Marriott prized Docklands location
Marriott International has 10 hotels still to come in Melbourne in coming years.

Marriott International is making major leaps toward recovery, reporting impressive result in the final quarter of 2021 despite the disruption caused by new COVID-19 variants, and the company is hopeful that it will be able to return cash to shareholders later this year.

At its Q4 results announcement on Tuesday, Marriott said global RevPAR in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 19% below 2019 levels — up 40ppts on the decline in the first quarter of the year.

Global average daily rate (ADR) at Marriott nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the quarter, while occupancy came in at 58%, down 12ppts compared to 2019.

“The 2021 fourth quarter capped off a year that showed the incredible resilience of people’s desire to travel and the appeal of our broad portfolio of 30 global brands,” said Marriott International Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Capuano.

“Each of our regions saw meaningful continued RevPAR recovery in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter, with the exception of Greater China, where recovery stalled due to their zero COVID policy. In the US and Canada, RevPAR declined 15% compared to fourth quarter 2019 levels versus a 20% decline in the third quarter compared to 2019.”

Compared to 2019 levels, Marriott’s international hotels posted a 28% RevPAR decline in the fourth quarter, a 12ppts improvement from the third quarter.

Leisure continued to be the standout performer in the fourth quarter, with slower but continued improvement in demand for business travel.  

“While Omicron caused a temporary setback in global demand recovery in January, especially for business transient and group travel, new bookings across customer segments have rebounded to pre-Omicron levels,” Capuano said.

“We are optimistic that the global recovery will progress meaningfully throughout 2022.”

In development, Marriott signed approximately 92,000 rooms, with more than 50,000 of these in international markets and more than 40% in the upper upscale and luxury tiers.

Capuano said the business looks forward to the day when the impact of COVID-19 on travel has “essentially disappeared”.

“In the meantime, we continue to focus on driving revenues, controlling costs, maximizing cash flow, and improving our credit metrics. Assuming no meaningful setback in the global recovery, we could begin returning cash to shareholders later in 2022,” he said.