(REUTERS) -- Hyatt Hotels Corp. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, citing solid corporate travel.
The company, whose brands include Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Place, saw average daily rates climb in the fourth quarter and said revenue per available room, or revPAR, an important industry metric, rose 6 percent at owned and leased hotels open at least a year.
In North America, revPAR gained 6.5 percent at full-service hotels, and was up 5.5 percent at select-service hotels that offer limited food and drink outlets. Hyatt international revPAR rose 2.9 percent.
Hyatt, which is making significant renovations at several key hotels, noted sustained transient business travel worldwide. Group demand strengthened in the fourth quarter but companies were still cautious, it said.
A business-led recovery has helped to lift occupancy rates and has given the hotel industry pricing power even as U.S. construction has slowed due to financing challenges. Economic troubles in Europe could weigh on international results.
Hyatt's net income was $52 million, or 31 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared with $6 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a $28 million benefit tied to income taxes.
Analysts expected 13 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose about 8 percent to $990 million, compared with $1 billion expected by analysts.
Rival Marriott International, which posted results late Wednesday , said room rates rose in most markets around the world and it enhanced a prior forecast for 2012 revPAR growth.
Marriott spokeswoman Laura Paugh said group business appeared to be stronger for 2012.
When we went into 2011, the booking pace was up about 2 percent, Paugh said. Going into 2012, the booking pace is up 9 percent, so that's a significant improvement.
Hyatt's shares gained 6 cents to $42.90 in early New York Stock Exchange trading, while Marriott slipped 12 cents to $34.61.
(Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)