InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) rebounded with a first-half profit, it has said, citing a rise in summer hotel bookings and noting some recovery in business travel.
It recorded an operating profit of $138 million versus a loss of $233 million a year earlier but held off on paying an interim dividend to cut costs.
Delta Variant Causing Uncertainty
Vaccinations and easing travel curbs have helped the hospitality industry, but the highly-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is causing uncertainty as COVID-19 cases rise again and the pace of inoculation is uneven globally.
Recovery Most Advanced In Greater China And United States
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The recovery has been most advanced in greater China and leisure bookings continue to be strong in the United States, its biggest market, London-listed IHG said.
Things Have "Gotten Tougher" In Some Markets
However, things have "gotten tougher" in markets such as Australia and Japan, IHG finance chief Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said on a media call, adding that recent domestic travel restrictions in China will have a short-term impact on IHG.
The company, which also owns the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Regent brands and has approximately 6,000 hotels in more than 100 countries, said that overall occupancy rates are improving.
Approximately half of its hotels recorded revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key performance indicator, above pre-pandemic levels in July, it said. In the reported period, RevPAR grew 20% compared to last year.
IHG CEO Statement
"Essential business travel was a key element of our resilience throughout the pandemic, and we are now seeing more group activity and corporate bookings start to come back," IHG CEO Keith Barr said in a statement.
Most Challenging Years In Its History
The company had called 2020 the most challenging year in its 200-year history.
Planning To Launch New Hotel Brand
It said that it is planning to launch a new brand of hotels in the coming weeks to strengthen its position in the luxury market.