Marriott: U.S. Market Is Cooling Amid Global Hotel Boom – Yahoo Finance

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Marriott raised its forecast for 2024 profitability on Wednesday after predicting continued travel demand worldwide. But analysts spent the earnings call focused on travel booking behavior in the U.S., where post-pandemic domestic demand may be cooling.

“We now expect higher year-over-year RevPAR [revenue per available room] growth in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America, and lower levels of RevPAR growth in the U.S., Canada, and Greater China,” said Leeny Oberg, chief financial officer.

The hotel operator raised its forecast for full-year EBITDA by 1.6% to $4.88 billion.

U.S. Domestic Vacation Demand Normalizing

Analysts grilled Marriott executives about what they were seeing in U.S. demand patterns. Some highlights:

  • “We’re seeing a little more normalization in the U.S. and Canada, specifically on leisure,” said Anthony Capuano, president and CEO.

  • The overall picture remained difficult to assess. Marriott noted that its revenue per available room in the U.S. and Canada was above 2019 performance. But when Skift adjusted for inflation, the first-quarter revenue-per-available room figure was slightly below the 2019 level, underscoring the normalization in domestic vacation patterns.

  • One complicating factor is that many Americans continue to travel abroad. So Americans may still travel in larger numbers this year than they did before the pandemic, just not as much domestically as in 2021.

  • The U.S. dollar is stronger than roughly two-thirds of the world’s currencies, discounting the cost of many trips abroad for Americans. Thanks to currency shifts, Japan alone is roughly 30% cheaper than pre-pandemic.

  • American intent to travel differs by age group, broadly speaking. For example, a large number of Americans over age 55 are feeling disproportionately flush with cash thanks to a recently booming stock market. Many of these are traveling abroad, and this older demographic is especially familiar with Marriott’s family of brands and its loyalty program.

  • Another complicating factor is that Marriott’s properties are mostly “midscale” class and above, meaning they tend to be premium properties. As of today, the company has barely any economy and premium economy brands, which means its customer base isn’t fully representative of the travel market. In contrast, Wyndham, which is a large franchisor of budget and premium economy properties, saw weakness in the U.S. in the first quarter.

Marriott’s first-quarter results

  • Marriott reported adjusted net income of $620 million, 4% less than a year earlier. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.14 billion, up 4% year-over-year.

  • Marriott had unit growth. It added 46,000 rooms, including about 37,000 from a licensing deal with MGM Resorts.

Accommodations Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of hotels and short-term rental sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets, including international and regional hotel brands, hotel REITs, hotel management companies, alternative accommodations, and timeshares.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more hotels and short-term rental financial sector performance.

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.

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