IHG reports better trading, predicts further gains
InterContinental Hotels Group said trading improved in the first quarter and that a pickup in March continued into April, particularly in the US and China.
Revenue per available room (Revpar) was down 50.6% in the three months to the end of March compared with two years ago and 33.7% from a year earlier. Revpar reflects a 23% reduction in occupancy with the rate at about 80% of 2019 levels, the FTSE 100 company said in a trading update.
IHG opened 7,300 rooms, or 56 hotels, in the quarter and removed 9,500 rooms, or 61 hotels, and signed 14,500 rooms, ahead of the figure for a year earlier.
The owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands said booking trends indicated business would improve further as 2021 unfolds.
Keith Barr, IHG's chief executive, 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."
Barr said as vaccines are rolled out, travel restrictions lift and economies revive, demand for travel will grow to support the industry's recovery during 2021.