of directors determines our major policies, including any policies and guidelines we may maintain from time to time relating to our acquisitions, leverage, financing, growth, qualification as a REIT and distributions to our

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stockholders. Our board of directors may amend or revise these and other policies and guidelines from time to time without the vote or consent of our stockholders. Accordingly, our stockholders will have limited control over changes in our policies and those changes could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

The market price of our common stock may vary substantially based on changes in market interest rates and other factors.

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

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

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly results of operations;
changes in market valuations of companies in the hotel or real estate industries;
changes in expectations of future financial performance or changes in estimates of securities analysts;
fluctuations in stock market prices and volumes;
issuances of common stock or other securities in the future;
disputes with our hotel managers;
the addition or departure of key personnel;
announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, investments or strategic alliances; and
unforeseen events beyond our control, such as terrorist attacks, travel related health concerns including pandemics and epidemics (including a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the United States), political instability, regional hostilities, increases in fuel prices, imposition of taxes or surcharges by regulatory authorities, travel related accidents and unusual weather patterns, including natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis or earthquakes.

Item 1B.            Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

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Item 2.              Properties

Hospitality Segment

    

    

    

Meeting, Exhibit and

Hotel

Location

Rooms

Pre-Function Space

Gaylord Opryland

 

Nashville, TN

 

2,888

 

640,000

Gaylord National

 

National Harbor, MD (Washington, DC area)

 

1,996

 

500,000

Gaylord Texan

 

Grapevine, TX (Dallas area)

 

1,814

 

488,000

Gaylord Rockies (1)

Aurora, CO (Denver area)

1,501

409,000

Gaylord Palms

 

Kissimmee, FL (Orlando area)

 

1,416

 

400,000

Inn at Opryland

 

Nashville, TN

 

303

 

14,000

AC Hotel

 

National Harbor, MD (Washington, DC area)

 

192

 

3,700

(1)The Company owns a 65.0 percent interest in a joint venture that owns this property.

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

Entertainment Segment

We own the General Jackson’s docking facility, the Grand Ole Opry House and WSM Radio’s offices and studios, each of which are located within the Opryland complex. We also own Gaylord Springs, an 18-hole golf course situated on over 200 acres, which is located near the Opryland complex. In downtown Nashville, we own the Ryman Auditorium, Ole Red Nashville, and the Wildhorse Saloon dance hall and production facility. We also own an approximate 17,000 square foot building in downtown Nashville that we are currently transforming into additional connecting event space for the Wildhorse Saloon. Our TRSs have engaged Marriott to manage the day-to-day operations of the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse Saloon. For a description of the management agreements with Marriott, see “Management Agreements” in Item 1, “Business.”

Corporate and Other

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

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Item 3.            Legal Proceedings

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

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

Item 4.            Mine Safety Disclosures

None.

PART II

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

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

Holders

There were approximately 780 record holders of our common stock at January 31, 2021.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

No shares of the Company’s common stock were repurchased during the three months ended December 31, 2020.

Other Information

To maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income each year. Prior to the suspension of dividends as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had planned to continue to pay a quarterly cash dividend to shareholders in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income, whichever is greater. Any future dividend is subject to our board of directors’ determinations as to the amount of distributions and the timing thereof.

Even after the Temporary Waiver Period (as defined in “Liquidity and Capital Resources – Principal Debt Agreements” in Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,”) the terms of our credit facility restrict our ability to pay dividends. We are not permitted to pay a dividend to our stockholders if the aggregate amount of all distributions to our stockholders in a given year exceeds 95% of our funds from operations (as defined in the credit facility) for that fiscal year. Notwithstanding this restriction, we are permitted to pay dividends to stockholders to the extent necessary to maintain our status as a REIT.

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

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

This section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K generally discusses 2020 and 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019. Discussions of 2018 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

Overview

We are a Delaware corporation, originally incorporated in 1956, that, following our REIT conversion in 2012, began operating as a self-advised and self-administered REIT for federal income tax purposes on January 1, 2013, specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. Our core holdings include a network of five upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 9,615 rooms that are managed by Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”) under the Gaylord Hotels brand. These five resorts, which we refer to as our Gaylord Hotels properties, consist of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee (“Gaylord Opryland”), the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center near Orlando, Florida (“Gaylord Palms”), the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center near Dallas, Texas (“Gaylord Texan”), the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington D.C. (“Gaylord National”), and the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center near Denver, Colorado (“Gaylord Rockies”), which is owned by the Gaylord Rockies joint venture, in which we own a 65% interest. Our other owned hotel assets managed by Marriott include the Inn at Opryland, an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland, and the AC Hotel at National Harbor, Washington D.C. (“AC Hotel”), an overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord National.

