Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the owner of the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, said that despite a summer boost from domestic breaks, it faced an uneven recovery as coronavirus infections start to spread again.

Europe showed the worst performance of all the hotel company’s markets as revenue per available room (Revpar) – the favoured industry metric – fell 72 per cent in the three months to the end of September compared with the same period last year.

China showed a much stronger recovery with Revpar down 23 per cent in the quarter, thanks to the country’s relative control of the disease.

Keith Barr, the hotel group’s chief executive, said inexpensive domestic leisure travel had been most “resilient” and the Holiday Inn brand “positions us well to meet that demand as it slowly returns”.

Overall, the group reported that Revpar was down 53 per cent, a less precipitous drop than at its rival Accor, which reported figures for the third quarter on Thursday, thanks to IHG’s greater share of hotels in America and China, where travel had a more steady return.

Accor said Revpar across its roughly 5,000 hotels, about half of which are in Europe, was 63 per cent below last year’s levels.

On a call with analysts, Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, IHG’s chief financial officer, said he could not give guidance for the next three months or next year. “It’ll depend on therapeutics, it’ll depend on the availability of a vaccine and it’ll depend on when people decide to start travelling,” he said.

But there was an indication of a longer-term slowdown as IHG reported that the number of new hotel contracts it had signed between July and September accounted for 14,000 rooms, just over half of the number it signed in the same period in 2019.

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Alex Brignall, an analyst at the broker Redburn, said that data from the hotel industry analytics firm STR showing a rise in the number of new hotels being deferred or cancelled revealed “the first major signs of cracks in the investment case”. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020



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