Choice Hotels CEO: Despite Election Doomsday, American Consumer Is Confident

Fresh off a better than expected second quarter, Choice Hotels CEO Stephen Joyce says his hotels are continuing to take market share from the competition.
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Considering a steep slowdown in GDP in the U.S. and headline-grabbing terrorism incidents in Europe during the second quarter, investors have be pretty darn pleased by the quarter from Choice Hotels International (CHH) - Get Report . The operator of brands such as Cambria and EconoLodge saw second quarter earnings, adjusted for one-time items, rise a solid 15 percent from the prior year to $0.71 a share. Just three months earlier, Choice guided to $0.66 a share. Wall Street expected $0.67 a share. RevPar -- a key industry metric that measures revenue per available room and is used gauge a hotel's health -- rose 4.3 percent year-over-year, above guidance for a three to four percent increase. Average daily rates were up in all of Choice's brands except for Mainstay. Occupancy levels rose 80 basis points from a year ago. 'We are having a big summer, our folks are traveling,' Choice Hotels President and CEO Stephen Joyce told TheStreet in an interview when asked about the demand for lodging right now amid mixed economic conditions globally. He added, 'We are actually taking market share away from the competition, so I think we are doing some things that the customer is noticing -- our numbers are off the charts.' While Choice delivered the goods during the quarter, one its rivals did the complete opposite and in the process, raised concerns on the lodging sector's outlook for the rest of 2016 and into 2017. Host Hotels (HST) - Get Report , known for primarily for its Hyatt brand, experienced an increase in cancellations mostly from business customers during the quarter. Corporate demand proved 'soft', according to the company. Demand in the New York City market was weak, said Host, due to the strength of the U.S. dollar impacting foreign tourist flows to the city. Softness in the business customer class mostly was tied to the financial and consulting segments, said the company, as businesses are being 'thoughtful on the level of expenses.' Host's President and CEO Ed Walter specifically called out weak corporate profits as especially unnerving. If there was any savings grace from Host's latest commentary was that spending on amenities inside of its hotels was solid and the company hasn't seen many, if at all, cancellations for 2017. Fortunately for Choice, it's more focused on the leisure traveler. 'We aren't seeing business [customer] cancellations -- the group business segment is soft today, but we focus on small groups.' TheStreet's Brian Sozzi reports from New York.