We also own and operate media and entertainment assets including the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for 95 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied live music venue and former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home; Ole Red, a brand of Blake Shelton-themed bar, music venue and event spaces; and three Nashville-based assets managed by Marriott – Gaylord Springs Golf Links (“Gaylord Springs”), the Wildhorse Saloon, and the General Jackson Showboat (“General Jackson”). We also own a 50% interest in a joint venture intended to create and distribute a linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to the country music lifestyle (“Circle”).

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

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

See “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” under Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for important information regarding forward-looking statements made in this report and risks and uncertainties we face.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States and is having an unprecedented impact on the U.S. economy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced disruption of our business and in March 2020 temporarily suspended operations of most of our assets, as further described below. While most of our assets are operating at some capacity, there is significant uncertainty surrounding the full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our future results of operations and financial position.

In late February 2020, when the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, we formed an internal task force, which included members of management and our board of directors, to formulate and implement responses to COVID-

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19. The task force, in consultation with local governmental authorities, first determined to close our Nashville-based entertainment venues in mid-March 2020.

As cancellations at our Gaylord Hotels properties began to increase, we, with our hotel manager, Marriott, implemented a series of operational changes, culminating with the suspension of operations at our Gaylord Hotels properties in late-March 2020. Gaylord Texan reopened June 8, 2020, and Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Palms and Gaylord Rockies reopened June 25, 2020. Gaylord National remains closed.

In our Entertainment segment, in addition to the temporary closure of our entertainment assets in spring 2020, we have taken steps to reduce operating costs in all areas. Many of our Tennessee-based attractions reopened at reduced capacities in May and June 2020. The Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium began offering limited-capacity tours in June 2020, and in September 2020, they reopened for limited-capacity publicly attended performances. Our decision to offer publicly attended performances with additional capacity will be based on a number of factors and made in consultation with local health authorities.

Actions to Preserve Liquidity. We are also taking actions to preserve liquidity in order to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to pay all required debt service payments on our indebtedness, lease payments, taxes and other payables. At December 31, 2020, we had $593.2 million available for borrowing under our revolving credit facility and $56.7 million in unrestricted cash on hand. In 2020, we took steps to preserve our liquidity as follows:

Suspension of Dividend. Following the payment of our first quarter 2020 dividend on April 15, 2020 to stockholders of record on March 31, 2020, we suspended our regular quarterly cash dividend payments to stockholders. Our board of directors will consider a future dividend as permitted by our credit agreement. Our credit facility amendments described below permits payment of dividends as necessary to maintain our REIT status and permits us to pay a dividend of $0.01 per share each quarter. Any future dividend is subject to our board of director’s determinations as to the amount of distributions and the timing thereof.
Deferral of Capital Expenditures. We have deferred approximately $82 million of non-essential capital projects, in addition to delaying the Gaylord Rockies expansion project, which was scheduled to begin construction in second quarter 2020. The Gaylord Palms expansion project is continuing, and we believe the expansion will allow us to serve groups that moved meetings to 2021 and beyond.
Amendments to Principal Debt Agreements. On April 23, 2020, we entered into Amendment No. 1 (the “First Amendment”), and on December 22, 2020, we entered into Amendment No. 2 (the “Second Amendment” and collectively with the First Amendment, the “Amendments”), to the credit agreement governing our $700 million revolving credit facility (of which $106.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020), $300 million term loan A facility and the original $500 million term loan B facility (of which $381.3 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020), which was obtained from a consortium of banks led by Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as administrative agent. The First Amendment provided for a temporary waiver of financial covenants in the credit facility through March 31, 2021 and the Second Amendment extended that waiver through March 31, 2022 (unless terminated early by us at our option). The Amendments confirm the Company’s continued ability to borrow the remaining amounts available under the revolving credit facility (subject to a minimum liquidity covenant). During the waiver period and thereafter until demonstration of financial covenant compliance, the Amendments provide for increased interest and fees, additional restrictions on debt, investments, dividends, share repurchases and capital expenditures, and a minimum liquidity requirement. In addition, all borrowings under the revolving credit facility made during the waiver period may only be used for payment of operating expenses, debt service and certain other specified uses. For additional discussion of the amendments to our credit agreement, see “Principal Debt Agreements” below.

