IHG waits on vaccines as revenue slashed in half

IHG’s chief executive Keith Barr is hoping the Covid vaccine will restore confidence to travel again.

InterContinental Hotels (IHG) is the latest global hotel chain to reveal the impact the pandemic has had on their bottom line posting a US$280 million loss.

IHG’s revenue per available room plunged 52.5 per cent to US$992 million in the year to the end of December 2020.

China was the strongest performer despite recording RevPar 18.2 per cent below 2019 levels. Europe performed worst of all the group’s regions with RevPar 70 per cent lower year on year in the final three months of 2020.

IHG chief executive Keith Barr said the rollout of vaccines was the key to a faster recovery, with hopes bookings would rise in the second half of the year. But he warned that some hotel owners who are struggling financially “won’t make it”.

Speaking to Reuters, IHG chief financial officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said a recovery with its Holiday Inn Express brand, which business represent about 70 per cent of its rooms in the US, offers hope of a rebound across all its markets.

“People want to travel again,” Edgecliffe-Johnson told Reuters. “It is the thing that people have missed most and so there is enormous pent-up demand to travel. Travel will come back very rapidly.”