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Edited Transcript of SEAS.N earnings conference call or presentation 25-Feb-21 2:00pm GMT

·47 min read

Q4 2020 SeaWorld Entertainment Inc Earnings Call ORLANDO Feb 26, 2021 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 2:00:00pm GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - CAO, Interim CFO & Treasurer * Marc G. Swanson SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO * Matthew V. Stroud SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - VP of IR ================================================================================ Conference Call Participants ================================================================================ * Alexia Skouras Quadrani JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst * Benjamin Nicolas Chaiken Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst * James Lloyd Hardiman Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research * Jonathan David Jenkins Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Associate * Michael Arlington Swartz Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Senior Analyst * Paul Alexander Golding Macquarie Research - Analyst * Stephen White Grambling Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst * Steven Moyer Wieczynski Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst ================================================================================ Presentation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good morning and welcome to the SeaWorld Q4 2020 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note, this event is being recorded. I'd now like to turn the conference over to Matthew Stroud, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matthew V. Stroud, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - VP of IR [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Ian, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to SeaWorld's Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2020 Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being webcast and recorded. A press release was issued this morning and is available on our Investor Relations website at www.seaworldinvestors.com. Replay information for this call can be found in the press release and will be available on our website following the call. Also, we have posted a short slide presentation on our investor website along with our earnings press release that we will discuss during our prepared remarks. Joining me this morning are Marc Swanson, Interim Chief Executive Officer; and Elizabeth Gulacsy, Chief Accounting Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. This morning, we will review our fourth quarter and fiscal 2020 financial results. And then we will open up the call to your questions. Before I begin, I would like to remind everyone that our comments today will contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from those forward-looking statements, including those identified in the Risk Factors section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risk factors may be updated from time to time and will be included in our filings with the SEC that are available on our website. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. In addition, on the call, we may reference non-GAAP financial measures and other financial metrics, such as adjusted EBITDA, free cash flow, net cash burn and adjusted net cash burn, which are non-GAAP financial measures. More information regarding our forward-looking statements and reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP measure is included in our earnings release available on our website and can also be found in our filings with the SEC. Now I'd like to turn the call over to our Interim Chief Executive Officer, Marc Swanson. Marc? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Matthew. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. I'm pleased to report that we saw strong improvement in attendance trends and strong per capita spending in the fourth quarter. I'm also pleased to report that we generated positive adjusted EBITDA in the quarter and approached net cash flow breakeven when excluding deferred vendor payments. I continue to be extremely proud of our team's agility, resilience and performance during these extraordinary times. And I'm encouraged by our fourth quarter results, which demonstrated continued operational and financial improvement. Our quarterly attendance on a year-over-year basis improved compared to the third quarter. We also saw clear benefits of our pricing and revenue management work with strong per capita growth in the fourth quarter relative to the prior year in both admissions and in-park spending. We began the fourth quarter with 10 of our 12 parks open, all with capacity limitations, modified or limited operations, reduced operating days and/or reduced operating hours. We finished the quarter with 7 of our 12 parks open, which is 1 park less than what we were operating at the end of 2019. As of today, we have 8 parks open, including SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place and Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando. We have also implemented new operating calendars across several of our parks in 2021 based on learnings over the past 12 months. In particular, for the first time in over a decade, we are operating year-round at SeaWorld San Antonio; and for the first time ever, we have begun year-round operations at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and at Sesame Place. These parks are now open primarily on weekends and holidays during the winter season in advance of their traditional operating seasons. We now have year-round operations at 8 of our 12 parks. Only our water parks in San Diego, San Antonio, Tampa Bay and Williamsburg, Virginia are not open year-round. We are planning to have all 12 of our parks open, including Aquatica San Antonio, Adventure Island in Tampa Bay, Water Country U.S.A. in Williamsburg and Aquatica San Diego for their full 2021 operating seasons, subject to local, state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19. I want to recognize each of our operating teams for their outstanding efforts to safely operate our parks while also following various COVID-19-related safety protocols and following established health and safety guidelines. While this continues to be an unprecedented and challenging time for our company and industry, it's been encouraging to see our performance improve and assuring to see our guests visiting our parks over the last few months. As a reminder, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken significant actions to reduce our costs, carefully manage our cash flows, fortify our balance sheet and liquidity position and operate our parks with new and enhanced operating and safety protocols to meet the realities of the current environment. While our fourth quarter financial results benefited