InterContinental Hotels Group plans to introduce a new all-suites brand this year.

The global hotels giant made the disclosure today while revealing a 26% drop in pre-tax profit last year to $485 million over 2017.

Global revenue per available room increased 2.5% with group revenue up to $4.34 billion from $4.08 billion year-on-year.

China was the star performer with revpar growth of 6.9% against just 1% in the UK and 1.3% in the US.

The unnamed new upper midscale brand would target an $18 billion segment of the industry where strong guest and owner demand has driven a 70% increase in room supply in the last four years.

The plan emerged following IHG launching avid hotels and new upscale brand voco.

The company has also bolstered its presence in the luxury sector with the acquisitions of Regent Hotels & Resorts and Six Senses.

IHG also revealed that web and mobile digital revenue – its lowest cost booking channel – rose by 13% in 2018 to $5.3 billion.

The introduction of  IHG Concerto, including its new Guest Reservation System (GRS), was completed during the year.

“This gives IHG the most sophisticated, cloud-based platform in the industry, and provides a foundation to build out our technology architecture over the coming years,” IHG said.

“Ongoing development of enhanced GRS functionality to give guests the opportunity to customise their stay based on features they find important – made possible by new ways of classifying and selling room inventory.”

CEO Keith Barr said: “The fundamentals of our business remain strong, and while there are macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainties in some markets, we are confident in the year ahead and that our strategy will deliver industry-leading net rooms growth over the medium term.”

He said: “We have made excellent progress in 2018 executing against the strategic initiatives I set out a year ago to accelerate our growth, whilst delivering a strong financial performance.

“The investments we have made have had a significant impact, allowing us to further evolve our established brands, move quickly to strengthen our portfolio both organically and by acquisition, and create real momentum in our business.

“We have made further progress in 2019 with the acquisition of the top-tier luxury brand Six Senses and the planned launch of a new all-suites upper midscale brand.

“The investments we have made have been funded through our group efficiency programme which is on track to deliver $125 million of annual savings by 2020.

“We have successfully implemented a more efficient and agile organisational structure whilst building resources and capabilities focused on the most attractive growth opportunities.

“We also further strengthened our owner proposition and revenue delivery enterprise, with the successful global roll-out of IHG Concerto, featuring our innovative new Guest Reservation System.

“This gives IHG the most sophisticated, cloud-based platform in the industry, with further enhancements set to be deployed in 2019.”