Holiday inn

Holiday Inn owner IHG boosted by stays as Covid concerns persist

InterContinental Hotels Group, owner of Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, pointed to “encouraging signs” in business travel as it said its revenues had approached pre-pandemic levels driven by stays.

The spread of Covid-19 and the global lockdown that followed sparked the most difficult time in the company’s history, with the emergence of variant strains only worsening the loss of customers even as hotels reopen .

However, sales are gradually improving, with an increase in hotel customers during the summer and an increase in bookings from business customers.

“Trade continued to improve significantly in the third quarter,” said IHG Managing Director Keith Barr. Revenue per available room “has moved closer to pre-pandemic levels as more and more customers have returned to our hotels around the world,” he added.

The industry’s closely watched revenue measure climbed 66% in the three months to September 30 compared to the same period in 2020, IHG said in a statement on Friday, down 21% from the same period in 2020. in the same quarter in 2019.

Room revenues showed improvement in the quarter between six months and June, when they fell 43% from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. It was 20% up from a year ago, thanks to a strong performance in the United States. The company operates more than 6,000 hotels around the world.

“Demand for home entertainment has been particularly strong in a number of markets over the summer, where occupancy and rate have recovered to 2019 levels,” Barr said.

Discretionary business travel, group bookings and international travel have also shown “increasingly encouraging signs, in addition to maintaining good levels of essential business demand,” he added.

Group activity and corporate reservations in the United States are also back, with strong demand from business customers in construction, logistics and technology, the hotel group said.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that “the national holidays, particularly in the United States” had helped IHG “deliver a reasonably healthy set of numbers for the third quarter,” but warned the company had still “a long way to go” before revenues return to pre-pandemic levels.

IHG shares fell 3% in afternoon trading in London, taking their gain for the year so far to 3.4%. This compares to an 18% increase since the start of the year for US rival Marriott, the world’s largest hotel group.

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said concerns about the resurgence of Covid-19 could still persist. She said that despite IHG’s “all the positivity”, “there may be some apprehension that rising Covid rates in some of its markets will lead to further restrictions that could negatively affect performance.”

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