UPDATE 1-Marriott profit doubles as leisure travel boosts demand

(Adds details about quarter)

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Marriott International Inc said on Wednesday its quarterly profit more than doubled as occupancy rates across its hotels improved with vaccinations encouraging more people to resume leisure travel after nearly two years.

Hotel operators are bracing for a surge in demand as countries including Australia, Thailand and the United States have either eased or plan to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors.

Travel website Kayak said last month that searches related to international travel to the U.S. spiked after the White House’s announcement on the lifting of pandemic-led travel curbs.

“Globally, leisure travel generally remained very strong throughout the quarter, while the Delta variant had the most impact on business transient demand,” Marriott Chief Executive Officer Anthony Capuano said.

Marriott, which owns brands such as the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, said occupancy in its key U.S. & Canada and Greater China markets stood at 63.5% and 52.7%, respectively, in the third quarter, compared to 37% and 61.4% last year.

Excluding items, Marriott earned 99 cents per share, while revenue rose 75% to $3.95 billion.

The company’s net income rose to $220 million, or 67 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $100 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Ashwini Raj; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shailesh Kuber)

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