Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott Check In and Check Out

Hilton Worldwide Holdlings Locations Ahead Of Earnings Figures
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wednesday was a busy day for the country's leading hotel chains. Hilton Worldwide (HLT), Hyatt (H) and Marriott (MAR) all posted quarterly results, giving the market a great snapshot of the lodging industry.

Spoiler alert: Things are looking good.

It's the perfect climate for hoteliers. The economy's improving, and that historically translates into a pickup in both corporate and leisure travel. Chains can naturally take advantage of the uptick in demand to push their night rates higher.

With more folks checking in and hotels armed with the flexibility to charge more, it's the perfect two-ingredient recipe to boost revenue per available room -- or RevPAR -- which serves as the best indicator of industry health. We arrive at RevPAR by multiplying the average nightly rate that a hotel charges by its occupancy percentage level during the period.

Pair Us, Hilton

Hilton's been enjoying its return as a publicly traded company, closing out the holiday quarter in fine fashion. RevPAR rose 6.6 percent for the quarter, climbing 7.1 percent for all of 2014. Healthy occupancy levels and rates should continue. Hilton is targeting RevPAR to move 5 percent to 7 percent higher in 2015.

Hilton has been growing through acquisitions, developing new brands, and converting non-Hilton hotels. Its portfolio today consists of 4,322 owned or franchised hotels and timeshare properties, offering 715,062 rooms in 94 countries and territories. It went public, again, at $20 a share in late 2013.

Hi at Hyatt

Hyatt's comparable systemwide RevPAR rose at a less impressive 3.1 percent clip, but the hotelier points out that it would have been a 5.1 percent boost if it weren't for currency fluctuations. Things were even better for its stateside full-service hotels, which checked in with a 5.8 percent pop in RevPAR.

Chicago-based Hyatt is the smallest of the three chains that reported on Wednesday, but it still covers a lot of territory. Hyatt watches over 578 hotels across 50 different countries. Last week it moved to make Wi-Fi a free standard feature for guests at all of its properties.

Swing High, Sweet Marriott

Hilton and Hyatt reported quarterly results on Wednesday morning, and Marriott followed at the end of the trading day. Its RevPAR performance was in line with Hilton's results earlier in the day. RevPAR rose 6.2 percent for the quarter and 6.6 percent for the entire year. Like Hilton, Marriott is targeting RevPAR growth of 5 to 7 percent in 2015.

Marriott's another global juggernaut, with 4,175 properties and timeshare resorts offering a total of nearly 715,000 rooms. Marriott turned heads earlier several weeks ago when it teamed up with the American Hotel & Lodging Association to lobby for the right to jam personal Wi-Fi hotspots in vulnerable conference room areas. It backed down after it made waves for all the wrong reasons.

Inns Are In

It's a good time to be housing overnight guests professionally. The global economy is showing signs of life, and even the volatility in currencies can be tied to an uptick in foreign travel for those trekking out to countries where they can get more for their money.

Keep an eye on RevPAR. It's the ultimate measuring stick in sizing up a chain's ability to fill its rooms and command compelling rates. With the industry leaders improving and pointing to another upbeat year ahead, it may make sense for travelers to check into these hotels as investments, too.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Hyatt Hotels. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. To read about our favorite high-yielding dividend stocks for any investor, check out our free report.

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