Return of travel sees profits soar at Holiday Inn owner IHG


THE owner of Holiday Inn has reported soaring half-year profits thanks to the bounce back in demand for business and leisure travel.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) reported pre-tax profits jumping to $299 million (£248 million) in the six months to June 30, up from $67m (£55m) a year earlier.

Group earnings more than doubled to $361m (£299m) from $138m (£114m).

The UK market saw revenue per available room (RevPar) - a key measure of performance for hotel chains - edge closer to levels seen before the pandemic struck, down 2 per cent in the second quarter versus 2019, against a fall of 8 per cent for the first half as a whole.

It chalked up a strong improvement in London sites as tourism bounced back, but RevPAR in the capital was still down 10 per cent against 2019, while hotels in the regions across the UK were 1 per cent higher versus 2019.

IHG said owners of its hotels worldwide were facing surging costs and staff hiring difficulties, but added it was using its central buying programme and group scale to help offset this, for example by offering ways to change menus to make savings.

Some smaller hotel owners in the UK have been able to make savings of 7 per cent to 15 per cent on food costs and 10 per cent to 15 per cent on drink costs, it said.

The group announced it was resuming its interim dividend payout following the bumper set of results, at a level that is 10 per cent higher than the last time it was paid out in 2019, while it also unveiled further shareholder returns through a £500m (£414m) share buyback.

Keith Barr, chief executive of IHG Hotels and Resorts, said: "We saw continued strong trading in the first half of 2022 with increased demand for travel in most of our markets.

"This brought group RevPAR very close to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter."

He added: "While the economic outlook faces uncertainties as central banks and governments take action to manage inflation, we remain confident in our business model and the attractive industry fundamentals that will drive long-term sustainable growth."