Pictured: Arne Sorenson

Marriott started reaping the benefits of last year’s takeover of Starwood Hotels in the first quarter of 2017.

Net income rose by 67% to $365 million for the first three months of the year over the same period in 2016.

Adjusted earnings [EBITDA] grew by 64% to $750 million year-on-year.

Revenue per available room increased by 3.1% in the quarter and the company also saw gains due to improved productivity and food and beverage margins.

President and chief executive, Arne Sorenson, said: “We were pleased by our performance in the quarter across the board. Revpar exceeded our expectations in North America and Europe due to stronger group attendance and higher-rated business transient demand.

“Demand in Greater China and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region was also better than expected.”

He added: “We continue to make great progress on integrating the Starwood and Marriott lodging businesses, gaining efficiencies at both the corporate and property levels.

“Our global sales organisation, which maintains relationships with our largest customers, is now fully integrated.”

Marriott sold the Westin Maui in Hawaii for $317 million subject to a long-term management agreement, “furthering our goal of recycling owned real estate capital,” said Sorenson.

“We expect the proceeds of the sale, together with strong cash from operations and our modest capital needs, will allow us to return more than $2 billion of cash to our shareholders in 2017.

“To date in 2017, we have already returned more than $1 billion in dividends and share repurchases.”