Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Marriott International, Wyndham Worldwide, Choice Hotels International and Hyatt Hotels

Zacks

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 10, 2013 – Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses the U.S. Hotels & Lodging, including Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT), Marriott International Inc. (MAR), Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN), Choice Hotels International (CHH) and Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H).

A synopsis of today’s Industry Outlook is presented below. The full article can be read at  

Link: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/26697/hotels-amp-lodging-stock-outlook-april-2013

The U.S. hotel & lodging industry wrapped up the year 2012 on a positive note, with lodging performance indicators witnessing considerable improvement in most parts of the world. In the fourth quarter, these sector heavyweights surpassed our earnings expectations: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT), Marriott International Inc. (MAR), Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN), Choice Hotels International (CHH) and Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H).

Notwithstanding the common macroeconomic hurdles expected ahead, the lodging sector should continue its recovery this year, underpinned by improving U.S. business as well as strong international travel and tourism volumes. The number of hotels Starwood opened and new deals signed in North America in 2012 were much higher the past couple of years.

Coming to the near-term industry dynamics, hoteliers will likely report significant RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth in the first quarter mainly on improved room rates which will be powered by stronger group business.

Market researcher Price Waterhouse Coopers expects RevPAR growth of 5.9% in 2013, representing the fourth year of lodging recovery. According to the market researcher, hotels across the gamut of price tiers, in particular the higher-priced ones, are expected to drive this recovery and consequent growth in the sector.

OPPORTUNITIES

Improving Trends in North America: Owing to gradual economic recovery, the hotel industry continues to witness an upside. With lower supply in the U.S., RevPAR is improving on strong demand and continued higher pricing. System-wide occupancies in North America appear steady and above the prior peak level in 2006.

On a positive note, Canada also improved sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2012, and hoteliers expect to witness RevPAR growth from their Canadian businesses in 2013. Starwood expects 2013 to be its strongest year since the recession, in terms of hotel openings in North America.

The U.S. government has also implemented a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy, the main objective of which is to attract more than 100 million international visitors by 2021. The government believes that this will provide a significant growth stimulus for the local economy. The strategy, if successful, will reap profits for the U.S. hoteliers.

For 2013, Smith Travel Research predicts occupancy to be virtually flat with a 0.3% increase to 61.4%, ADR to rise 4.6% to $111.01 and RevPAR to grow 4.9% to $68.17.

Demand Exceeds Supply: Room rates are on the rise in an environment marked by higher demand and lower supply. PWC forecasts 0.8% supply growth and around 1.8% demand growth in 2013. This scenario is anticipated to push up occupancy levels. Supply growth is expected to remain low for a few years to come.

According to Marriott, fewer supplies combined with nearly peak occupancy levels will help hoteliers charge higher for rooms in 2013. Smith Travel Research anticipates room rates to reach 2008 levels on a nominal basis, going forward.

Shift Toward Asset-Light Model: Since late 2010, transition to an "asset light" business model has gained prominence in hotels and REIT industries. Asset sales remain a long-term strategy to strengthen financial flexibility, helping companies grow through management and licensing arrangements instead of direct ownership of real estate. A higher concentration of management and franchise fees reduces earnings volatility and provides a more stable growth profile.

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