We have equity method investments in entities that own properties for which we provide management and/or franchise services and receive fees. In some cases we provide loans, preferred equity or guarantees to these entities. Our ownership interests in these equity method investments generally vary from 10 to 49 percent. For other information on these equity method investments, including the impact to our financial statements of transactions with these related parties, see Footnote No. 22, “Related Party Transactions,” of the Notes to our Financial Statements.
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and related disclosures. Management considers an accounting estimate to be critical if: (1) it requires assumptions to be made that were uncertain at the time the estimate was made; and (2) changes in the estimate, or different estimates that could have been selected, could have a material effect on our consolidated results of operations or financial condition.
While we believe that our estimates, assumptions, and judgments are reasonable, they are based on information presently available. Actual results may differ significantly. Additionally, changes in our assumptions, estimates or assessments as a result of unforeseen events or otherwise could have a material impact on our financial position or results of operations.
Management has discussed the development and selection of its critical accounting estimates with the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, and the Audit Committee has reviewed the disclosure presented below relating to them.
Please see Footnote No. 1, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” of the Notes to our Financial Statements for further information on our critical accounting policies, including our policies on:
Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, our frequent guest rewards programs, including how members earn points, how we determine the fair value of our redemption obligation, and how we recognize revenue related to these programs;
Valuation of Goodwill, including how we evaluate the fair value of goodwill and when we record an impairment loss on goodwill;
Valuation of Intangibles and Long-Lived Assets, including how we evaluate the fair value of intangibles and long-lived assets and when we record impairment losses on intangibles and long-lived assets;
Valuation of Investments in Ventures, including information on how we evaluate the fair value of investments in ventures and when we record impairment losses on investments in ventures;
Legal Contingencies, including information on how we account for legal contingencies;
Income Taxes, including information on how we determine our current year amounts payable or refundable, as well as our estimate of deferred tax assets and liabilities; and
Loan Loss Reserves for Senior, Mezzanine, and Other Loans and, prior to the spin-off date, for Loans to Timeshare Owners, including information on how we measure impairment on each of these types of loans.
Inflation has been moderate in recent years and has not had a significant impact on our businesses.