Hilton sees a rosy year ahead as earnings surge

May 9, 2014, 3:22 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) said Friday its first-quarter profit more than tripled, surpassing analysts’ expectations, and leading the company to raise its outlook for the year.

The higher than expected earnings can be attributed to increased room rates. Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, a standard industry metric, increased 6.6% in the first quarter from a year prior.

The hotel operator’s adjusted earnings per share were 13 cents, up from 3 cents in the year earlier quarter and above analysts’ estimates of 8.6 cents per share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose more than 4% to $2.36 billion.

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“We had a strong first quarter that significantly exceeded our expectations,” Christopher Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, said in a release. “We are very optimistic about the remainder of 2014.”

The company, which went public in December, increased annual earnings estimates to $2,415 million to $2,465 million, above the top end of its previous estimates. It expects full-year adjusted EPS to be between 64 cents and 67 cents a share due to strong global RevPAR growth expectations.

Hilton plans to continue to increase its global presence, said Nassetta. Over 9,000 new rooms opened during the previous quarter and the hotel operator has another 101,000 rooms under construction. Hilton remains number one in rooms under construction with an 18% global share of rooms currently being built.

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