from many of these actions, results were still significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance in the fourth quarter was impacted by fewer operating days and hours versus the prior year, capacity limitations, temporary park closures and a more limited events lineup. Despite these limitations, attendance remained fairly steady throughout the quarter. Excluding the company's Virginia and California parks, which were only partially open and operating with significantly modified and limited operations due to state and post restrictions or temporarily closed, monthly attendance was down 40% in October, down 47% in November and down 44% in December. Further, several parks operated at or near capacity limitations on multiple days during the quarter. If the parks were not capacity constrained on these days, our performance versus the prior year would have been better than what was realized. Monthly attendance trends continued to remain steady into the first quarter with January tenants down 42%, excluding Virginia and California, and down 53% on a consolidated basis relative to prior year. While the month of February is not complete, attendance trends are similar to what we saw in January. We are particularly pleased with the performance of our Halloween and Christmas events during the quarter. Once again, our operating teams rose to the occasion and created a safe yet modified version of these events that guests could enjoy. We've also recently featured our inside look in all new Mardi Gras events at several of our parks and have been pleased with our performance in driving attendance during January and February. Looking ahead, we have started to offer our food and music festivals across many of our theme parks and are extremely proud and excited to have live concerts back at our SeaWorld Park in Orlando and soon to start at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. These special events are valued by our loyal pass holders and guests, and we are confident we are able to deliver compelling, exciting and most importantly, safe events with relevant and appropriate operational changes. We are looking forward to spring break in the spring and summer season where we are planning to have even more events and open more of our parks, including our water parks, which we know our guests are really looking forward to visiting again. Last quarter, we mentioned that we believe there was a several hundred basis point opportunity to grow margins in our business. For discussion purposes, we have posted a short presentation on our investor website along with our earnings press release that provides an illustration of how to think about the profitability we believe we can achieve when we return to 2019 attendance levels. To be clear, this is not guidance. We are not projecting when we will return to 2019 attendance and we are certainly not suggesting we don't expect to grow attendance beyond our 2019 attendance levels and per caps beyond our 2020 levels over time. This is just meant as a simple illustration to show what we believe the earnings power of the business would be at 2019 attendance levels based on the changes and improvements we have identified and largely implemented over the past year. Importantly, this analysis does not reflect the impact of cost inflation or cost pressures on the business over time. As you know, starting well before COVID -- before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have spent significant time working closely alongside our Board to review our business and identify and implement cost savings opportunities and efficiencies that will strengthen our business. We have also spent considerable time and investment in driving greater revenues from our business, including working closely with pricing consultants to develop new pricing strategies, creating a new centralized revenue management function, enhancing our in-park revenue team, revamping our in-park product assortment and mix, developing and utilizing a more analytical and data-centric decision-making process and implementing dynamic and other pricing initiatives. Some of the benefits of this work was reflected in our results prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A meaningful portion of these benefits were planned to be realized in 2020. And as you know, our first quarter in 2020 was off to a record start through February 2020. With the onset of COVID-19 and the forced closure of all of our parks and operations, we took advantage of the opportunity to further refine our revenue teams and strategies and look at our operations and cost structure in a way that we never could have before. We doubled and tripled down on our already in-process efforts and looked at nearly every part of the business from top to bottom across the entire enterprise. The results of this new effort yielded demonstrable results in 2020 on our total revenue per caps with our 2020 per caps up $5.95 or 9.6%. The results of this effort also yielded identified cost savings of roughly $100 million from our 2019 cost base, assuming 2019 attendance levels. Said another way, we would expect our cost base to be lower by roughly $100 million when we achieve our 2019 attendance levels again prior to the impact of any cost inflation or cost pressures. We've included on Slide 4 how these cost savings roughly break down by category and included some select examples of the types of cost savings we have identified and/or implemented. But the vast majority of these cost savings have already been implemented, and we expect the vast majority of the remaining cost savings will be implemented this year. To be clear, again, we are not projecting when we will achieve our 2019 attendance levels. That will largely depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 impact on our lives, our economy and our business. What we are projecting is that we will have materially lower costs and a significantly more efficient and profitable business when that time comes. As you can see on Slide 2 of the presentation, we present a simple illustrative analysis that shows if we were to achieve 2019 attendance levels and mix, our 2020 per caps and the roughly $100 million of cost savings that we have identified and largely already implemented, our adjusted EBITDA would be approximately $690 million. Again, this is not guidance, and we are not projecting when we will achieve our 2019 attendance levels or when we will achieve this level of adjusted EBITDA. This analysis does not include or estimate the impact of any cost inflation or cost pressures, assumes the attendance and park mix of 2019 and the cost reductions are predicated on 2019 attendance levels. It is simply meant to show what level of adjusted EBITDA we expect we would have achieved in 2019 had we had the benefit of the revenue management improvements and cost reductions that we have identified and largely implemented in 2020. Needless to say, we are excited about the progress we have made and look forward to returning to a more normalized operating environment as we believe the actions we have taken will lead to significantly improved financial results for the company. Our teams have worked hard to better position this company for revenue growth and increased profitability. With that, I would like to turn the call over to Elizabeth to discuss our financial results in more detail. Elizabeth? