Premature termination of our management or franchise agreements could hurt our financial performance. Our hotel management and franchise agreements may be subject to premature termination in certain circumstances, such as the bankruptcy of a hotel owner or franchisee, or a failure under some agreements to meet specified financial or performance criteria that are subject to the risks described in this section, which the Company fails or elects not to cure. A significant loss of agreements due to premature terminations could hurt our financial performance or our ability to grow our business.
Our lodging operations are subject to global, regional and national conditions. Because we conduct our business on a global platform, our activities are susceptible to changes in the performance of both global and regional economies. In recent years, our business has been hurt by decreases in travel resulting from weak economic conditions and the heightened travel security measures that have resulted from the threat of further terrorism. Our future economic performance could be similarly affected by the economic environment in each of the regions in which we operate, the resulting unknown pace of business travel, and the occurrence of any future incidents in those regions.
The growing significance of our operations outside of the United States also makes us increasingly susceptible to the risks of doing business internationally, which could lower our revenues, increase our costs, reduce our profits or disrupt our business. We currently operate or franchise hotels and resorts in 73 countries, and our operations outside the United States represented approximately 16 percent of our revenues in 2011. We expect that the international share of our total revenues will increase in future years. As a result, we are increasingly exposed to a number of challenges and risks associated with doing business outside the United States, including the following, any of which could reduce our revenues or profits, increase our costs, result in significant liabilities or sanctions or otherwise disrupt our business: (1) compliance with complex and changing laws, regulations and policies of governments that may impact our operations, including foreign ownership restrictions, import and export controls, and trade restrictions; (2) compliance with laws that affect the activities of companies abroad including U.S. and other jurisdictions’ anti-corruption laws, currency regulations and laws affecting dealings with certain nations; (3) limitations on our ability to repatriate non-U.S. earnings in a tax effective manner; (4) the difficulties involved in managing an organization doing business in many different countries; (5) uncertainties as to the enforceability of contract and intellectual property rights under local laws; (6) rapid changes in government policy, political or civil unrest, including in the Middle East, acts of terrorism or the threat of international boycotts or U.S. anti-boycott legislation; and (7) currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Our new programs and new branded products may not be successful. We cannot assure that our recently launched EDITION, Autograph Collection and AC Hotels by Marriott brands or any new programs or products we may launch in the future will be accepted by hotel owners, potential franchisees, or the traveling public or other customers. We also cannot be certain that we will recover the costs we incurred in developing the brands or any new programs or products, or that the brands or any new programs or products will be successful. In addition, some of our new brands involve or may involve cooperation and/or consultation with one or more third parties, including some shared control over product design and development, sales and marketing, and brand standards. Disagreements with these third parties could slow the development of these new brands and/or impair our ability to take actions we believe to be advisable for the success and profitability of such brands.
Risks relating to natural or man-made disasters, contagious disease, terrorist activity, and war could reduce the demand for lodging, which may adversely affect our revenues. So called “Acts of God,” such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters, man-made disasters such as the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and, more recently, the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the spread of contagious diseases, such as H1N1 Flu, Avian Flu, and SARS, in locations where we own, manage or franchise significant properties, and areas of the world from which we draw a large number of customers could cause a decline in the level of business and leisure travel and reduce the demand for lodging. Actual or threatened war, terrorist activity, political unrest or civil strife, such as recent events in Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, and other geopolitical uncertainty could have a similar effect. Any one or more of these events may reduce the overall demand for hotel rooms and corporate apartments or limit the prices that we can obtain for them, both of which could adversely affect our profits.
Disagreements with the owners of the hotels that we manage or franchise may result in litigation or may delay implementation of product or service initiatives. Consistent with our focus on management and franchising, we own very few of our lodging properties. The nature of our responsibilities under our management agreements to manage each hotel and enforce the standards required for our brands under both management and franchise agreements may be subject to interpretation and will from time to time give rise to disagreements, which may include disagreements over the need for or payment for new product or service initiatives. Such disagreements may be more likely when hotel returns are weaker. We seek to resolve any disagreements in order to develop and maintain positive relations with current and potential hotel owners and joint venture partners but are not always able to do so. Failure to resolve such disagreements has resulted in litigation, and could do so in the future. If any such litigation results in a significant adverse judgment, settlement or court order, we could suffer significant losses, our profits could be reduced, or our future ability to operate our business could be constrained.
Our business depends on the quality and reputation of our brands, and any deterioration in the quality or reputation of these brands could have an adverse impact on our market share, reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations. Events that may be beyond our control could affect the reputation of one or more of our properties or more generally impact the reputation of our brands. If the reputation or perceived quality of our brands declines, our market share, reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations could be affected.
Actions by our franchisees and licensees could adversely affect our image and reputation. We franchise and license many of our brand names and trademarks to third parties in connection with lodging, timeshare and residential services. Under the terms of their agreements with us, our franchisees and licensees interact directly with customers and other third parties under our brand and trade names. If these franchisees or licensees fail to maintain or act in accordance with applicable brand standards, experience operational problems, or project a brand image inconsistent with ours, our image and reputation could suffer. Although our franchise and license agreements provide us with recourse and remedies in the event of a breach by the franchisee or licensee, including termination of the agreements under certain circumstances, pursuing any such recourse, remedy or termination could be expensive and time consuming. In addition, while we believe that our contractual termination rights are strong, we cannot assure you that a court would ultimately enforce those rights in every instance.
Damage to, or losses involving, properties that we own, manage or franchise may not be covered by insurance. We have comprehensive property and liability insurance policies with coverage features and insured limits that we believe are customary. Market forces beyond our control may nonetheless limit the scope of the insurance coverage we can obtain or our ability to obtain coverage at reasonable rates. Certain types of losses, generally of a catastrophic nature, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, or terrorist acts, or liabilities that result from breaches in the security of our information systems may be uninsurable or too expensive to justify obtaining insurance. As a result, we may not be successful in obtaining insurance without increases in cost or decreases in coverage levels. In addition, in the event of a substantial loss, the insurance coverage we carry may not be sufficient to pay the full market value or replacement cost of our lost investment or that of hotel owners or in some cases could result in certain losses being totally uninsured. As a result, we could lose some or all of the capital we have invested in a property, as well as the anticipated future revenue from the property, and we could remain obligated for guarantees, debt, or other financial obligations related to the property.