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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | November 17, 2010

In the last several weeks, most of the major hotel companies have delivered their third-quarter 2010 earnings reports, and the results are unanimous: The first nine months of 2010 were good to hoteliers. Total revenues are up, the fragile room-rate recovery continues and occupancy continues to climb. What's more, they fully expect this slow but steady recovery to carry over into 2011 and continue to gain momentum.

According to my sources at Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp., the average daily rate at the chain's full-service North American hotels increased by 2.3 percent, while the company's international counterparts enjoyed a robust increase of 17.3 percent over the same period last year.

During its earnings conference call, Marriott International reported its revenues were up by 7.2 percent, driven primarily by rising room rates across all of its brands. And while group room rates for the quarter were actually down by 2 percent, the amount of group business booked was up. "Group room nights at the Marriott brand in North America rose 6 percent in the quarter due to strong, short-term demand," said Arne Sorenson, president and chief operating officer, who noted that approximately 20 percent of the group nights booked in the third quarter were for within a three-month arrival window. However, for group business booked in the third quarter with a 2011 arrival date, room rates were up 5 percent. Marriott's greatest gains in average daily rate were in Asia Pacific, which saw a 4.9 percent gain compared to the same period in 2009.

I was curious to know how the third quarter went for U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group, which is wrapping up a three-year, $1 billion global investment in its Holiday Inn brand as it pushes a more contemporary image, improved quality and brand consistency. According to Richard Solomons, chief financial officer and head of commercial development for IHG,  revenue was up 5 percent, and all of its markets were showing gains in rate. "The recovery that started in Asia Pacific is now well-established globally," he noted.

For White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, revenue per available room rose 10 percent companywide for hotels opened at least one year, and occupancy at the chain's North American properties increased to 71.9 percent, up from 67.6 percent over the same period last year.