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - CAO, Interim CFO & Treasurer [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Marc, and good morning, everyone. As Marc mentioned, our fourth quarter results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With fewer operating days and hours per week versus the prior year, capacity limitations and modified or limited park operations, attendance for the fourth quarter decreased by approximately 2.5 million guests or 53% when compared to the prior year quarter. This represents an improved trend as attendance was down 81% in the third quarter 2020 compared to the third quarter 2019. We generated revenue of $154 million, a decrease of $144 million or 48% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The decrease in revenue results from a decline in attendance and was partially offset by an increase in total revenue per capita. Total revenue per capita was $69.40 compared to $63.42 in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 9.4% driven by strong improvement in both admissions per capita and in part per capita spending. Admissions per capita increased by 9.4% to $41.44 for the fourth quarter 2020. The increase was primarily due to the realization of higher prices and admission products, partially offset by the net impact of attendance mix when compared to the prior year period. In-park per capita spending increased by 9.5% to $27.96 in the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase in in-park per capita spending results primarily from increased guest spending, higher realized prices and fees, enhanced and expanded product offerings and the mix of certain merchandise and food and beverage items, partially offset by the impact of higher pass attendance when compared to the prior year period. We are particularly pleased with our overall per capita performance during the quarter, especially considering our higher mix of season pass attendance. We generated a net loss of $45.5 million compared to a net loss of $24.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Net loss in the fourth quarter of 2020 includes approximately $2.8 million of pretax expenses directly associated with incremental costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a legal settlement gain of approximately $4.4 million. Net loss in the fourth quarter of 2019 includes a legal settlement charge net of insurance recoveries of approximately $32.1 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $22.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, a decline of $61.2 million compared to the prior year quarter. The positive adjusted EBITDA reflects our decisive actions and continued efforts around driving revenue and managing costs. Total operating expenses decreased by $48.7 million or 32% when compared to the prior year quarter, largely due to a reduction in labor-related costs resulting from modified or limited operating days. Operating expenses also declined due to the impact of reduced operating schedules, the use of more efficient staffing models and cost savings and efficiency initiatives. Total selling, general and administrative expenses decreased by $64.6 million or 74% primarily due to a reduction in legal, marketing and third-party consulting costs and cost savings and efficiency initiatives. Looking at our results for the full year, which were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, total revenue was $431.8 million, a decrease of $966 million or 69%. Total attendance was approximately 6.4 million guests, a decrease of 72%. Net loss for the fiscal year was $312.3 million, a decrease of $401.8 million. And adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $73.2 million, a decline of $530.1 million when compared to 2019. Fiscal 2020 total revenue per capita was $67.75 compared to $61.80 in 2019, a 9.6% increase driven by an increase in admissions per capita and in-park per capita spending. Admissions per capita increased 12.9% to $40.07 compared to $35.48 in 2019. The improvement in admissions per capita is primarily due to the realization of higher prices in our admission products and a favorable park mix, partially offset by the net impact of attendance mix when compared to the prior year. In-park per capita spending improved by 5.2% to $27.68 from $26.32 in 2019. The increase was primarily due to higher realized prices and fees, enhanced and expanded product offerings, the mix of certain merchandise and food and beverage items and increased guest spending and was partially offset by the impact of attendance mix when compared to the prior year period. We reported a net loss for fiscal 2020 of $312.3 million compared to net income of $89.5 million in 2019. Net loss in 2020 includes approximately $16.9 million related to legal settlement proceeds, $8.8 million related to pretax expenses associated with incremental costs for the COVID-19 pandemic and $2.8 million of pretax expenses associated with severance and other separation-related costs. Net income in 2019 includes approximately $32.1 million related to legal settlement charges net of insurance recoveries, $4.3 million of pretax expenses associated with the previously announced equity transaction and $4.2 million of pretax expenses associated with severance and other separation-related costs. Now turning to our balance sheet. Our current deferred revenue balance related to all of our products as of the end of the year was $130.8 million, an increase of approximately 25% from December of 2019. We are pleased with the pace of our pass sales and pass base development. Our pass base grew between the third and the fourth quarter. And currently, our pass base is only down 6% compared to February of 2020. To put this in perspective, our pass base is currently at approximately 70% of our peak pass base in 2019 with the peak pass selling seasons of the spring and summer yet to come. This is particularly impressive because, as you know, we only extended a portion of our passes through 2021. So the majority of our current pass base reflects new sales or current paying pass members. We are also encouraged that the impact of our pricing strategies continue to take hold with stronger realized prices on our pass sales versus the prior year. As of December 31, 2020, our cash and cash equivalents balance was approximately $434 million. And total liquidity, including our available revolver capacity, was approximately $745 million. Our estimated average monthly adjusted net cash burn during the quarter was approximately $1 million per month excluding certain vendor payments, which were previously deferred through extended payment terms or payment plans in order to manage liquidity during the temporary park closures and limited reopenings. Our adjusted net cash burn demonstrates our commitment to continue to effectively manage cost and cash flow through this environment. Including the deferred vendor payments, we estimate that the average monthly net cash burn for the fourth quarter was approximately $18 million per month. Our deferred vendor payment balance was approximately $20 million as of the end of the fourth quarter. We continue to work with our vendors and business partners on these deferred payments and anticipate having these substantially paid off by April of 2021. Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2021, which, as you know, is traditionally our seasonally lowest cash flow generation quarter and will include a $24 million interest payment on our second-lien senior notes along with the timing of other payments, we anticipate our average monthly net cash burn will be in the range of $25 million to $30 million. We spent $109.2 million on CapEx in 2020, of which approximately $94.7 million was on core CapEx and approximately $14.5 million was on expansion or ROI projects. As we have previously discussed, we will spend opportunistically on noncore expansion or ROI CapEx when we find opportunities that meet our return hurdles, including new parks and expansion, like our Sesame Place park in California, incremental revenue-enhancing projects, cost-reducing projects or other similar opportunities. For 2021, depending on the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 impact, we plan on spending between $100 million and $150 million on capital expenditures. With the continuation of modified or limited operations across most of our parks, we're even more focused on driving attendance and total revenue while eliminating unnecessary costs and continuing to identify more efficient ways to operate safely. Now let me turn the call back over to Marc, who will share some final thoughts. Marc? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you, Elizabeth. Now before we open the call to your questions, I have some closing comments. During the quarter, our rescue teams continued to operate helping wildlife in need. In the fourth quarter, we helped rescue over 470 animals, and we have surpassed more than 38,000 animal rescues over the company's history. We are one of the world's leading animal rescue organizations, and we are proud of our efforts to protect and save wildlife. I want to thank our employee ambassadors for their continued dedication and effort to welcome back our guests while operating our parks in accordance with the latest health and safety protocols. I want to thank our loyal pass holders and guests for continuing to visit our parks. And finally, I want to thank our financial and operating partners for their continued support and understanding during these extraordinary times. As we have previously discussed, we are focused on providing a safe and fun guest experience while continuing to offer innovative special events and creating new events for our pass holders and guests to enjoy while our parks -- at our parks while still complying with established health and safety guidelines. We have the right assets and team. Our balance sheet and liquidity are strong. We are successfully navigating through this extraordinary environment, and we will emerge an even stronger and more profitable enterprise. We continue to have high confidence in our long-term strategy and in our ability to deliver significantly improved operating and financial results that will lead to meaningfully increased value for all shareholders. With that, let's open the line to take your questions. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Steven Wieczynski with Stifel. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So first of all, thanks for providing all that information in the slide. That's very helpful. So I guess when I look at that, you're obviously assuming that the higher per cap spending or you potentially can get to that higher per cap spending, and that's going to get you based on the higher attendance levels about $135 million of revenues. And you're flowing that all that -- you're flowing that all the way down to the EBITDA line. So I guess the question I'm trying to understand here is that is the $100 million expense savings, how much of that is variable depending on attendance versus not being variable depending on where attendance is if that makes sense. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Steve, it's Marc. I can take that question. So when we look at the cost savings that we've identified and implemented, roughly half of that is I would consider more fixed in nature and probably about -- and roughly half is more variable in nature. So obviously, the variable piece is going to come back over time as we grow the attendance over time. So we will get those efficiencies, as you've noted. And then the remaining fixed items, we expect to realize not only in 2021, but a little bit just beyond that as well. So it's a mix of both things. I can tell you that we have a tremendous amount of focus on those costs, as we've talked about for some time now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Steven Moyer Wieczynski, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD of Equity Research and Gaming & Leisure Research Analyst [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Got you. And then so the bucket of labor, which is about $50 million, and I can see in the footnotes there, that basically does not include any cost inflation or pressures. But if you look at kind of where minimum wage rates could go, is there a way to help us think about what -- obviously, you're trying to cut $50 million in labor, but if you do see an increase in minimum wage, what that bucket would look like or what the pressure would be on that bucket? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. What I can tell you is, obviously, there's various -- we operate in various states, and some of them have minimum wage aspects to them, some do not. And we know there's various other things out there that could be on the horizon at a federal level. So having said all that, though, Steve, our goal with any sort of minimum wage increase is to try to find ways to offset those costs through other efficiencies, automation efforts, et cetera. So I don't have an exact number to give you. What I would tell you is, yes, there could be inflationary and cost pressure headwinds to that number. It's certainly not going to offset or be anywhere close to offsetting the whole number, obviously, and we would work very hard to offset those increases with other efficiencies and automation efforts over time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our next question comes from Tyler Batory of Janney. