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Holiday Inn owner enjoys boost from US spring break but struggles in China

·2-min read
InterContinental Hotels said revenues remain below pre-pandemic levels. (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
InterContinental Hotels said revenues remain below pre-pandemic levels. (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

The owner of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel groups said it continued to recover ground lost during the pandemic as households enjoyed stays during the US spring break holiday.

However, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) said it struggled in March in China as lockdown restrictions returned to the country.

Group revenues per available room (RevPAR) – a key measurement for hotels – was up 61% in the first three months of the year compared with the same period a year ago during the height of global lockdowns.

However, the measure was still down on pre-pandemic times, hitting 82% of levels in 2019.

Trading in Greater China continues to be impacted by restrictions put in place to control rising Covid cases

Keith Barr, IHG

Bosses said America and Europe enjoyed the best improvements, particularly in February and March, although there was a challenging January as the Omicron variant raged through continents.

IHG chief executive Keith Barr said: “We’ve seen very positive trading conditions in the first quarter with travel demand continuing to increase in almost all of our key markets around the world.

“The high level of demand we have seen for leisure travel continues to drive increased rates and occupancy.

“Trading in Greater China continues to be impacted by restrictions put in place to control rising Covid cases.”

He said the group would continue expansion and has signed 17,000 rooms into the company’s development pipeline, up 15% on 2019.

In the Americas region a strong spring break period in March saw IHG revenues beat pre-pandemic levels at its Holiday Inn Express and Extended Stay brands.

Overall RevPAR in the region was down 8% compared with pre-Covid levels.

Europe struggled more with the Omicron variant having an impact, with RevPAR down 33% on pre-pandemic levels.

Continental Europe RevPAR fell by 45%, although the UK – which had fewer restrictions during Omicron – was down just 15%.

The Middle East was down 7%, Australia 38%, South East Asia and Korea 58% and Japan 64%.

In Greater China there was a slight boost from visitors to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but new lockdown restrictions means RevPAR was 42% down on 2019 levels and also fell compared with 2021 levels by 7%.

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