Our long-term investment strategy targets upper-upscale and upscale full-service and select service hotels in primary, secondary and resort markets throughout the United States. Ashford invests in a variety of lodging-related assets based upon its evaluation of market conditions including cost of capital and the expected returns from those investments. We actively recycle capital from hotel sales to enhance shareholder return.
Direct Hotel Investments
In selecting hotels to acquire, Ashford targets hotels that offer one or more of the following attributes: a high current return or the opportunity to increase value through repositioning, capital investment, market-based recovery, or improved asset management practices. Ashford's primary strategy is to invest in top-25 MSA's, while allowing for high-yielding opportunities in other markets as well. The majority of Ashford's hotels are associated with the strongest brand families such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood, with the flexibility to create value with other brands and independents. Upper-Upscale and Upscale hotels are preferred, while investments in Mid-Scale and Luxury hotels are more selectively pursued.
Ashford believes this investment flexibility maximizes the broadest based opportunities to maximize shareholder value. We acquire individual properties as well as large portfolios that oftentimes have a mix of hotel assets. We consider joint venture structures as well as utilizing operating partnership units to facilitate transactions. Ashford seeks to achieve both current income and gain from long-term appreciation.
While direct hotel investments clearly dominate the portfolio, we do consider other hotel related investment structures such as mezzanine financing, first mortgages, sale leasebacks, and purchase of our own debt at a discount. Our decision to deploy capital in these areas is a function of risk, pricing, returns, control, and alternative sources and uses of capital. We also consider share repurchase activity as an accretive and efficient means to enhance shareholder returns during selective periods based upon a variety of corporate, capital markets, and hotel industry fundamentals.