Marriott Preview: Booking a Bigger Profit

BETHESDA, Md. ( TheStreet) -- Marriott International ( MAR) is expected on Wednesday to report a 23.9% jump in quarterly profit, and market-watchers will look to the hotel operator for a sense of the state of the travel industry.

Analysts expect the operator of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance Hotels, among other brands, to have earned $102.8 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $2.81 billion in its fiscal third quarter. That would compare with year-earlier earnings of $83 million, or 23 cents a share, on revenue of $2.65 billion.

Investors will pay close attention to Marriott's outlook for 2012. Since Marriott is the first of the major hoteliers to report quarterly earnings, its results could shed meaningful light on how other sector players such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide ( HOT), Hyatt Hotels ( H) and Wyndham Worldwide ( WYN) have been faring in recent months, and what the industry expects for next year.

Business and leisure travel trends had dropped dramatically in recent years amid economic recession and uncertainty, but revenue, room rates and occupancy figures have been creeping back up, particularly among business travelers.

Marriott shares remain lower by around 38% in 2011. The stock was off by 2.2% at $25.60 in early trading Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's earnings report.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @miriamsmarket.

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