Q4 check-in: Starwood, Marriott and Hyatt


Three global hotel brands released their fourth quarter and full-year financial results for 2015, with mixed results for Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt.

Understandably, the quarter was a game-changer for both Marriott and Starwood, which announced in mid-November that they would be merging, with the former company acquiring the latter. (The heads of both brands will meet on March 28 to finalize the terms of the deal.) Some results for the quarter, therefore, could be seen as a reaction to the purchase: For Marriott's fourth quarter, the company reported earnings of $202 million, up from net profits of $197 million over the same quarter a year earlier. Marriott exceeded analysts' forecasts for per share earnings of 0.76 on the period, but only narrowly. The company's revenues, meanwhile, rose to $3.7 billion for the quarter, up 3.3 percent on an annual basis. While the numbers were good, analysts had expected the company to finish with revenues of $3.72 billion for the period. 

Starwood, meanwhile, saw net income of $166 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to $234 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. 

In the positive column, Starwood signed 79 hotel management and franchise contracts—representing approximately 16,800 rooms—and opened 37 hotels and resorts with approximately 9,600 rooms during the quarter. 

Hyatt, meanwhile, saw net income drop to $30 million during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared $47 million during the fourth quarter of 2014. Adjusted EBITDA grew 20.5 percent over the quarter to $176 million compared to $146 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. Still, these numbers were "negatively impacted" by $6 million, the company said, due to net dispositions and $7 million due to net unfavorable currency impacts, compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. Twelve hotels opened during the quarter.

“We had good momentum in our business through the year, with RevPAR index gains in each of our six global regions and a record-breaking year of growth where we signed more new deals and opened more hotels than in any single year in Starwood’s entire history, increasing our net rooms growth to 4.4 percent," Starwood CEO Thomas Mangas said. Over the course of 2015, Starwood signed 220 hotel management and franchise contracts for approximately 45,800 rooms, and opened 105 hotels and resorts with approximately 21,500 rooms. As the company prepares for its Marriott merger, he continued, it will continue "accelerating" its growth and growing RevPAR.  

Marriott, meanwhile, added nearly 52,000 rooms during 2015, including 7,300 rooms converted from competitor brands and 9,600 rooms associated with its Delta transaction, which was completed in April 2015. By the end of the year, the company’s worldwide development pipeline increased to more than 270,000 rooms, including approximately 27,000 rooms approved, but not yet subject to signed contracts.

Marriott's full-year 2015 adjusted operating income margin grew to 47 percent, compared to 42 percent in 2014, and return on invested capital reached a record 49 percent. Adjusted EBITDA for the year reached $1.718 billion, a 13 percent increase over 2014's adjusted EBITDA.     

Hyatt saw a drop in adjusted EBITDA to $727 million last year, compared to $728 million in 2014. Ultimately, however, adjusted EBITDA actually increased 12.5 percent compared to 2014's numbers when one excludes $66 million in net dispositions and $26 million of net unfavorable currency impacts. In further good news, comparable owned and leased hotels RevPAR increased 2.4 percent (5.4 percent excluding the effect of currency) in 2015 compared to 2014. As of December 31, the company's executed contract base included approximately 260 hotels or approximately 56,000 rooms. This compared to approximately 250 hotels or approximately 55,000 rooms as of December 31, 2014. 

"We finished 2015 with solid fourth quarter results and anticipate another year of growth in 2016 based on expected comparable systemwide RevPAR growth of approximately 3.0 percent to 5.0 percent, excluding the impact of currency," Hyatt Hotels Corporation president and CEO Mark S. Hoplamazian said in a statement.