President and Chief Executive Officer at Marriott International
Thanks, Jackie, and good morning, everyone. 2022 was a very strong year for Marriott. After achieving global RevPAR recovery in June, we finished the year on a real high note, with RevPAR versus 2019, up 7% in December and up 5% in the fourth quarter. Each quarter saw sequential improvement in global occupancy and ADR compared to 2019. We ended the year with fourth quarter occupancy down just 5 percentage points and ADR up 13%. With Asia Pacific, excluding China, or APAC surpassing pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter, all regions, except Greater China, have now more than fully recovered. It is abundantly clear that people love to travel. Globally, leisure demand has remained robust. In the fourth quarter, leisure transient room nights increased 7% versus 2019. And we continued driving leisure ADR, which rose 22%. Our group business experienced the most meaningful improvement in 2022. In the U.S. and Canada, fourth quarter group revenues increased 10% above the same quarter in 2019. Group revenue for 2023 is already pacing up 20% year-over-year, with room night and rate gains each quarter. Given strong lead generation and increased rate quotes, especially for in-the-year/for-the-year bookings, we expect group revenues this year to strengthen further.
In 2022, around half of group room nights were booked in the year compared to just one-third in 2019. U.S. and Canada business transient demand remained steady from the third to the fourth quarter at around 90% recovery. For 2023, we are pleased to have negotiated special corporate rate growth in the high single-digits after holding these rates steady the last two years. Our day-of-the-week trends in the U.S. and Canada continue to point to the blending of business and leisure trips. In the fourth quarter, midweek occupancy was still down mid-single-digit percentage points versus 2019, while occupancy on shoulder and weekend nights was down the low single-digits. Additionally, the average length of a business transient trip in the U.S. has risen by more than 20% versus 2019. Rising cross-border travel also helped spur overall demand growth during the quarter, though we believe there is still further upside in 2023, especially now that China's borders have reopened. Guests traveling outside their home country accounted for 16% of transient room nights globally in the 2022 fourth quarter, 1 percentage point higher than the prior quarter, yet still 3 percentage points lower than 2019. With more than 177 million members, our powerful Marriott Bonvoy program has also been a key driver of demand for our hotels and other lodging offerings and for adjacent products like our Bonvoy co-branded credit cards. Our growing portfolio of credit cards, now in nine countries following our November card launch in Saudi Arabia, had record global card member acquisitions and card spend last year. Product innovation and engagement with our members remain key focus areas, especially through investments in our Marriott Bonvoy app and other digital products. We have made great gains in contributions from our digital platforms, which are highly profitable channels for our owners and anticipate many additional enhancements over the next couple of years. In 2022, our mobile app users were up 32% year-over-year, digital room nights rose 27%, and digital revenues climbed 41%.
The financing environment for new projects and hotel sales remains challenging, especially here in the U.S. given higher interest rates and uncertainties surrounding a potential economic downturn. However, other industry headwinds like supply chain disruptions, construction costs and availability of labor have improved. Given strong local operating trends, overall developer sentiment improved in 2022, and we had another year of strong signing activity. Our global development team signed franchise and management agreements for nearly 108,000 rooms last year. In addition, upon the anticipated closing of the transaction, the City Express portfolio should add around 17,000 rooms in the moderately priced mid-scale space. We are excited about the opportunity to expand in this segment in the Caribbean and Latin America or CALA region as well as in other locations around the world. We also recently announced Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, a new one- to three-bedroom serviced apartment brand that we plan to launch in the upper-upscale and luxury segments. We have already received a great deal of initial interests from owners and developers.
Momentum in conversions continues, including in multi-property opportunities, thanks to the breadth of our roster of conversion-friendly [Phonetic] brands across the chain scales. The meaningful top and bottom line benefits associated with being part of our portfolio make these brands very attractive to owners. Conversions represented nearly 20% of room signings and 27% of room additions in 2022. We added a total of 394 properties last year, representing more than 65,000 rooms and grew our industry leading system 4.4% on a gross basis or 3.1% net year-over-year. Excluding the impact from our exit of Russia, our net rooms growth was 3.6%.
For 2023, we are forecasting gross rooms growth of around 5.5%, including around 1 percentage point from the anticipated addition of the City Express rooms to our franchise system. Assuming deletions of 1% to 1.5%, net rooms could grow 4% to 4.5%.
I'd like to pivot now and share a few highlights of our recent ESG efforts. ESG is an integral part of our company's culture and strategy, and our company is dedicated to making a positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business. In June, we committed $50 million to support historically underrepresented groups in the journey to hotel ownership through our new program here in North America called Marriott's Bridging The Gap. This program should help us reach our goal of having at least 3,000 diverse and women-owned hotels in our system by 2025. In December, we announced that over 1 million Marriott associates have taken our human trafficking training, which we have also donated to the wider hospitality industries.
In terms of workforce diversity and inclusion, our aim is to achieve global gender parity in the Company's leadership by 2023 and have people of color hold 25% of U.S. executive positions by 2025. We also continue our work to set science-based emissions reduction targets, with more details expected to come later this year. I am proud of these accomplishments and all that we have achieved in 2022. As we look ahead to full year 2023, there is meaningful uncertainty about global economic growth. Lodging is a cyclical business and it's not immune to downturns in the macroeconomic environment. To date, however, we have not seen signs of demand softening. Certainly, trends could change relatively quickly given our average transient booking window is around three weeks. About a month and a half into 2023, booking demand and pricing remains strong. As Leeny will discuss in her remarks, we are optimistic that global RevPAR will grow year-over-year even if the global economy softens in the back half of this year.
Before I turn the call over to Leeny, I'd like to thank our associates around the world for their hard work and commitment in navigating the last few challenging years and in helping the Company achieve these record financial results. I also want to make a couple of statements regarding two of my senior team members. I am sure you saw the news in December that Stephanie Linnartz has been appointed Under Armour's new President and CEO, a role that she will assume at the end of this month. Also, after a 35-year career with Marriott that has spanned the globe, Craig Smith, our Group President, International, has informed me of his decision to retire from the Company later this month. Craig has developed and mentored hundreds of hotel general managers and above property leaders around the world and has helped us meaningfully accelerate the growth of our international business. I want to thank both Stephanie and Craig for their decades of dedication and countless contributions to Marriott. While I will personally miss these two excellent senior executives, I am proud that we have such an incredibly deep management bench. I look forward to sharing more details about new leadership appointments soon.
Now, let me turn the call over to Leeny. Leeny?