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Hotel giant IHG reports signs of recovery

Holiday Inn parent InterContinental Hotels Group saw a pick-up in demand in the first three months of the year.

Group revenue per available room was down 50.6% against the same period in 2019, reflecting a 23% reduction in capacity.

The company reported a 40% occupancy level in the quarter with 223 hotels closed at March  31 – 4% of the total.

A total of 56 new properties were opened representing 7,300 rooms, while 9,500 rooms were removed, representing 61 hotels.

IHG repaid £600 million in government Covid Corporate Financing Facility leaving $2.1 billion in liquidity at March 31.

Chief executive Keith Barr said: “Trading continued to improve during the first quarter of 2021, with IHG maintaining its outperformance of the industry in key markets and seeing strong performance in openings and signings as we expand our brands around the world.

“There was a notable pick-up in demand in March, particularly in the US and China, which continued into April.

“While the risk of volatility remains for the balance of the year, there is clear evidence from forward bookings data of further improvement as we look to the months ahead.”

He added: “We opened a further 56 hotels during the quarter, and these new openings broadly offset hotels removed as part of our continued focus on maintaining the highest quality estate for our guests.

“Linked to this, we are making good progress on our review of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza estates.

“Our pipeline grew with 92 signings in the quarter, driven by our industry-leading midscale brands and continued strong owner appetite for conversion opportunities, particularly in our premium and luxury and lifestyle categories.

“This includes conversions to our voco brand, which has achieved over 50 signings in more than 20 countries in fewer than three years since launch.

“As the rollout of vaccines becomes more established, travel restrictions lift, and economic activity rebuilds, traveller demand will continue to grow and generate further momentum in an industry recovery over the course of the year.

“Coupled with our resilience as a business and the important work we’re doing to support our owners, develop our brands and expand our pipeline, we’re confident that IHG is well positioned for sustained growth.”

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