Marriott raises full-year profit forecast amid strong demand

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(Reuters) - Marriott International Inc MAR.O, the world's largest hotel chain, raised its full-year profit forecast for the third time this year and also increased the lower end of a key revenue measure, amid robust demand from business travelers.

The company said it expects comparable system-wide revenue per available room (revPAR), a key metric that measures a hotel’s financial health, to rise 2-3 percent this year, compared with its earlier forecast of a 1-3 percent increase.

RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

Marriott, owner of the Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury hotel brands, raised its full-year profit forecast to $4.22-$4.24 per share, from $4.06-$4.18.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott said RevPAR rose 2.1 percent in the third quarter, as room rates edged up 0.7 percent and occupancy increased 1.1 percent.

“The business related to the hurricane response increased North American lodging demand modestly in the third quarter, even as business transient and group demand was in line with expectations” Chief Executive Arne Sorenson said in a statement.

Revenue rose 43.7 percent to $5.66 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30.

Net income rose to from $392 million, or $1.04 per share, from $70 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier, which included $179 million in costs related to Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels.

Excluding items, Marriott earned $1.10 a share, beating analysts average estimate of 99 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza