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Hotel brands extend long vacation


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Fortunes are still rising in hospitality, with sustained increases in business and leisure travel fueling a multi-year growth streak that has fattened profits and spawned new flags from many established hoteliers.  

Diving into the numbers, hotel/travel is once again led by giant Marriott Hotels & Resorts that increased its 2015 sales to $10 billion—on 4.2 percent growth—with a 4.3 percent increase in new locations. That brings Marriott to 603 units for its namesake brand and solidifies its spot atop the Hotel/Travel ranking.

Other big-name names did equally well, with Hilton Hotels & Resorts hanging onto its spot as the second largest U.S.-based hotel brand by global sales, which reached $9.3 billion at the end of 2015. That represents a 4.5 percent growth in sales, accompanied by a 2.1 percent jump in new units, for a total of 572—eerily similar and close behind Marriott.

Matt Wehling, senior vice president of development for U.S. and Canada Hilton Worldwide, said the company’s growth rate is still increasing in 2016. “We continue to make tremendous progress,” he said. “We opened 76 hotels with just under 10,600 rooms during the second quarter” of 2015 and year-to-date “we’ve opened over 21,000 gross rooms and approximately 17,000 net rooms, and that brings our size to nearly 780,000 rooms across more than 4,700 properties.”

Wehling added a note of future caution, as capital markets have tightened sooner than usual during this growth spurt, which tends to have an outsized impact on the hotel category.  

Down the list, Hyatt maintains its bronze podium position with $7.5 billion in sales, an 8.7 percent increase over the previous year. On a 7.9 percent increase in new units, Hyatt is now up to 598 units.

Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites rose from the  No. 7 spot on last year’s list up to No. 4 with an 8.3 percent jump in sales to $6.5 billion during 2015, and 5.1 percent growth in its unit count. The mid-price brand is now up to 2,108 units as it continues its expansion across the United States.

Holiday Inn Express is this year’s fifth largest hotel franchise, with an 8.7 percent increase in sales—to $6.25 billion—and a 2.5 percent increase in new units. The brand, part of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, now has a total of 2,425 units, an increase of 60 during the year.

Other standouts include Courtyard by Marriott, which increased sales 11.7 percent and added 49 more units. Of the 15 largest brands, Hilton Garden Inn grew its sales by the highest percentage—12.3 percent—for a year-end total of $3.2 billion.

DoubleTree by Hilton added the most units as a percentage of the largest 15 hotel chains. It added 47 units, which represents an 11.5 percent increase during 2015.

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