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jonathan David Jenkins, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Associate [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is Jonathan on for Tyler. First one from me. The topic of conversation out there is on the pent-up demand that could come in the back half of the year. I'm curious if you're seeing any early indicators there, whether it be group bookings, pass sales, survey data, something like that. Any color you can provide on that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Jonathan, it's Marc. I can help you with that question. So there's a couple of things that give me optimistic about how we think about the rest of the year. So first of all, you heard Elizabeth mention our pass base is at 70% of our peak in 2019. And you heard her also say that the majority of that is tied to newer sales, right? And this is ahead of our peak spring and summer selling season. So we sell passes year-round, as you know, but we sell the most of them kind of in that spring and summer season. So we're already at 70% of our peak with the bulk of our selling season ahead of us or the high part of our selling season ahead of us. So that gives me some optimism there around pass base. We've also -- we look at our sales on a daily and weekly basis. And look, we've had days where our sales are down less than our attendance. So that tells you that there are people buying the product and people will eventually come and use that product, is how we see it. So that's a good sign. And then finally, our Discovery Cove bookings are up about 40% compared to the same time last year. So those are things that give me optimism. I could also just state that, obviously, you saw a pretty strong increase in our attendance from -- in Q4 versus Q3. So I think when you put all this together, hopefully, that helps you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jonathan David Jenkins, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Associate [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Great. That's very helpful. And then can you just provide some color on the current pact -- park mix, destination versus local mix of pass versus single day and if there's been any change there since the fall? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, what I would tell you is we -- as we said in the prepared remarks, our pass attendance was up again in the fourth quarter relative to last year. It was about the same as Q3. So not surprising to see more pass holders visiting. And we have a little bit, not surprisingly, more local attendance as well. So those are things that will likely continue for a while. And I wanted to point out because I think I've said this, those things have -- can have a negative drag on your per cap. So that's another reason why we feel good about the per cap growth is it's coming with higher pass visitation and higher local visitation as well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your next question comes from Mike Swartz of Truist Security. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael Arlington Swartz, Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Senior Analyst [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just talking about the kind of the same park attendance trends that you're seeing and trying to just get a sense of maybe how to -- we plan that going forward. I know that international visitation is likely to be more of a headwind to certain of your Florida parks. And I think a lot of that visitation happens to the spring or summer. So are there any ways you can give us some parameters on how to think about that cadence over the next couple of months or a couple of quarters? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Mike, it's Marc. I mean I think what I can tell you is, we're -- the trends we're seeing now, as I mentioned, more local and pass visitation likely continues. Having said that, our local visitation when I look across the company, for the fourth quarter was over 50%, just shy of 60%. So that tells you that there's still a very meaningful amount of people who are coming, more than 40% who are coming from outside local areas. And that kind of comes back to my point, we've made several times about the ability to travel to our parks by car, which we think is an important component of our business model. So we are seeing attendance from drive and overnight markets, domestic markets, same-day markets. And that's -- it's not really terribly far off what we've seen in prior years when you look at them on a combined basis. So we're getting more local visitation, but we're not necessarily seeing dramatic decreases in other U.S. visitation, same-day, drive and overnight and domestic. Where we have virtually no attendance is international, as you noted, but international for us is not a -- it's only about 10% of our business in a given year. So we like -- we continue to hopefully drive forward at these similar source of residency trends. So... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael Arlington Swartz, Truist Securities, Inc., Research Division - Senior Analyst [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Got it. That's helpful. And then just regarding the $100 million in cost savings, if I heard you correctly, you've executed around I think all of that in 2020. Were there any incremental investments during the year? Are there any incremental investments in 2021 related to those savings? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. What I can tell you is there's investments that we're going to make where it makes sense for us to -- that drive costs down. So I'll give you an example. We opened a new office building at the end of 2019, for example. So that got us out of a lease situation. We built our own building that I would argue at a very reasonable cost, and we're going to realize that return over time. So where it makes sense to invest in capital to drive cost efficiencies, like around automation or buying things that we used to lease, for example, getting out of warehouse space and finding places to either construct our own cheaper warehouse on site, something like that, we will pursue those. So there is some element of that to our cost savings program. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our next question comes from Paul Golding of Macquarie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Alexander Golding, Macquarie Research - Analyst [17] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So I noticed in the presentation that you had a section that talked about the international potential in the medium to long term. I guess if you could give some more color around the international strategies, we've seen some difficulty with your peers as far as breaking into those markets. And as a follow-up, I was wondering if you have any surveyed info on the customer experience in light of the labor efficiencies that you've been implementing? