Marriott International for the fourth quarter of 2021 reported year-over-year advances in key performance metrics, even narrowing some gaps in Q4 2019 numbers, the company's executives said during a Tuesday earnings call. Most advances, however, were attributed to leisure demand, which continued to outshine corporate volume.
The company said there was slower, yet continued, improvement in business transient and group demand. Special corporate demand in the U.S. and Canada, while still “well below" 2019 levels, continued gradual improvement in the fourth quarter.
Short booking windows from seven to 30 days for groups continued to bedevil hoteliers in the fourth quarter of 2021. "We expect to continue to see improvement because we're seeing more short-term bookings. And that's been the trend over the last number of weeks and months,” Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said. He noted a 25,000-room night Salesforce meeting, held at 11 Marriott properties last week in New York, that was booked just one month out.
Capuano remained optimistic for corporate group business, noting recent improvements. “Cancellations have slowed more recently. New group bookings have also been gaining momentum," he said.
Marriott’s fourth-quarter 2021 average daily rate nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels globally. Occupancy came in at 58 percent, down 12 percentage points versus the fourth quarter of 2019.
Fourth-quarter 2021 comparable systemwide constant dollar revenue per available room increased across the board: 124.5 percent worldwide over the fourth quarter of 2020, including 143.6 percent in the U.S. and Canada and 83.3 percent in international markets.
Compared to fourth quarter 2019, the RevPAR performance gap narrowed. Fourth quarter 2021 comparable systemwide constant dollar RevPAR declined 19.0 percent worldwide when put up against Q4 2019, breaking down to a 15.3 percent decline in the U.S. & Canada, and a 28.2 percent decline in international markets. In Q4 2020, the global decline was 64.1 percent, representing a 64.6 percent decline in U.S. and Canada and a 62.7 percent decline in international markets.
Net rooms grew 3.9 percent as Marriott added more than 86,000 rooms globally during 2021. At year end, Marriott’s worldwide development pipeline totaled 2,831 properties and roughly 485,000 rooms. More than 202,000 rooms in the pipeline were under construction as of the end of 2021. “We are bullish about our ability to increase our footprint over the next several years,” said Capuano. “For 2022, we expect gross rooms growth approaching 5 percent and deletions of 1 to 1.5 percent, resulting in anticipated net rooms growth of 3.5 to 4 percent.”
Marriott reported net income totaling $468 million in the Q4 2021, compared to a net loss of $164 million in the final quarter of 2020.