Marriott International Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as demand rose for rooms at the company’s North American properties.

Net income climbed to $160 million, or 52 cents a share, from $143 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 14 analysts was 44 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Earnings beat the company’s own forecast of 42 cents to 46 cents as Marriott was helped by demand from business and leisure travelers in the U.S. and parts of Europe, according to Nikhil Bhalla, an analyst at FBR & Co. in Arlington, Virginia. Worldwide occupancy reached almost 75 percent in the third quarter, a six-year high, the company said in today’s statement.

“Europe held up surprisingly well,” Bhalla said before earnings were announced.

Revenue per available room, an industry measure of occupancies and rates, climbed 5.5 percent from a year earlier at company-operated hotels in North America. Worldwide, revpar increased 4.8 percent, according to the statement.

Marriott announced its third-quarter results after the close of regular U.S. trading. Its shares fell 0.9 percent to $44.20 in New York today.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., owner of the luxury St. Regis and W brands, last week said revpar in the third quarter, adjusted for currency fluctuations, rose 4.7 percent worldwide and 5.8 percent in North America. The hotelier’s shares last week rose the most in three months after it reported third-quarter earnings that beat estimates and forecast an increase in revenue growth for 2014.

Editors: Daniel Taub and Christine Maurus.

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Photo Credit: A corporate event at a Marriott Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany. SmartLightLiving / Flickr