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Starwood Projects 6 to 8 Pct Increase in RevPar

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide topped profit estimates for the first quarter as strength in the Americas helped offset softness in Europe, and the company raised its outlook for a key revenue measure, sending its shares up more than 2 percent.

A business-led recovery has helped lift U.S. hotel occupancy rates and aided an industry whose financing challenges have slowed construction.

Chart: Starwood Quarterly Revenue (USD)

Chart: Starwood Hotels Quarterly Revenue

Starwood, which franchises hotels under brands such as Sheraton, W and Westin, was upbeat that travel is continuing on an upswing fueled by the global economic recovery.

“Despite the headlines and uncertainty, our business is better than some might think,” Chief Executive Officer Frits van Paasschen told analysts during a conference call on Thursday.

“We believe we’re on the cusp of a golden age of global travel,” van Paasschen added.

Starwood projected growth of 6 percent to 8 percent in worldwide revenue per available room, or revPAR, for company-operated hotels open at least a year, up from a prior forecast of a 5 percent to 7 percent increase. That metric multiples occupancy rate by room rate.

Net income was $128 million, or 65 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with $28 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.

By region, revPAR rose 7.1 percent in North America, 14.4 percent in Latin America and 6.7 percent in Asia-Pacific. Europe revPAR was down 1.9 percent.

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