In an effort to evaluate performance and as a follow up to our YouTube, we compare how the quarter measured up to previous management commentary and guidance.
BETTER: 1Q EPS of $0.30 came in at the high end of guidance ($0.26-0.30). FY 2012 EPS was raised from $1.52-1.64 to $1.58-1.69. 2012 Worldwide REVPAR was increased to 6-8% from 5-7%. 2012 EBITDA guidance was raised by $10-25MM to $1,105-1,160MM.
- GROUP BOOKINGS
From Q4 conf call: “As of year-end 2011, our group revenue pace for 2012 is up 9% and room rates continue to improve. For group revenue booked in 2011 for the following 12 months, room rates are up 3%.”
SAME: 2012 Group room revenue bookings growth increased to 11% from 9%. Only 2% of the increase was due to rate.
- NEGOTIATED CORPORATE RATES
From Q4 conf call: “For the transient business, approximately 80% of our special corporate rates are now negotiated with room rates running up at a mid single-digit pace.”
SAME: Room revenue from negotiated special corporate business rose over 9% in the first quarter. Group room revenue at comparable hotels increased approximately 6%.
From the Q4 conf call: “Our hotels in Japan have seen a remarkable recovery since the March 2011 tsunami. Demand from domestic Japanese travelers has led the recovery, but we expect growing numbers of international guests and easier comparisons in 2012. “
SAME: Japan continues to improve. Occupancy of the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton totaled 71% in 1Q.
From the Q4 conf call: “The economy in Europe is concerning; government related travel has been weak in the UK provinces for some time largely due to government austerity programs…We're sort of assuming that we have modestly positive RevPAR in Europe, plus two points or three points in comparable hotels.”
SAME: Comparable hotel RevPAR increased 3% in the quarter, which is encouraging considering management warned about the softness of the European economy. International gateway markets were stronger than regional markets in Europe with increase in demand coming from the U.S., China and India. In London alone, RevPAR rose 9% in the first fiscal quarter. The company was cautiously optimistic on the balance of the year, but a lot of uncertainty remains.
- MIDDLE EAST
From the Q4 conf call: “While we can't predict future political unrest in the region, impact from the Arab Spring began in February 2011 so most of 2012 should at least benefit from easier comparisons.”
WORSE: RevPAR in the Middle East declined 6% in the quarter, as political unrest and a struggling market in Egypt offset any benefit from higher oil prices. MAR continues to expect easier comps as the year goes on.
- US TRENDS
From the Q4 conf call: "San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago were strong while some markets in the Eastern US lagged a bit. West Coast markets had both a strong transient business and last minute group bookings."
SAME: Continue to see a bit of a shift from the Eastern US strength to Western US. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston are all doing well. Management categorizes the recovery in the US as broad based vs. just impacted gateway cities.
From the Q4 conf call: “At year end, our pipeline increased to over 110,000 rooms worldwide with nearly half of the rooms in international markets. Today, roughly 40% of our worldwide pipeline rooms are under construction and another 10% are pending conversion.”
BETTER: Pipeline of hotels under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development increased to approximately 115,000 rooms (5k higher than previous guidance), including over 51,000 rooms outside North America. However, management did note that openings in 2012 will be negatively impacted by slower construction in Asia and longer conversion lead times.