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [18] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Thanks, Paul. So on the international expansion opportunities. Like certainly, we're quite happy with the work that's going on in Abu Dhabi. And if you've not been able to see any of the photos at that, I think they're out there. We're excited about that property coming on over time here. So beyond that, we take -- we're certainly open into listening to other opportunities. We do -- I think we've looked at different things. I don't have anything certainly to announce or talk about today, but I can tell you that there's Abu Dhabi, there's other markets like China and things like that, that might make sense for us. And we would evaluate those along with our Board and whatnot and see if any of those make sense. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Alexander Golding, Macquarie Research - Analyst [19] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. And then on the customer experience, any survey data on that as far as the -- in light of the labor efficiencies? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [20] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, what I would tell you is when we -- any time we set out to do cost initiatives, we have several guardrails. And so certainly, one of the guardrails is safety. We're not going to compromise anything that would compromise safety of our guests or our animals or our employees. A couple of other guardrails, obviously, is we're going to be very careful. We don't want to implement things that impact the guest experience, and we don't want to impact things that are revenue negative, right? So we -- what we have to do then is watch those things. And as we implement activities, monitor those things. And if we've made a mistake of any kind, we go and try to correct that, right? So that's -- we'll continue to monitor those things. I will say, certainly, with COVID, right now, there's nuances to how you look at the data just given COVID protocols and things like that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [21] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our next question comes from Alexia Quadrani of JPMorgan. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alexia Skouras Quadrani, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst [22] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just two quick questions. The first one, on the capacity limits, particularly when you look at Orlando, I know you don't necessarily disclose numbers, but I'm wondering how -- if you could give some color about how it's trending. If you've had limited capacity that has continued to inch up through the quarter or plans for this year or at least first half of this year, I assume, for the full year. And I guess any color you could give us in front of that. And then just circling back to the parks that are open year-round now with the weekends. I'm curious, is that something you can sustain well post-COVID? And do you think there's enough demand for that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [23] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Alexia, it's Marc. Let me start with your second question. So as far as the parks that are open year-round now, so notably, Texas, SeaWorld in Texas, Sesame Place and Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. One of the things that gave us a lot of confidence in moving to that model is the efficiencies that we've learned to operate by during COVID. So we have gotten a lot more efficient in our operations. We've gotten a lot more creative, nimble, flexible, all the things I've talked about to be able to run things that are compelling, but also at an efficient cost base and cost structure. And we've done different things like drive-thrus, we've done other like special events at our parks. We'll continue to do these things. So to answer your question, I do think they are sustainable. And we'll -- I think for the foreseeable future, we would plan to do these things always with an eye towards being as efficient as possible. As far as your question on Orlando, what I would remind you is, look, we rarely operate at a peak operating day, right? So we have a lot of capacity in the park, and we very rarely hit that full capacity during normal times. So right now, I think our -- we feel good about where we are. The capacity limitations are really driven by social-distancing requirements. So as those change or when they change over time, that will be the driver of our ability to drive more capacity. But again, we rarely, even in normal times, would operate at full capacity. So we're -- we feel good about our ability to still generate relatively good results given where we are in COVID. And then as the capacity increases over time with social distancing hopefully decreasing at some point, I don't know when that will be, that would be the driver of more capacity. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [24] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our next question comes from Ben Chaiken of Credit Suisse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Benjamin Nicolas Chaiken, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [25] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A lot of great examples of what's helping pricing. You've got sharpening analytical pricing capabilities, enhancing in-park pricing, improved promotional effectiveness. I was hoping you can just give some specific maybe, I don't know, anecdotal or actual examples of what you're doing today versus -- with some of these new procedures versus how that's different than what was done previously, if there are some easy ones just to write off? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [26] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Ben, it's Marc. I can take that question. So yes, look, I'm really proud of the work we've done in this area not only with admissions, but in park. And first, we've built out a dedicated revenue management team here in our corporate offices in Orlando. And we have people looking at every park pretty much every day of the week. So they're looking at what's going on. Our analytical capabilities are much better. And I wanted -- so to give you a specific example on that, and then I want to talk about in-park as well. We have learned with some of the things around our reservation system, our ability to kind of forecast how we think a day is going to trend several days out. We can price certain products higher as we get closer to what we think is going to be a peak day or a day that's going to near capacity, right? So where that last -- the last guest into the park, if you waited to buy your ticket, you're probably going to pay a higher price. So we've seen that not only on admissions, but that also applies over to some of our in-park items. So we had, for example, over Halloween, we do -- where you can buy a pass down at our park in Tampa Bay where you can buy a pass that allows you to kind of get to the front of the line to see some of our Halloween mazes and things like that. I can tell you that without getting too much into the details, we were able to sell those at a pretty high rate, especially as we got day of the event where people could see the park was going to be near capacity, obviously, with all the safety protocols still. And they would say, "Hey, probably it may not be a bad idea to buy a front of line, and we're going to kind of maximize the price on that." So that's just an example. Some of the other things on in-park is we have new -- some new venues in our parks. We've also looked at repricing certain products. I would also continue to say our events are driving, I think, good spend in this area. So like we just recently completed or have been processed depending on the park events around Mardi Gras. And again, this is maybe an event we didn't do in every park last year that we're doing now. And we saw I think a pretty good response to people coming out not only enjoying themselves, but buying different food and drink items, beads, things like that. So that's another example. And I'll just add on the per caps because I think this is important. And I don't know, in case we don't get a chance to talk about it, I want to mention it. We are doing this without the benefit of a CRM system. And so I know I hear from other competitors, other people and other companies how impactful their CRM systems are. So we recognize that's where we want to go. And we are in the very, very early stages of working on a CRM. So we are doing a lot of this without the benefit of that. So I'm even more excited that when we can get something like a CRM system fully functioning, I think that's only going to help the per caps and all the things you can do with that. Secondly, one other thing I'd like to point out is, we're also developing a new mobile app. So -- and that will be ready -- that should be ready this year. So that will be something you can use in the park to do things like mobile ordering and whatnot. The app we have now is not very useful in a lot of those ways. So we think this is going to be a significant improvement in the app. So again, back to my point, per caps are growing even without some of those things in place, and that's what gives us a lot of excitement for the future as well. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Benjamin Nicolas Chaiken, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [27] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's super helpful. And then just one quick one, if I may. Sesame Park expansion, I know there's a conversion happening -- I guess Sesame Place, I should rather -- I know there's a conversion happening outside of San Diego. How do you think about the white space given of that I guess product, given the differentiated dynamic associated with it or branding, I guess, I should say? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [28] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Sorry, what was your -- did you say... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Benjamin Nicolas Chaiken, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [29] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just the appetite for Sesame park expansion. Yes. Sorry. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [30] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Look, well, what I'll tell you is we're big fans of the Sesame Street product. It's a great brand, and we're excited that we'll be opening a park in San Diego, Sesame #2, here in the coming year. So we're excited about that opportunity. We'll continue to look. I don't have anything to announce today, but I think this is something that we'll continue to look at. It's a strong brand. We also -- you may not know this, but we have that brand in our other parks. So we have a Sesame Street land here in Orlando that when it opened a couple of years ago was voted one of the best new attractions by USA Today. So we utilize that brand throughout a number of our parks. I think it's a great brand, and we'll keep evaluating future opportunities with that brand. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [31] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our next question comes from Stephen Grambling of Goldman Sachs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stephen White Grambling, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [32] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just a follow-up on I think it was Steve's initial question around the slides and the EBITDA -- hypothetical EBITDA. I think last quarter, you referenced kind of several hundred basis points of opportunity in a normalized environment. I guess what changed? Or what did you learn as you sharpen the pencil? And then how are you generally thinking about reinvestment back into the business? And are there any incremental discrete costs where you have visibility as a result of the pandemic, whether that's insurance costs moving higher or safety or otherwise? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [33] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Stephen, it's Marc. So obviously, when we talked last time, we were still formalizing and looking at these numbers and didn't have a full view, and we still had Q4 ahead of us. I think what I'd like to point out, obviously, is the cost work we've been -- has been ongoing for some time. And so I would say we probably felt pretty good about that even last quarter, and we've continued to refine that. I think the bigger change as we dug into the numbers is really around the per cap. So if you look -- and I think it's important to note this. If you look at the potential for the margin expansion, a lot of it is coming from higher pricing, higher per caps, right? So it's not just a pure -- it's not a pure cost play. And so there's per cap growth there. And as we kind of unpacked as we thought about Q4, we're like, look -- or the full year, you're growing per cap almost $6 for the full year, and we really tried to unpack that and say, look, there were some positive things from COVID, mainly the mix of our parks, having more parks opened in Florida, for example. But there were certainly some negative things that impacted per caps as well around having more local and pass visitors not being able to fully employ some of our events and some of the spending around that. So when we kind of peeled the onion back and really looked at that, we said, look, the pluses and minuses kind of cancel each other out. I mean it's an estimation process. But -- so that gave us confidence that we think these numbers can hold going forward. And then on top of that, putting the things we're doing with the revenue management team, the in-park pricing team, all the new things we're doing and then, as I mentioned before, if you throw CRM and mobile app on top of that down the road, that's what gives us quite a bit of confidence. So I think that's one of the -- the big changes there was really around the per caps and really us diving into those numbers and seeing how confident we felt with that. I think your other... