The U.S. lodging industry is highly competitive. Our hotel properties compete with other participants in the lodging industry for guests in each of their markets on the basis of several factors, including, among others, location, quality of accommodations, convenience, brand affiliation, room rates, service levels, amenities and the availability of lodging and event space. Competition is often specific to the individual markets in which our hotel properties are located and includes competition from existing and new hotels in the focused-service and compact full-service hotel segments and non-traditional accommodations for travelers, such as online room sharing services. We believe that hotels, such as our hotels, that are affiliated with leading national brands, such as the Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Wyndham brands, will enjoy competitive advantages associated with operating under such brands.
We face competition for the acquisition of hotel properties from institutional pension funds, private equity funds, REITs, hotel companies and other parties who are engaged in the acquisition of hotel properties. Some of these competitors may have substantially greater financial and operational resources and access to capital, a lower cost of capital and/or greater knowledge of the markets in which we seek to invest. This competition may reduce the number of suitable investment opportunities offered to us and decrease the attractiveness of the terms on which we may acquire our targeted hotel investments, including the cost thereof.
The lodging industry is seasonal in nature, which can cause quarterly fluctuations in our revenues. For example, our hotels in the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area experience lower revenues and profits during the winter months of December through March, while our hotels in Florida generally have higher revenues in the months of January through April. This seasonality can be expected to cause periodic fluctuations in a hotel's room revenues, occupancy levels, room rates, operating expenses and cash flows.
Our Financing Strategy
We expect to continue to maintain a prudent capital structure by limiting our net debt-to-EBITDA ratio to 4.0x or below. We define net debt as total indebtedness minus cash and cash equivalents. Over time, we intend to finance our long-term growth with equity issuances and debt financing with staggered maturities. Our strategy with respect to our debt profile is to primarily have unsecured debt and a greater percentage of fixed rate and hedged floating rate debt as compared to unhedged floating rate debt. We will also continue to evaluate pursuing an investment grade rating. Our debt is currently comprised of unsecured senior notes, unsecured credit agreements, and mortgage loans secured by our hotel properties. We have a mix of fixed and floating rate debt; however, the majority of our debt either bears interest at fixed rates or effectively bears interest at fixed rates due to interest rate swaps on the debt.
We were formed as a Maryland REIT in January 2011. We conduct our business through a traditional umbrella partnership real estate investment trust ("UPREIT") in which our hotel properties are indirectly owned by the Operating Partnership, through limited partnerships, limited liability companies or other subsidiaries. We are the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership and, as of December 31, 2018, we owned 99.6% of the OP units in the Operating Partnership. In the future, we may issue OP units from time to time in connection with acquiring hotel properties, financing, compensation or other reasons.
In order for the income from our hotel operations to constitute "rents from real property" for purposes of the gross income tests required for REIT qualification, we cannot directly or indirectly operate any of our hotel properties. Accordingly, we lease our hotels, and we intend to lease any hotels we acquire in the future, to subsidiaries of our TRSs ("TRS lessees"), which are wholly-owned by us. Our TRS lessees have engaged, or will engage, third-party management companies to manage our hotel properties, and any hotel properties we acquire in the future, on market terms.
Our TRS lessees pay rent to us that we intend to treat as "rents from real property," provided that the third-party management companies engaged by our TRS lessees to manage our hotel properties are deemed to be "eligible independent contractors" and certain other requirements are met. Our TRSs are subject to U.S. federal, state and local income taxes applicable to corporations.