UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group Plc reported a 1.5% increase in first-quarter revenue per available room (RevPAR), lower than what analysts had forecast – because of weak oil markets and the earlier timing of Easter.
The rate of growth missed what analysts had, of about 2% growth, and slowed from 4.4% growth in 2015.
The hotel giant, which operates over 5,000 hotel brands, said the shift in the timing of Easter into Q1 had an adverse impact across the industry, especially in the Americas and Europe.
Richard Solomons, Chief Executive of InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, said:
“We have made a good start to the year, driving RevPAR up 1.5% against the background of weak oil markets and the earlier timing of Easter, which affected several of our markets.
“We continued our focus on building and leveraging scale where it matters, signing rooms into our pipeline at the fastest rate since 2008. We also strengthened our position in the rapidly growing boutique segment, signing the first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants property outside the Americas, in Amsterdam, and opening and signing a record number of rooms for our Hotel Indigo brand.
“At the same time, we continue to evolve and enhance our leading loyalty programme, IHG Rewards Club. This week we announced that IHG Rewards Club members will be offered exclusive, preferential rates when they book through our direct channels. This new benefit further strengthens our loyalty offer by helping us build deeper relationships with our most loyal guests, whilst driving more direct bookings to our hotels.
Looking ahead, despite economic and political uncertainty in some markets, current trading trends and the momentum behind our brands give us confidence for the rest of the year.”
IHG opened 38 new locations in early 2016, most of which were in the US.
Growth in the Americas dropped from 2.9% to 1.9% in the quarter.
RevPAR gained 1.4% in Europe, was up 2.2% in Greater China, but dropped 1.1% in Asia, Middle East & Africa.
On 23 May HIS will return $1.5bn to shareholders by way of a special dividend with share consolidation.