Huazhu Group Limited (NASDAQ:HTHT) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Mar 26, 2020 • 09:00 pm ET

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Huazhu Group Limited (NASDAQ:HTHT) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Huazhu Group Limited Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] After the speakers' presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions].

I'll now turn the call over to your speaker ans host Ms. Ida Yu. Please go ahead, Ida.

Executive
Yu Ida

Thank you, Albert. Good morning, and good afternoon or good evening depending on where you are in the world. And thanks to all of you for dialing in. Welcome to Huazhu's fourth quarter and full-year 2019 earnings conference call.

Joining us today is Mr. Ji Qi, our Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO; Ms. Jenny Zhang, our Executive Vice Chairlady; Mr. Jin Hue and Ms. [Indecipherable] our Co-President; Ms. Chuan Teo our CFO and Ms. To Nee Chuan, our CFO [Phonetic]. Following their prepared remarks, management will be available to answer your questions.

Before we continue, please note that the discussion today will include forward-looking statements made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. As such, our results may be materially different from the views expressed today. A number of potential risks and uncertainties are outlined in our public filings with the SEC. Huazhu Group does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements except as required under applicable laws.

On the call today, we will also mention adjusted financial measures during the discussion of our performance. Reconciliations of those measures to comparable GAAP information can be found in our earnings release that was distributed earlier today. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. The webcast of this conference call, as well as supplementary slide presentation is available in the Investor Relation section of Huazhu Group's website at ir.huazhu.com.

Now I will turn the call over to Mr. Ji. Ji, please.

Executive
Qi Ji

Good morning, everyone. I would like to start with a quick review of our strategic achievements in 2019, as shown on page two. The first focus is our continued fast expanding growth path. In 2019, we achieved gross opening of 1,715 hotels -- 1,715 hotels, exceeding the midpoint of our original plan by 50%. Our pipeline grew to 2,262 hotels, twice over the number by the end of 2018.

Secondly, our focus on innovative technology applications to improve guest experience and operational efficiency. In 2019, our online booking increased to 40% up from 35% in 2018. Our online payments increased to 53%, up form 47% in 2018. Besides, we are delighted to report that Huazhu online procurement generated a GMV of RMB3.8 billion, an increase of 72% from 2018.

Thirdly, our focus on strategic deployment in upscale hotel segment. We've opened four new Blossom Hill and two new Joya hotels. Moreover, we have completed the acquisition of DH, further expanding Huazhu's upscale brand portfolio and overseas presence. Looking into 2020, China and the world are battling against COVID-19. Two months ago, all cities in China were blocked down and