InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has released our 2020 First Quarter Trading Update.
Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, said: “Covid-19 represents the most significant challenge both IHG and our industry have ever faced. We are responding on every front and taking decisive action to the benefit of all our stakeholders. Our top priority remains to support our guests, colleagues and hotel owners through this crisis, whilst protecting for the long term and positioning the business for recovery. I would like to sincerely thank everyone at IHG and our owners for the way they have responded to this challenge. This includes protecting the health and safety of guests and colleagues; flexing booking and cancellation options for guests and protecting their loyalty membership status; and repurposing hotels to provide essential activities including accommodation to frontline workers, military personnel and vulnerable members of society. We have been working closely with our owners to help keep hotels open, including advising on adjusting operations, providing fee relief and payment flexibility, and collaborating to secure broader government support for the industry.
Following a solid performance in the first two months of 2020, occupancy levels dropped to historic lows in March and April, as social distancing measures and travel restrictions came into effect around the world. Global RevPAR in the first quarter declined by 25%, including a 55% decline in March, and we anticipate April to be down by around 80%. In the US, our biggest market, our franchise portfolio of 3,750 mainstream hotels has seen lower levels of RevPAR decline than the industry, and as at the end of April we had ~90% of our estate open. Our business is also weighted towards non-urban markets that are less reliant on international inbound travel and large group meetings and events, which provides a level of resilience during this difficult period.
Building on our conservative balance sheet approach, we are delivering on our plans to reduce costs, preserve cash and strengthen our liquidity. We remain focused on managing the business appropriately through this unique period while also positioning IHG to emerge strongly when our markets recover. We anticipate continued disruption to travel in the months ahead, and forward visibility on the timing and shape of improvements in demand remains very limited. We are though still seeing hotel openings including the Regent Shanghai Pudong later this month, and great signings such as the InterContinental in Rome. Progress also continues around the world to build upon the launches of our avid, voco and Atwell Suites brands.
IHG’s response to Covid-19 is centred on remaining true to our purpose and values, and we are taking all necessary actions to manage through the uncertainties and challenges facing our industry. Our strategy is unchanged, and we will look to continue building on the resilience of our business model relative to the industry.”