Holiday Inn Owner To Return Over $1bn To Shareholders This Year

By Reuters
Holiday Inn Owner To Return Over $1bn To Shareholders This Year

Holiday Inn owner IHG posted slightly better-than-expected annual room revenue on Tuesday and said it expected to return more than $1 billion (€924 million) to shareholders in 2024 as the hotel chain operator enjoyed strong travel demand.

Chief executive Elie Maalouf also laid out his strategy, saying the company is targeting high single-digit growth in fee revenue by increasing revenue per room and the number of hotels annually on average over the medium to long term.

Brand Portfolio

"The travel industry has attractive, long-term drivers of demand, and the strength of our brand portfolio and enterprise platform will continue to boost our RevPAR and system size growth," said Maalouf, who took over the top job last July after leading the group's largest region, the Americas, for about nine years.

Hotel chain owners, including IHG have benefited from a tourism boom over the past year and as travel demand is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, other players such as European airlines are entering 2024 with strong outlooks despite economic uncertainties.

TUI, Europe's largest travel operator, reported a stronger-than-expected first quarter earlier this month.


Slower Growth

But players in the United States, such as hotel operators Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International and online travel agency Expedia expect demand to grow more slowly this year.

Finance chief Michael Glover told journalists on Tuesday that IHG was growing in its key markets, the United States and China, and also in other regions including the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan.

IHG is also looking to build the scale of its luxury and lifestyle properties, but not at the expense of its mid-scale business, Glover said.

Global Revenue

IHG reported global revenue per available room, a key performance indicator for the hotel industry, of 16.1% year-on-year, compared with analysts average expectation of 15.7%.

The owner of the Crowne Plaza, Regent and Hualuxe hotel chains launched a new $800 million (€740 million) share buyback programme.


'Strong Business Model'

"Overall, this is a solid set of results showing the strong business model and the midterm guidance reiterates that," Bernstein analyst Richard Clarke wrote in a note.

"Only concern is the under performance of lower chain scales particularly in the Americas," Clarke added.