Hilton profit beats on higher room rates

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(Reuters) - Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as healthy travel demand helped it boost room prices.

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The hotel industry in the United States has thrived in the backdrop of a robust economy, allowing corporations to raise their travel budgets which helped hotel occupancy rates hit a record high last year.

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However, top hotel operators, including Hilton and Marriott, have pointed to a deceleration in revenue growth per room in 2019, as global economic activity slows and trade tensions weigh on corporate capital spending plans.

Hilton cut its 2019 RevPAR growth outlook to a range of 1 percent to 3 percent, from an earlier forecast of an increase between 2 percent and 4 percent.

Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key performance metric for the hotel industry, is calculated by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

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On an adjusted basis, the company earned 79 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating analysts' estimates of 69 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue rose to $2.29 billion from $2.07 billion.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)