I know that first and most important question you may have is, are you seeing a slowdown in North America, and the answer is no. There's plenty of evidence of continuing strength in our lodging business in North America.An interesting response to a fiscal cliff question:
I think that if you're talking about the fiscal cliff of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Obama employment tax cuts and maybe deficit impact, as well as the government cuts...I would say today that there is no impact of that threat on the numbers we've put on the books or the bookings that we're seeing. And we have certainly not made any effort to factor in a what-if. And obviously, we haven't given you '13 guidance anyway. But I think, by and large, this is going to be a question about what happens politically and how that translates into a U.S. economic performance in 2013 and beyond. It may be that it becomes relevant in the fourth quarter, but I doubt it. I think this is much more likely to be a question of how it gets factored into real economic growth, maybe a little bit attitude and sentiment as we're doing bookings in the fourth quarter but doubtful in terms of the impact to actual Q3 and Q4 numbers.
Also, not related to any outlook, but I like to file away useful information like this:
China is probably about 1 million rooms across the country as a whole. The U.S. is 5 million rooms. China will clearly see that 1 million rooms double and then double again over the course of the next period of time. It's going to imply substantial supply growth year-over-year for a number of years to come. But there's every reason to believe that demand is going to be growing with it.