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This Small Company Is Counterintuitively Well Positioned to Profit From Hybrid Work

By Jon Quast, Jason Hall, and Danny Vena – Nov 14, 2021 at 10:37AM

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Will hybrid work make large events grow in importance?

If you're looking to host a large event with thousands of participants, then Ryman Hospitality Properties (RHP -1.87%) might be one of the few companies that can accommodate your group. This is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns many luxury properties that can hold special events.

In this video from Motley Fool Backstage Pass, recorded on Nov. 1, Fool contributor Jason Hall explains to fellow contributors Jon Quast and Danny Vena how he believes the investing thesis is enhanced here because people are increasingly working remotely. It's counterintuitive, but the diminishing importance of everyday meetings likely increases the importance of the once-in-a-while events that Ryman Hospitality can facilitate. 

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Jason Hall: To start, Ryman Hospitality Properties is a real estate investment trust. It owns the Gaylord series of properties, which are some of the largest events hotels, if you think about convention centers and that sort of thing; some of the most valuable outside of Las Vegas in the U.S. These are really top-tier properties that are really good at doing large events. It's a business that obviously last year and really caring into this year has been tough. Nobody is doing events right now and it's just starting to bounce back.

Now, the reason I ranked it ninth is because the stock has absolutely roared back and it's now essentially back to its all-time high. I was fortunate enough knowing our colleague, Matt Frankel, who we're pinch-hitting for Matt today, Matt and I talk a lot about real estate stocks. This is a company that we started talking about actually before the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down back in March of 2020, and I absolutely loaded up. I've seen, depending on the cost lot when I bought between 400% and 500% in gains in the stock in March, April, and May of last year. It has been a huge, huge winner.

I think the challenge right now is because the stock has recovered so much, besides dividends, reinstating the dividend and growing the dividend payout, it's going to be hard for this stock to gain in value, for this company to gain in value. They can. Then business is going to be good. My thesis is going to be better than it was in the past because more remote work, more hybrid work means businesses are going to do more things, more events to get their people together in special ways. I think that's going to be good for the event business.

But this top-tier group of companies guys, I just think it's going to be hard for Ryman to be a better performer than most of the others.

Jon Quast: Yeah, that's really interesting, Jason. It's a counter-intuitive perspective there that you just brought that remote work actually enhances the investability of a company like Ryman that has special event places. Because special events take on more prominence when you don't have normal everyday events because you are all in different places. Now, that's a really interesting thing.

Then like you said, the dividend as the business recovers, that could come back online and really locking in a good potential yield on your cost there if you bought last year.

Hall: Yeah, absolutely. That's one of the big reasons that I'm holding it, because I do have a part of my portfolio that thinks about dividend stocks as a ballast in a way if we go through an extended period of time where a lot of the premium valuations of a lot of our favorite growth stocks could affect longer-term returns. I like owning some of these stocks that yield on my cost basis, could more than make up for stagnant returns for a lot of my other portfolio.

Quast: Danny, were you going to say something? Go ahead.

Danny Vena: Yeah. I was just going to say that there's been numerous times over the course of my accounting career where I had to go to a large event or a training that a very large multinational was giving. It seems like each one of those times I ended up at a Gaylord property.

I take Jason's point that if you are one of the top providers of those type of event focused locations, and that's what Gaylord is. Gaylord caters to these types of large events. If you're looking for just a few hundred people or even a few dozen people, you can do that in a lot of places. But if you're looking for thousands of people or tens of thousands of people at an event, the Gaylord is really one of the few premium places where you can get that done. I think Jason's point is well taken.

Jon Quast has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ryman Hospitality Properties. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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