The improved group RevPAR performance was led by the Americas, which strengthened to -43% versus 2019 levels compared to -50% in Q3 and Q4 2020. In EMEAA, the continuation of lockdowns across much of the region meant RevPAR levels were largely unchanged from the prior two quarters. In Greater China, IHG said that after temporary domestic travel restrictions were lifted, demand recovered quickly in March towards levels seen in the second half of 2020.
In addition, it revealed that occupancy recovered to 40%, improving through the quarter with 223 hotels (4% of its estate) remaining closed as of the 31 March.
Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels and Resorts, said: “Trading continued to improve during the first quarter of 2021, with IHG maintaining its outperformance of the industry in key markets and seeing strong performance in openings and signings as we expand our brands around the world. There was a notable pick-up in demand in March, particularly in the US and China, which continued into April.
“While the risk of volatility remains for the balance of the year, there is clear evidence from forward bookings data of further improvement as we look to the months ahead. The improved Group RevPAR performance was led by the Americas, which strengthened to -43% versus 2019 levels compared to -50% in Q3 and Q4 2020.”
Barr also revealed IHG opened a further 56 hotels during the quarter, which broadly offset hotels removed from its portfolio as part of its continued focus on “maintaining the highest quality estate” for its guests.
He also said IHG is making “good progress” on its review of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza estates. The pipeline grew with 92 signings in the quarter, driven by its midscale brands and continued strong owner appetite for conversion opportunities, particularly in its Premium and Luxury and Lifestyle categories.
He concluded: “This includes conversions to our Voco brand, which has achieved over 50 signings in more than 20 countries in fewer than three years since launch. As the rollout of vaccines becomes more established, travel restrictions lift, and economic activity rebuilds, traveller demand will continue to grow and generate further momentum in an industry recovery over the course of the year.
“Coupled with our resilience as a business and the important work we’re doing to support our owners, develop our brands and expand our pipeline, we’re confident that IHG is well positioned for sustained growth.”