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stephen White Grambling, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [34] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the second half. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [35] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Your other question was about cost. I mean I think we'll -- like with any cost, we're going to continue to monitor those and where there's significant increases, we would look for ways to try to offset those. Obviously, we have cost of -- doing things maybe a little bit differently now with COVID and what not. But I don't know what the exact future is going to look like. We're going to do our best, as always, to try to offset those as much as possible. We noted that our number doesn't include any inflation or cost pressures. We don't know where those are going to come from exactly, wages or other things like that. But what I would tell you is we just have a lot of focus on costs, and we would look for ways to offset those as much as possible. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [36] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our last question comes from James Hardiman of Wedbush Securities. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- James Lloyd Hardiman, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [37] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So just to sort of close the book on that last point. Obviously, $235 million of incremental EBITDA, that's a gross number. It's not a net number. Is there a way to think about typical cost inflation over a long period of time, so we could sort of generally think about maybe offsets to some of those gains. Obviously, you said a number of times that you would hope to offset any incremental inflation that you see. But is there sort of a -- I don't know, a low single-digit sort of a typical inflation that you would see annually? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [38] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. So James, it's Marc. So I mean what I think I would tell you is, we didn't guide you to anything because remember, this is kind of stepping back as if we were in 2019 and operating with what we know now. So it's hard to project an inflation number when you kind of go backwards. But I think I don't want to guide you to anything. I think you can monitor the -- any sort of wage impacts or other inflationary impacts. But yes, it's probably -- again, without guiding you specifically, I don't think it's probably far off what you're saying. Is it inflationary? Yes, it's probably in that range. Are there some things that might be higher at times? I know labor -- lumber costs are up and things like that. But are there going to be onetime items that spike here and there? Yes, there could be. Hopefully, things revert to close to a more normalized number. But what I would just assure you is, we're going to try to offset as much of those as we can. To the extent we can't offset everything, we would think that the increases would be more inflationary level depending on the specific items. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- James Lloyd Hardiman, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [39] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. And then my second question to sort of circle back to the international or fly-in business versus sort of the drive-in business. Obviously, one big question is when you might actually get back to 2019 levels. I'm not going to ask you that question. But what I am going to ask is, do you think getting back to 2019 is dependent on air travel and international travel going back to normal? Obviously, on the one hand, you have significant -- whether it's 10% or whatever it happens to be, international and drive-in that is going to be a drag until that goes back to normal -- I'm sorry, international or sort of further out fly-in. But on the other hand, presumably people, and I think you've talked about this, are willing to drive further in the current environment where people are taking planes. So I'm trying to figure out if those two things can offset one another in the, I don't know, immediate post-pandemic phase where people are comfortable going to parks, but maybe not comfortable getting on an airplane. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [40] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. I think I got you, James. So let me see if I can help you with that. So one of the things -- first of all, we've talked about a couple of things over the last several quarters. One, as I mentioned earlier, traditionally, international attendance was about 10% of our total attendance across the entire company, and most of that being in Florida, a little bit in San Diego. What we've also said is the vast majority of our tenants comes from people who can drive to our parks. So I don't know the exact answer. Can we offset international with other guests? We would sure hope so. We know international guests tend to spend generally more than others. They're coming here generally less often. So it's a bigger deal for them. But we would look to grow much like we're trying to do now. We've had more local attendance. But we've also been able to largely hold fairly steady on our same-day, drive and overnight and domestic markets on a combined basis, and we'll continue to do that. I mentioned one of the things that also helps is, obviously, the per cap growth that might allow you to grow a little bit more revenue from per cap. Now we're not going to just focus exclusively on per cap. We're always here to drive total revenue. So we're going to try to attract guests that we believe will ultimately drive the most total revenue. So hopefully, that gives you some backdrop as how we're kind of thinking about it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [41] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Marc Swanson for any closing remarks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. - Interim CEO [42] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks, Ian. Appreciate it. On behalf of Elizabeth and the rest of the management team here at SeaWorld Entertainment, I want to thank you for joining us this morning. As you've heard today, we're confident in our business and strategy and look forward to coming out of this crisis and continuing to drive improved operating and financial results and long-term value for all stakeholders. So thank you and we look forward to speaking with you next quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [43] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.