By Shanima A
(Reuters) -Holiday Inn owner IHG said on Friday that pent-up demand and more hotel stays during the U.S. Spring Break lifted occupancy rates and prices, raising its revenue per room closer to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.
“As occupancy levels rise and due to the strength of our brands, our hotels are seeing increased pricing power,” IHG Chief Executive Keith Barr said in a statement.
IHG said its RevPAR, or revenue per available room, was up 61% over the same period in 2021, reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels in the three months ended March 31, with the Americas, its largest market, leading the recovery.
The Crowne Plaza, Regent and Hualuxe owner said rates for leisure stays rose more than 10% on 2019 levels in the United States, but occupancy was still below pre-pandemic levels.
Higher vaccination rates and an easing in restrictions have spurred an uptick in leisure and business travel, helping hotel operators rebound, although a potential COVID-19 resurgence, geopolitical tensions and rising inflation still pose a risk.
“With a cost-of-living crisis sweeping the globe, the group’s focus on a mid-tier value offering should hold it in good stead to capture demand from an increasingly cash strapped consumer,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Matt Britzman said.
Shares in IHG, which said its Greater China business remained under pressure from restrictions put in place to control rising coronavirus cases, were down 0.8% at 0713 GMT.
U.S. rival Marriott International said on Wednesday it expects a key revenue metric for its U.S. and Canadian markets to hit pre-pandemic levels for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, Hilton Worldwide said on Tuesday a surge in labour costs and other inflationary pressures are set to weigh on earnings.
(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Sriraj Kalluvila and Alexander Smith)