Marriott's U.S. hotels hit rough patch in Q1

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Marriott International reported relatively modest North American revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of 0.8% in the first quarter, with performance negatively impacted by a confluence of events.

RevPAR would have grown an additional 0.7% if it weren't for the partial federal government shutdown in January, tough comparisons to hurricane recovery in Florida and Houston, and a lingering impact from the fourth-quarter labor strike in Hawaii, said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson during the company's Q1 earnings call Friday.

Additionally, North American RevPAR was weighed down in part by a weak performance from limited-service hotels, for which RevPAR declined 0.3%. Marriott's limited-service brands include Courtyard, Residence Inn and Fairfield.

Sorenson attributed the company's challenges in the limited-service space to "geographic distribution and partly age of product, maybe for Courtyard," but added that he didn't predict any "dramatic difference in performance between the segments as the year goes on."

North American occupancy fell, dropping 0.8 percentage points for the quarter, while average daily rate was up 2%.

Despite the sluggishness, Sorenson remained fairly optimistic about the remainder of the year, highlighting that group bookings for April in particular were strong.

"While March was a disappointing month in many respects, it is not a harbinger of a predictably different environment than one that we've been going through the last few quarters," he said. "Thematically, today, I think we'd say it's steady as she goes for the next few quarters."

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