InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has recorded an annual loss of $153 million, pummelled by repeated COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, but said that a faster recovery in its Holiday Inn Express brand helped it outperform in key markets.
The company, which previously scrapped its final dividend, said that 2020 was the most challenging year in its history as revenue per available room (RevPAR) slumped by 52.5%, with global travel and entertainment spending remaining under pressure.
Pinning its hopes on the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and a wider economic rebound, IHG said that the industry is unlikely to see a recovery until later in the year but hinted that global travel is starting to recover.
"People want to travel again...It is the thing that people have missed most and so there is enormous pent up demand to travel," IHG chief financial officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said, adding that "travel will come back very rapidly."
Shares of the company were up 3.8% at 5,516 pence by 0845 GMT on Tuesday February 23.
Demand remained stronger in IHG's Holiday Inn Express business, which represents approximately 70% of its rooms in the US market and has historically been impacted less and recovered faster than other segments in economic downturns, the company said.
"At The Start Of A Prolonged Period Of Recovery"
"IHG is at the start of a prolonged period of commercial recovery," Peel Hunt analysts said in a note.
Still, IHG reported a group operating loss of $153 million for the year that ended on December 31, compared with a profit of $630 million the previous year.