Business travel recovery boosts top hotel company

Strong China growth and recovery in US pushes up profits at IHG

InterContinental Hotel Group, the biggest hotel company in world, saw its profits for the first quarter of 2011 rise by 35%. China is currently IHG’s strongest market, because that’s where occupancy and room rates have seen the biggest rises. But the United States is also providing stronger bookings and higher rates as US business travellers get back on the road following the recession. Global revenue per available room (RevPAR) grew by 6.9% overall in Q1, with rises of 18.8% in China and 8.4% in the US. Disruptions in some markets in April did make an impact, however, bringing a slowdown in overall growth to 4.9% for that month. Excluding the crisis-hit markets of Bahrain, Egypt and Japan, growth stood at 6.1%.
Business travel is clearly on the resurgence despite the recent crises around the world. IHG is confident that this trend will continue. “Our business remains resilient despite the tragic events in Japan and New Zealand and the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East,” said CFO Richard Solomons, who is taking over as CEO on July 1. “In the last 12 months ending March, global room demand for the industry has exceeded 2008 pre-recession levels.”
[pictured: Crowne Plaza Chongqing Riverside, China; courtesy IHG]