On June 30, 2020, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture completed an amendment to its $800 million term loan to (i) provide for the ability to use cash for certain purposes, even during a Cash Sweep Period (as defined in the Loan Agreement), (ii) extend the deadline to commence construction of an expansion to Gaylord Rockies, and (iii) provide favorable changes to the debt service coverage ratio provisions. For additional discussion of this amendment, see “Principal Debt Agreements” below. Beginning in July 2020, the Gaylord Rockies joint venture was in a Cash Sweep Period pursuant to the Loan Agreement.

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Suspension of FF&E Reserve Requirement. With respect to our properties that are operated under management agreements with Marriott, we are obligated to maintain an FF&E reserve account for future planned and emergency-related capital expenditures at these properties. The amount funded into each of these reserve accounts is determined pursuant to the management agreements and is generally 5.0% of the respective property’s total annual revenue; however, Marriott has suspended this obligation from March 2020 through December 2021.
Cost Containment Initiatives. Within our Hospitality segment, we, along with Marriott, implemented various actions in order to contain costs in all areas. We implemented similar cost containment initiatives in our Entertainment and Corporate segments, including voluntary temporary compensation decreases for each of our executive officers and our director and higher positions of management, including 50% of the salary for our chief executive officer, through December 2020.

Impact on Operations. Except for Gaylord National and the General Jackson that remain closed and the Wildhorse Saloon that closed subsequent to the December 2020 downtown Nashville bombing, our hotels and entertainment venues have reopened and are operating under reduced capacities. We, with our manager, Marriott, are implementing certain measures designed to prioritize the health and safety of our guests and to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including enhanced cleaning standards, mask protection, limitations on restaurant capacity, entertainment events and conventions, as well as other protocols to enforce social distancing.

During 2020, our Hospitality segment experienced total cancellations of approximately 2.4 million net room nights, which we believe are attributable to COVID-19, representing approximately $488 million in rooms revenue.

We and Marriott’s sales teams have been working closely with our customers to rebook previously cancelled business and, through December 31, 2020, we have rebooked approximately 1.4 million room nights, or approximately 58% of total room nights cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have focused on offering flexibility rather than demanding attrition and cancellation payments in an effort to strengthen our relationships with our customers and meeting planners, although collections of attrition and cancellation fees increased in the fourth quarter of 2020. Our establishments are undergoing a phased reopening, and the customer mix at our Gaylord Hotels properties has been and may continue to be more heavily transient during this phased reopening than our historical trends. Our operating results are described below.

On March 27, 2020, the U.S. government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), which among other things, provides employer payroll tax credits for wages paid to employees who are unable to work during the COVID-19 pandemic and options to defer payroll tax payments. Based on our evaluation of the CARES Act, we qualify for certain employer payroll tax credits, which we have accounted for as government subsidies to offset related operating expenses, as well as the deferral of payroll and other tax payments in the future. During 2020, qualified payroll tax credits reduced our operating expenses by $10.2 million. We are deferring qualified payroll and other tax payments as permitted by the CARES Act.

Marriott’s hotel employees that were laid off or furloughed were generally paid the equivalent of one week of compensation, and certain benefits for non-union hotel employees have been maintained throughout the individual properties’ closures. We paid all full-time and part-time employees for temporarily closed properties in our Entertainment segment through June 27, 2020. Our results for 2020 include approximately $39.7 million of operating costs specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is primarily comprised of employment costs, and is net of $10.2 million in payroll tax credits provided by the CARES Act. The payroll credits provided by the CARES Act are included in other hotel expenses, entertainment expenses and corporate expenses, as applicable, in the accompanying consolidated statement of operations for 2020 included herein.

For additional discussion of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and associated risk, see “Risk Factors” under Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Gaylord Rockies Joint Venture

We own a 65% interest in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture. Our management has concluded that the Company is the primary beneficiary of this variable interest entity (“VIE”) and the financial position and results of operations of the VIE have been consolidated in the accompanying consolidated financial statements included herein, beginning on December 31, 2018 with respect to the balance sheet and January 1, 2019 with respect to statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss) and statements of cash flows. Gaylord Rockies opened on a limited basis in December 2018 and on a fully operational basis in first quarter 2019 and is managed by Marriott.

