InterContinental, which owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, said operating profit rose to $153m (£95m) in the quarter to end September, from $115m the year before.
Market expectations had ranged between $138m and $153m, according to a company-supplied poll of nine analysts.
“The economic environment continues to be uncertain, but we remain confident in our future due to our resilient business model, robust balance sheet and powerful brand portfolio,” chief executive Richard Solomons said.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry measure, rose by 6.4 per cent, including a 2.8 per cent rise in room rates, boosted by 10.8 per cent growth in China and 8 per cent in the US, where the company said it benefited from the relaunch of its Holiday Inn brand. Total revenue rose by 11 per cent to $467m.
Rival Accor said in October it had yet to see signs of an economic slowdown and expected steady growth to continue in the fourth quarter.