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Marriott International, one of the largest chains in the world, said it expected 2009 to be "unusually challenging."In its report on the third quarter, the hotel group said it was assuming that RevPAR (revenue per available room) would be flat outside of North America. In North America, it expected it "at best" to drop by 3%.The group also warned that projects in the pipeline could be hit by the economic slowdown.The company said it had 130,000 new rooms in the pipeline but added: "Given the deteriorating financial markets, the company, owners or franchisees may decide to delay or cancel some of the projects included in the pipeline."Such decisions may lead to write-offs of amounts invested, which cannot be estimated at this time and, therefore, are not included in the fourth quarter 2008 guidance."In its outlook for the fourth quarter of 2008, Marriott said that given the "soft economic climate in North America and weakening markets outside North America" it expected RevPAR to drop by 1%-3% outside North America and by 3%-5% in North America.The company reported for the third quarter that revenues were up 1% to $3bn (£1.7bn), compared with the same period in 2007 while net income fell to $94m (£53m) compared to $122m (£68.9) in the same period last year.J.W. Marriott, chairman and ceo of Marriott, said: We're confident that as the economy strengthens, we'll be well positioned to achieve solid earnings growth."Visit www.marriott.co.uk.