Slower US growth at Holiday Inn owner hits shares

InterContinental Hotels Group reported slower growth in revenue per room in the second quarter, sending its shares down 4%, as a late Easter weighed on its US performance.

The operator of brands such as Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, and Holiday Inn, said that revenue per available room grew 1.5% in the three months to the end of June, down from 2.7% in the first quarter and 2.5% a year earlier.

The Easter holiday, when there are fewer business travellers, fell in the second quarter this year from the first quarter last year.

Chief financial officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said US oil producing states continued to be a slight drag. Results also showed negative growth in the Middle East.

IHG stock, which has gained over 20%, fell by over 4% at one stage. Hoteliers last year saw attacks in Europe hurt demand, but Mr Edgecliffe-Johnson said IHG had seen no impact from attacks in London and France this year.

“In a way, our guests around the world have had to get used to the frequency of attacks and they have become very resilient,” he said.

Boosted by a strong first quarter, the group posted an 7% rise in six-month underlying operating profit to $365m (€309m) and said it remained confident in the 2017 outlook.

IHG has reduced its ownership of hotels to expand via a cheaper fee model, under which it franchises and manages hotels, and focused on business customers to head off the challenge from the likes of Airbnb. It is launching a midscale brand in the US.


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