(Reuters) – Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc said on Tuesday it had resumed returning capital to shareholders earlier than expected, after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit as travel demand rebounded.
The tourism industry has benefited from a surge in U.S. leisure travel which surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels, lifting results of airlines and boosting occupancy rates at hotels.
This demand boost prompted Hilton to resume share repurchases in March and declare a second-quarter cash dividend of 15 cents per share.
Hilton, which own brands including the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, said U.S. occupancy rate rose to 61.8% in the quarter ended March 31, up 14.1 percentage points from a year earlier.
Hilton’s comparable RevPAR, or revenue per available room, rose 80.5% for the quarter as people spent more on travel, dining out at restaurants as well as hotel stays despite rising inflation.
The Virginia-based company reported revenue of $1.72 billion for the first quarter, compared with average analysts’ expectations of $1.73 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 71 cents per share, better than average analysts’ expectations of 65 cents per share.
The company said it expects 2022 adjusted profit per share between $3.77 and $4.02, lower than analysts’ estimate of $4.10 per share.
(Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Rashmi Aich)