PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Marriott Sees Growth After China Lifts Travel Restrictions

Marriott

Marriott International saw its revenue per available room (RevPAR) increase 4.2% year-over-year during the first quarter, driven largely by growth in international markets.

The hotel chain saw its RevPAR grow 1.5% in the United States and Canada and 11.1% in international markets, according to a Wednesday (May 1) earnings release.

“While overall industry RevPAR growth is normalizing post-COVID, we continue to gain RevPAR index across our portfolio and increase our market share of global hotels,” Marriott President and CEO Anthony Capuano said Wednesday during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

Within the international markets, growth in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding China, was especially strong, with a RevPAR gains of nearly 17%, according to the release.

The company attributed the gains in Asia-Pacific to strong macroeconomic trends, sustained growth in both leisure and business travel, and increasing cross-border travel, especially from mainland China after that country’s travel restrictions were relaxed, Leeny Oberg, chief financial officer and executive vice president of development at Marriott, said during the call.

In its earnings release, Marriott also noted that February marked the fifth anniversary of its travel and loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy. This program now has about 203 million members around the world and “remains a key competitive advantage,” Capuano said in the release. It added 7 million members during the first quarter, he said during the call.

Since its launch, the travel and loyalty program has expanded to include 30 brands, other travel offerings like homes and villas, and member benefits like co-branded credit cards and curated experiences, Capuano said during the call.

“Engagement, to me, is a much more important facet of the program,” he said during the call. “The work that we are doing to drive that engagement through our large, powerful and growing credit card portfolio and through the breadth of experiences that we offer our members — those are the powerful drivers of engagement with our members.”

During the quarter, the hotel chain formed an agreement with MGM Resorts International to launch MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy and add nearly 37,000 rooms to its system, according to the release. Since that launch, Marriott has seen “outstanding” bookings and loyalty point redemptions, Capuano said in the release.

The agreement with MGM Resorts International contributed to Marriott’s addition of 46,000 net rooms during the first quarter, bringing its global system total to more than 1.6 million rooms in nearly 8,900 properties, per the release.

Looking ahead, Marriott said it expects year-over-year worldwide RevPAR growth of 4% to 5% in the second quarter and 3% to 5% for full year 2024, according to the release.

“We are raising our full-year 2024 earnings and capital returns guidance on the back of the strength of our diverse global portfolio, the continued resilient and steady demand for travel, our strong international performance and our continued rooms growth,” Capuano said during the call.