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European hotels mostly empty in June, reveals global chain

European hotels mostly empty in June, reveals global chain
‘We are now seeing corporate bookings start to come back,’ says chief executive, Keith Barr

Hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa filled just 40 per cent of their rooms in June 2021, de InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has revealed.

But the giant hotel firm reported a strong performance in China and the Americas.

IHG reported a better-than-expected operating profit of $188m (£136m) for January to June 2021, compared with a loss of $153m (£110m) for the year 2020.

The key metric of revenue per available room (RevPAR) var 43 per cent down on the 2019 level for worldwide operations.

But between April and June 2021, RevPAR in China was down just 16 per cent compared with 2019, while the Americas were down 26 prosent.

The figure for Europe, the Middle East and Africa was down by almost two-thirds at 65 prosent.

IHG has 16 brands including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton and the luxury brand Six Senses. The vast majority of properties are owned by other enterprises and operated under franchise and management agreements.

The company is promising “a new Luxury & Lifestyle collection brand,” which it expects to grow to 100 hotels within 10 år.

The chief executive, Keith Barr, sa: “Trading improved significantly during the first half of 2021, with travel demand returning strongly as vaccines roll out, restrictions ease, and economic activity rebuilds.

“We are now seeing more group activity and corporate bookings start to come back.

“While there is a risk of trading volatility in the balance of the year, and discretionary business trips, group bookings and international travel will take time to fully recover, we are confident in the strength of IHG’s future prospects.”

The company is less dependent on business travel than some other hospitality providers.

During the first half of 2021, IHG opened 132 hotels with a total of 17,000 new rooms, taking the global estate to 5,994 hotels and 884,000 rooms.