Marriott says beach, ski resort locations fuel US pandemic rebound but still posts loss

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Despite reporting a multimillion-dollar loss in the first quarter, Marriott International, Inc. pointed to signs that travel demand is rebounding in its largest region.

The hotel chain – which has more than 7,600 properties worldwide – saw an uptick in leisure travel across North America, particularly at the company's ski and beach resorts, CEO Tony Capuano said. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MARMARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC.142.05-4.64-3.16%

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"Occupancy started the year at 33 percent in January and reached 49 percent by March," Capuano said. "Leisure demand gained momentum, particularly in ski and beach resort destinations."   

However, Capuano added that the hotel chain is also seeing an increase in special corporate and group bookings now that companies are starting to return to the office more than a year after the start of the pandemic. 

Travelers walk through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Marriott on Monday posted a net loss of $11 million, or 3 cents a share, in the first quarter. Comparatively, the company reported a profit of $31 million, or 9 cents a share, during the same period a year ago. 

The hotel chain's revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key performance metric, declined 46.3% in the vital U.S.-Canada region and fell 80% in Europe.

In China, however, RevPAR jumped 77%.

"The resiliency of demand has been most keenly demonstrated in mainland China," Marriott said, where occupancy in its hotels is near pre-pandemic levels. The company is optimistic about its recovery in other regions worldwide as restrictions continue to ease. 

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"As vaccines roll out around the world and government restrictions ease, I am optimistic that demand will continue to strengthen," Capuano said. "We have seen signs that there is a significant amount of pent-up demand, regardless of trip purpose." 

Marriott shares are up 11% year to date compared to the S&P 500's 13% gain.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Monday that more than 1.7 million passengers were screened at airport security checkpoints nationwide on Sunday, the most since the start of the pandemic.

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