InterContinental Hotels Group PLC said bookings continued to climb back towards pre-pandemic levels, driven by domestic holiday demand in several markets.
The Crown Plaza and Holiday Inns owner reported a 66% increase in third quarter revenue per available room (revPAR) compared to 2020, which still remains 21% behind 2019 levels.
This has been helped by a review of 200 underperforming Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels, with 90 so far ‘exited’ and with improvements planned for another 40.
Occupancy is still only at 60%, with sub-50% in the EMEAA (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia) and Greater China, and at 66% in the Americas.
In the US, net growth was flat, with RevPAR down 7% versus 2019.
Chief executive Keith Barr announced additional temporary cost savings of US$25mln for the full year and said the pace of returning demand is “very encouraging”.
“Domestic leisure demand was particularly strong in a number of markets over the summer, where occupancy and rate climbed back to 2019 levels.”
He said discretionary business travel, group bookings and international trips have “shown increasingly encouraging signs”.
The shares were down over 2% to 4,883p after just over an hour of trading on Friday.
Analysts at broker Peel Hunt said: “Overall, we believe that this is the kind of recovery that has been anticipated in the share price”.
Those at Hargreaves Lansdown said, there remains “some way to go before the group reaches the heights it achieved in 2019, but given the travel restrictions that continue to affect many markets this is a pretty good start.
“The group is notable for having stayed profitable throughout the pandemic, no mean feat in the travel industry. However, it is still taking the opportunity to rebalance its estate, exiting poorer performing hotels. That means the group has actually stood still on room numbers over the last 12 months – which is something of a rarity in a company which believes there is considerably more opportunity for consolidation in its core US and Chinese markets.”