Marriott International Inc., the No. 1 U.S. hotel chain, reported an unexpected fourth-quarter loss and forecast more weakness for the travel industry in 2009.
The Bethesda, Md., company lost $10 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with net income of $176 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier, Marriott said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected net income of 41 cents a share.
Marriott, which runs more than 3,000 hotels in 67 countries, said it would reduce spending by $400 million and cut costs further "to reflect the realities of the marketplace."
The company, which has the Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard and Residence Inn brands, has instituted a hiring freeze, cut back on employee schedules and shortened restaurant hours at U.S. hotels to counter a drop in reservations.
Revenue fell 7.5% to $3.78 billion, Marriott said.
For the full year, net income fell 52% to $362 million, or 99 cents a share, from $750 million, or $1.89, a year earlier.
The shares rose 58 cents to $15.73.