(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Profits at Marriott International were stronger than expected during the fourth-quarter, even as Washington-area business remained fairly flat during the last three months of 2012.

Higher occupancy rates and rising revenue from fees helped push profits at the Bethesda-based hospitality giant to $181 million, or 56 cents a share, up from $141 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier, the company announced Tuesday.

The amount of revenue per available room rose 5.2 percent to $95.95, while the average daily rate for a hotel room climbed 3.3 percent to $139.56 during the fourth quarter.

Even so, the presidential election, a stagnant government per diem and shortened Congressional calendar dampened profits in the Washington metro area, according to Laura Paugh, senior vice president of investor relations for Marriott.

“D.C. was a little bit weak,” Paugh said. “Certainly, 2012 was a tough year. Everybody was out on the road politicking rather than sitting around doing business.”

“Things would be getting better [in the Washington market] if it weren’t for sequestration,” Paugh said, adding that group bookings were up so far this year. “The big question now really is sequestration, and what it’s going to do to demand.”