Gaylord Palms Expansion

In 2018, we began construction of a $158 million expansion of Gaylord Palms, which will include an additional 302 guest rooms and 96,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded resort pool and events lawn, and a new multi-level parking structure. The expansion is expected to be completed in April 2021.

Gaylord Rockies Expansion

In February 2020, we and our joint venture partner in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture announced an $80 million expansion of Gaylord Rockies, which was intended to include an additional 317 guest rooms. The expansion was expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020, but, as discussed under “Impact of COVID-19 pandemic” above, the expansion was deferred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland

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

Circle

In 2019, we acquired a 50% equity interest in Circle and we have made $12.5 million in capital contributions through December 31, 2020. The joint venture agreement requires us to contribute up to an additional $2.5 million through December 31, 2021, and we made such contribution in January 2021. Circle launched its broadcast network on January 1, 2020, with sixteen original shows and two major distribution partnerships. As of February 2021, Circle is available to more than 60% of U.S. television households via over-the-air and cable television and is available through multiple online streaming services covering over 100 million monthly average users.

Termination of Block 21 Acquisition

In December 2019, we entered into an agreement (the “Block 21 Agreement”) to purchase Block 21, a mixed-use entertainment, lodging, office and retail complex located in Austin, Texas, for $275 million, which included the assumption of approximately $141 million of existing mortgage debt. In May 2020, in response to the then-existing capital markets and economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we determined it was not in the best interest of our shareholders to focus resources and capital on the project and terminated the related purchase agreement. We forfeited a nonrefundable deposit of $15.0 million, which is included in other gains and (losses), net in the accompanying consolidated statement of operations for 2020.

Dividend Policy; Suspension of Dividend

On February 25, 2020, our board of directors declared our first quarter 2020 cash dividend in the amount of $0.95 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of approximately $52.2 million in cash, which was paid on April 15, 2020 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 31, 2020. Following payment of our first quarter 2020 cash

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dividend, we suspended our regular quarterly dividend payments, and our board of directors will consider a future dividend as permitted by our credit agreement. Our credit facility amendment described below under “Principal Debt Agreements” permits payment of dividends as necessary to maintain our REIT status and permits us to pay a dividend of $0.01 per share each quarter. Prior to the suspension of dividends as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had planned to continue to pay a quarterly cash dividend to shareholders in an amount equal to an annualized payment of at least 50% of adjusted funds from operations (as defined by us) less maintenance capital expenditures or 100% of REIT taxable income, whichever is greater. Any future dividend is subject to our board of directors’ determinations as to the amount of distributions and the timing thereof.

During 2019, the Company’s board of directors declared quarterly dividends totaling $3.60 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of $188.3 million in cash. During 2018, the Company’s board of directors declared quarterly dividends totaling $3.40 per share of common stock, or an aggregate of $174.5 million in cash.

Senior Note Refinancing

On February 9, 2021, we commenced a cash tender offer for any and all outstanding $400 million 5% senior notes due 2023 (the “$400 Million 5% Senior Notes”) at a redemption price of $1,005.00 per $1,000 principal amount of $400 Million 5% Senior Notes accepted for purchase in the tender offer. In accordance with the indenture governing the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes, subsequent to expiration of the tender offer, on February 17, 2021, we gave irrevocable notice of the redemption of all remaining $400 Million 5% Senior Notes not tendered in the tender offer and irrevocably deposited with the trustee for the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes an amount sufficient to pay the redemption price of the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes called for redemption at that date, including interest. We used a significant portion of the proceeds from the issuance of the $600 Million 4.50% Senior Notes described below to tender and redeem the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes.

On February 17, 2021, the Operating Partnership and Finco (collectively, the “Issuers”) closed on a private placement of $600 million aggregate principal amount of 4.50% senior notes due 2029 (the “$600 Million 4.50% Senior Notes”). The $600 Million 4.50% Senior Notes will be senior unsecured obligations of the Issuers and guaranteed by the Company and its subsidiaries that guarantee the Credit Facility, the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes and $700 million 4.75% senior notes due 2027 (the “$700 Million 4.75% Senior Notes”). The aggregate net proceeds from the sale of the $600 Million 4.5% Senior Notes were approximately $591 million, after deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. After using a significant portion of these net proceeds to tender and redeem the $400 Million 5% Senior Notes, we used the net proceeds to repay all of the amounts outstanding under our $700 million revolving credit facility. We may use any remaining proceeds for general corporate purposes.

