"You'll have to be patient with us."
Gaylord Entertainment Chairman and CEO Colin Reed on Tuesday morning shed only a little more light on his team's recently unveiled plans to — warning, corporate jargon coming — "unlock shareholder value." Speaking to analysts and investors on his company's first-quarter conference call, Reed said the process of finding a way to get the investing public more excited about Gaylord's shares has been "thorough, productive and reassuring."
But it's not done yet.
Reed explained that the company volunteered the info last week because the $3 million it has spent since New Year's on the project would have anyway elicited a torrent of questions Tuesday. Things may take another step forward starting tomorrow, when Gaylord's board gathers ahead of the company's annual shareholders' meeting, but Reed said investors shouldn't expect news at the meeting Thursday.
"Once we lay our plans out, it will make it much easier for investors to value our company," Reed said.
Asked about future development projects, Reed said Gaylord is "moving into a different phase as a company" now that it has built a powerful brand among meeting planners and corporate travelers. That, he said, will possibly change its approach to building new resorts and convention centers.
"If the company stays in the form that it's in — and I'll just leave that statement at that — and we continue to go about development as we did five to eight years ago, we would look at partners for our developments and get some of this debt off our balance sheet," he said.
Later in the call, Reed also looked a little further down the road and reminded investors and analysts of the so-called "Gaylord Light" strategy sketched out in the middle of the last decade. That approach envisioned building or managing hotels with between 700 and 800 rooms in secondary cities and working with meeting planners to rotate their groups between those venues and its larger, flagship properties.
"We continue to talk about that," Reed said. "That is a strategy we will take off the shelf and dust off at the right time."
Shares of Gaylord (Ticker: GET ) were trading around $34.80 in afternoon trading Tuesday, down slightly on the day. Year to date, they're up almost 45 percent.