Marriott's systemwide revenue per available room rose by a healthy 6.7 percent in the second quarter, the lodging company reported, and average daily rate grew by 4.1 percent. The company opened more than 5,000 rooms in the second quarter, including 1,300 that were converted from competing brands; more than half of the new rooms, 2,700, were in international markets. Group business was especially strong in North America, where group room revenue rose by nearly 8 percent over last year. "With robust group bookings in North America, including Washington, D.C., we expect strong RevPAR and room-rate growth in the second half of the year," CEO Arne Sorenson noted in the earnings report, adding: "In fact, group revenue on the books is up 10 percent for the second half of 2012 and up 8 percent for 2013. We are targeting high single-digit percentage increases in special corporate rates for 2013."