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Our Current Operations

Our ongoing operations are organized into three principal business segments:

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

For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, our total revenues were divided among these business segments as follows:

Segment

    

2020

    

2019

    

2018

Hospitality

 

89

%  

89

%  

88

%  

Entertainment

 

11

%  

11

%  

12

%  

Corporate and Other

 

0

%  

0

%  

0

%  

As described above, our hotels and entertainment assets were closed for a period of time and Gaylord National and certain other assets remain closed or at reduced capacities pending our decision to safely reopen facilities as discussed above. While facilities were closed or remain closed, we recorded or expect to record, as applicable, negligible revenue, and we incurred expenses as described above under “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.” Our facilities that have reopened are operating at reduced capacities. Our short-term strategy is to safely reopen our assets, work with Marriott to rebook business in our hotels, pursue cost containment strategies and conserve liquidity.

Key Performance Indicators

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

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

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For 2020, the method of calculation of these indicators has not been changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting hotel closures and is consistent with prior periods. As such, performance metrics include closed hotel room nights available.

We also use certain “non-GAAP financial measures,” which are measures of our historical performance that are not calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, within the meaning of applicable SEC rules. These measures include:

Earnings Before Interest Expense, Income Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization for Real Estate (“EBITDAre”), Adjusted EBITDAre and Adjusted EBITDAre, Excluding Noncontrolling Interest, and
Funds from Operations (“FFO”) available to common shareholders and unit holders and Adjusted FFO available to common shareholders and unitholders.

See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below for further discussion.

The closure, limited reopening and pandemic-constrained business levels of our Gaylord Hotels properties have resulted in the significant decrease in performance reflected in these key performance indicators and non-GAAP financial measures for 2020, as compared to 2019.

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

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

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

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Summary Financial Results

The following table summarizes our financial results for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands, except percentages and per share data):

    

2020

    

% Change

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

Total revenues

$

524,475

 

(67.3)

%  

$

1,604,566

 

25.8

%  

$

1,275,118

Total operating expenses

 

828,306

 

(38.0)

%  

 

1,337,035

 

26.0

%  

 

1,060,849

Operating income (loss)

 

(303,831)

 

(213.6)

%  

 

267,531

 

24.9

%  

 

214,269

Net income (loss)

 

(460,821)

 

(459.2)

%  

 

128,294

 

(51.5)

%  

 

264,670

Net income (loss) available to common stockholders

(417,391)

(386.3)

%  

 

145,794

 

(44.9)

%  

 

264,670

Net income (loss) available to common stockholders per share - diluted

 

(7.59)

 

(370.1)

%  

 

2.81

 

(45.3)

%  

 

5.14

2020 Results as Compared to 2019 Results

The decrease in our total revenues during 2020, as compared to 2019, is attributable to decreases in our Hospitality segment and Entertainment segment revenues of $955.4 million and $124.7 million, respectively, as discussed more fully below.

The decrease in total operating expenses during 2020, as compared to 2019, is primarily the result of decreases in Hospitality segment, Entertainment segment and Corporate segment expenses of $484.3 million, $48.3 million and $7.5 million respectively, partially offset by a credit loss on held-to-maturity investments that did not occur in the prior year of $32.8 million.

The above factors resulted in a $571.4 million decrease in operating income for 2020, as compared to 2019.

Our net loss of $460.8 million in 2020, as compared to net income of $128.3 million in 2019, was due to the change in our operating income described above, and the following factors, each as described more fully below:

A $15.8 million decrease in interest expense in 2020.
A $15.7 million increase in other losses, net in 2020, primarily due to the forfeiture of the $15.0 million deposit on the proposed Block 21 acquisition.
An $8.6 million increase in the provision for income taxes in 2020.
A $5.3 million increase in loss from unconsolidated joint ventures in 2020.

