2020 hasn't been a good year for Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE:RHP). In a nutshell, it's a bad time to be a group-focused hotel owner when group events aren't a thing.
However, two of our REIT experts think some of the moves Ryman is making now could lead to an even stronger business in the post-pandemic years. In this Nov. 5 Fool Live video clip, Millionacres REIT analyst Matt Frankel, CFP, and Millionacres editor Deidre Woollard discuss two post-pandemic tailwinds Ryman could benefit from, and whether another REIT could start paying dividends again soon.
Matt Frankel: His Ryman question is actually a pretty good one, "I hope Ryman can really capitalize on their future outlook for group setting amenities. Their call made it sound like they were going to invest in setting up distance conference attendees, which will be a great addition to live conferences." I could see that. Deidre said, I think, their live conference business is going to actually get a tailwind from the pandemic, especially if their remote work trend continues and companies want to occasionally get together in public. With Circle, which Deidre mentioned, they're a streaming platform. Their technology capabilities are building out, too. There's a lot of technology that they could apply to their conferences. So I wouldn't be surprised to see that there could be some synergies with that technology they already have. Let's see.
Deidre Woollard: Well, I think that's interesting, too. We're going to see more hybrid, we're already seeing hybrid conferences, and I think that's going to be a trend for at least 2021 and probably 2022 as well.
Frankel: Yeah, the Fools actually are having their virtual Writers' Conference in few weeks. I can see them doing a hybrid model where they've combined it for people who are at home and some who are at Gaylord properties. Let's see. What is the yield of Empire State (NYSE:ESRT)? Nothing right now. They decided to suspend their third- and fourth-quarter dividend to put that capital to better use. They see a really cheap opportunity to buy back stock right now, which is pretty much what they're spending it on instead at the moment. But under normal circumstances based on their current share prices, it would be about 7%, assuming they reinstate it in the first quarter of 2021, which I'm about 50-50 on whether or not they're going to choose to do it. It really depends how cheap their stock stays. As long as it stays in the $5 and $6 range, they're going to keep buying back shares. Under normal circumstances, buying today would get you a 7%-ish yield. I have time for one or two more. I think you're being joined by someone you're interviewing in just a few minutes.
Woollard: Yes. He hasn't shown up yet, so let's keep to answer the questions.
Frankel: We have a ton of them. Joseph asked, "How important revenue and profit generating in permanent will Ryman pivot to individual tourism?" I think this will give them some long-term business. I mentioned they temporarily are pivoting to leisure travel, especially in their property near Disney (NYSE:DIS) World, the Gaylord Palms, I believe it's called. It's the one by Disney World that's been their best performer so far this year. I could see that being a long-tail complement to their conference business, and if their conference business comes back at 100%, which will take a little while, and their leisure travel is more than it was before the pandemic, then that gives them pricing power, which will be really a nice tailwind.