The price of shares in Intercontinental Hotel Group (LON:IHG) climbed by 5% to 4,201p (as of 15:45 BST) despite revenues falling by 45% during the half year ended 30th June. The company booked an operating loss for the period in part due to significant non-cash impairments.
CEO Keith Barr commented: “The impact of Covid-19 on our business has been substantial. Global RevPAR declined by 52% in the first half and was down 75% in the second quarter, when occupancy at comparable hotels fell to 25%. Despite this challenging environment, we delivered an operating profit of $74m. Small but steady improvements in occupancy and RevPAR through the second quarter continued into July, with an expected RevPAR decline of 58%, and occupancy rising to around 45%.
“The support we have offered owners, such as fee relief and increased payment flexibility, was well received. Together with other measures we’ve taken to preserve cash, we have maintained substantial liquidity of around $2bn. Our ongoing actions to reduce costs include plans to make around half of the $150m of savings we will achieve this year sustainable into 2021, alongside continued investment in our growth initiatives. However, with limited visibility of the pace and scale of market recovery, we are not proposing an interim dividend.
“As has been the case in previous downturns, domestic mainstream travel is proving to be the most resilient. Our weighting in this segment, led by our industry-leading Holiday Inn Brand Family, positions us well as demand returns in our key markets. In the US, our mainstream estate of almost 3,500 hotels is seeing lower levels of RevPAR decline than the industry, and is operating at occupancy levels of over 50%.
“Reflecting our long-term growth prospects, and the strength of our brands and owner relationships, we opened more than 90 hotels in the half and strengthened our pipeline with an average of one new signing a day, including almost 100 for our Holiday Inn Brand Family. We have also taken voco, our upscale conversion brand, outside of EMEAA, with initial signings in the US and Greater China.
“The impact of this crisis on our industry cannot be underestimated, but we are seeing some very early signs of improvement as restrictions ease and traveller confidence returns. Whilst the near-term outlook remains uncertain and the time period for market recovery is unknown, we are well positioned with preferred brands in the largest markets and segments, a leading loyalty platform and one of the most resilient business models in the industry. This gives us confidence in our ability to meet the needs of our guests and owners, and to emerge strongly when markets recover”.