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Operating Results – Detailed Segment Financial Information

Hospitality Segment

Total Segment Results. The following presents the financial results of our Hospitality segment for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2020

    

% Change

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

171,718

 

(69.2)

%  

$

557,562

 

22.7

%  

$

454,370

Food and beverage

 

187,538

 

(71.6)

%  

 

660,770

 

27.1

%  

 

519,843

Other hotel revenue

 

106,789

 

(47.4)

%  

 

203,114

 

32.2

%  

 

153,690

Total hospitality revenue

 

466,045

 

(67.2)

%  

 

1,421,446

 

26.0

%  

 

1,127,903

Hospitality operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

58,943

 

(59.3)

%  

 

144,834

 

22.7

%  

 

118,060

Food and beverage

 

146,141

 

(59.7)

%  

 

362,850

 

28.3

%  

 

282,906

Other hotel expenses

 

260,690

 

(36.4)

%  

 

409,883

 

20.7

%  

 

339,529

Management fees, net

 

7,066

 

(82.2)

%  

 

39,608

 

28.8

%  

 

30,744

Depreciation and amortization

 

198,073

 

(1.5)

%  

 

201,068

 

84.8

%  

 

108,779

Total Hospitality operating expenses

 

670,913

 

(42.1)

%  

 

1,158,243

 

31.6

%  

 

880,018

Hospitality operating income (loss) (1)(2)

$

(204,868)

 

(177.8)

%  

$

263,203

 

6.2

%  

$

247,885

Hospitality performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

23.2

%  

(52.6)

pts

 

75.8

%  

0.5

pts

 

75.3

%

ADR

$

200.02

 

0.4

%  

$

199.26

 

2.4

%  

$

194.64

RevPAR (3)

$

46.41

 

(69.3)

%  

$

151.09

 

3.1

%  

$

146.50

Total RevPAR (4)

$

125.95

 

(67.3)

%  

$

385.20

 

5.9

%  

$

363.66

Net Definite Group Room Nights Booked (5)

 

(783,000)

 

(135.3)

%  

 

2,216,000

 

(10.1)

%  

 

2,465,000

Same-store Hospitality performance metrics (6):

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

23.1

%  

(53.9)

pts

 

77.0

%  

1.7

pts

 

75.3

%

ADR

$

201.29

 

1.0

%  

$

199.31

 

2.4

%  

$

194.64

RevPAR (3)

$

46.55

 

(69.7)

%  

$

153.42

 

4.7

%  

$

146.50

Total RevPAR (4)

$

121.02

 

(68.2)

%  

$

380.26

 

4.6

%  

$

363.66

Net Definite Group Room Nights Booked (5)

 

(670,000)

 

(136.5)

%  

 

1,836,000

 

(12.8)

%  

 

2,106,000

(1)Hospitality segment operating income (loss) does not include preopening costs of $0.3 million, $1.3 million and $2.9 million in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Hospitality segment operating income also does not include gain on sale of assets of $1.2 million and credit losses on held-to-maturity securities of $32.8 million in 2020 or income from unconsolidated joint ventures of $124.4 million in 2018. See the discussion of the 2020 items below.
(2)Net of CARES Act payroll credits, Hospitality segment operating loss for 2020 includes approximately $34.5 million in expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are primarily employment costs.
(3)We calculate Hospitality segment RevPAR by dividing rooms revenue by room nights available to guests for the period. Room nights available to guests include nights the hotels are closed. Hospitality segment RevPAR is not comparable to similarly titled measures such as revenues.
(4)We calculate Hospitality segment Total RevPAR by dividing the sum of room, food and beverage, and other ancillary services revenue (which equals Hospitality segment revenue) by room nights available to guests for the period. Room nights available to guests include nights the hotels are closed. Hospitality segment Total RevPAR is not comparable to similarly titled measures such as revenues.
(5)Net definite room nights booked for 2020 includes approximately 2.4 million group room cancellations for the Hospitality segment and 2.0 million group room cancellations for same-store Hospitality segment.
(6)Same-store Hospitality segment performance metrics do not include Gaylord Rockies, which opened in December 2018.

Total Hospitality revenues in 2020 include $32.8 million in attrition and cancellation fee collections, a $14.5 million increase from 2019.

