IHG Says Demand Is Coming Back Strongly
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has said that demand is coming back strongly and has forecast a busy US summer season as travellers take advantage of an easing of coronavirus lockdowns.
COVID-19 vaccinations and the relaxing of restrictions in regions including the US, IHG's biggest market, have offered respite after a painful 2020, as has a trend to holiday closer to home in some of the company's largest locations.
"Clear Evidence" Of Improvement
"There is clear evidence from forward-bookings data of further improvement as we look to the months ahead," IHG CEO Keith Barr said.
IHG, which owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, said that there was a notable pick-up in March, particularly in the US and China, which had carried on into April.
While revenue per available room (RevPAR), which is a key performance indicator, was down by 50.6% in the first quarter, it was up 20.8% in March, with the greater China region seeing a jump of 288.6%.
"In resort locations, all of our hotels are very busy", IHG finance chief Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson told a media call. "People are fed up with being cooped up, people want to travel."
Edgecliffe-Johnson forecast that demand for rooms in some US locations will be greater than the availability this summer.
Risk Of Volatility Remains
IHG, which had called 2020 the most challenging year in its 200 year history, said that the risk of volatility remains.
"The situation in India is a reminder for everybody that the pandemic is not over," Edgecliffe-Johnson said.
Repaid £600m Loan
IHG said that it has repaid £600 million that it had taken under a UK government lending scheme introduced last year to help businesses cope with the pandemic.