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

    

2020

    

2019

    

2018

 

Group

 

52

%  

72

%  

71

%

Transient

 

48

%  

28

%  

29

%

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

    

2020

    

2019

    

2018

 

Corporate Groups

 

61

%  

51

%  

53

%

Associations

 

24

%  

29

%  

32

%

Other Groups

 

15

%  

20

%  

15

%

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

    

2020

    

% Change

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

Administrative employment costs

$

84,599

 

(42.6)

%  

$

147,302

 

25.6

%  

$

117,311

Utilities

 

23,628

 

(25.3)

%  

 

31,624

 

16.9

%  

 

27,060

Property taxes

 

36,823

 

3.0

%  

 

35,736

 

5.5

%  

 

33,872

Other

 

115,640

 

(40.8)

%  

 

195,221

 

21.0

%  

 

161,286

Total other hotel expenses

$

260,690

 

(36.4)

%  

$

409,883

 

20.7

%  

$

339,529

Administrative employment costs include salaries and benefits for hotel administrative functions, including, among others, senior management, accounting, human resources, sales, conference services, engineering and security. Administrative employment costs decreased during 2020, as compared to 2019, primarily due to hotel closures and cost containment efforts at each of our Gaylord Hotels properties. Utility costs decreased during 2020, as compared to 2019, primarily due to decreases at each of our Gaylord Hotels properties due to lower usage. Property taxes increased slightly during 2020, as compared to 2019, primarily due to slight increases at Gaylord National and Gaylord Rockies. Other expenses, which include supplies, advertising, maintenance costs and consulting costs, decreased during 2020, as compared to 2019, primarily as a result of various decreases at each of our Gaylord Hotels properties due to hotel closures and were aided by cost containment initiatives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As discussed above, each of our management agreements with Marriott for our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties requires us to pay Marriott a base management fee of approximately 2% of gross revenues from the applicable property for each fiscal year or portion thereof. Additionally, an incentive fee is based on the profitability of our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties calculated on a pooled basis. The Gaylord Rockies’ management agreement with Marriott requires Gaylord Rockies to pay a base management fee of 3% of gross revenues for each fiscal year or portion thereof, as well as an incentive management fee based on the profitability of the hotel. We incurred $10.2 million, $30.9 million and $22.7 million in total base management fees to Marriott related to our Hospitality segment during 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. We also incurred $0, $11.8 million and $11.3 million related to incentive management fees for our Hospitality segment during 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Management fees are presented throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K net of the amortization of the deferred management rights proceeds discussed in Note 6, “Deferred Management Rights Proceeds,” to the consolidated financial statements included herein.

Hospitality segment depreciation and amortization expense decreased slightly in 2020, as compared to 2019.

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Table of Contents

Property-Level Results. The following presents property-level financial results for our four wholly-owned Gaylord Hotels properties for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and for Gaylord Rockies for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. In 2020, the Gaylord Hotels properties experienced higher levels of attrition and cancellations which are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the property-level financial results for 2020 are not comparable to the prior year periods. Total revenue at each of our Gaylord Hotels properties was lower than anticipated for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating costs at each of our Gaylord Hotels properties were lower for 2020 as a result of cost containment initiatives and the temporary property closures that began in late-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lower business levels after reopening.

Gaylord Opryland Results. The results of Gaylord Opryland for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 are as follows (in thousands, except percentages and performance metrics):

    

2020

    

% Change

    

2019

    

% Change

    

2018

 

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

$

53,272

 

(67.2)

%  

$

162,577

 

4.6

%  

$

155,501

Food and beverage

 

48,086

 

(69.6)

%  

 

157,933

 

1.6

%  

 

155,417

Other hotel revenue

 

31,975

 

(50.9)

%  

 

65,100

 

18.2

%  

 

55,081

Total revenue

 

133,333

 

(65.4)

%  

 

385,610

 

5.4

%  

 

365,999

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Rooms

 

16,119

 

(56.7)

%  

 

37,203

 

1.8

%  

 

36,547

Food and beverage

 

37,309

 

(55.8)

%  

 

84,351

 

3.6

%  

 

81,408

Other hotel expenses

 

72,601

 

(36.7)

%  

 

114,716

 

9.9

%  

 

104,405

Management fees, net

 

1,681

 

(86.0)

%  

 

12,024

 

0.1

%  

 

12,016

Depreciation and amortization

 

35,126

 

1.0

%  

 

34,794

 

0.4

%  

 

34,665

Total operating expenses (1)(2)

 

162,836

 

(42.5)

%  

 

283,088

 

5.2

%  

 

269,041

Performance metrics:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Occupancy

 

25.0

%  

(53.5)

pts

 

78.5

%  

1.3

pts

 

77.2

%

ADR