Holiday Inn owner shows signs of improvement as new curbs weigh

FILE PHOTO: A general view of an Intercontinental Hotel at the O2 ahead of Q3 2020 InterContinental Hotels Group PLC Trading Statement Release, in London, Britain October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

(Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels IHG.L signalled recovery from pandemic lows with rising occupancy levels and improving hotel room revenues, as the travel and hospitality industry faces renewed pressure from new lockdowns and restrictions.

The company, whose brands include Holiday Inn, the Crowne Plaza, Regent and Hualuxe hotel chains, on Friday posted a 53.4% fall in third-quarter revenue per available room (RevPAR), compared to the 75% drop reported in the previous quarter.

Occupancy also improved to 44% from 25% in the second-quarter.

“Progress will continue to vary by region as restrictions come and go, and the potential for further improvement in trading in the near term remains uncertain,” said Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, chief financial officer at IHG.

The hospitality industry has been hit by a plunge in tourist numbers due to coronavirus-led travel restrictions, which led IHG and rivals, including Europe's biggest hotel group Accor ACCP.PA and Premier-inn owner Whitbread WTB.L, to cut costs and lower their workforce this year.

Hotel operators are now set to bear the brunt from a second wave of coronavirus infections, which has forced countries to introduce new travel curbs.

IHG said here capital spending is expected to be around $150 million in 2020, about a $100 million lower when compared to 2019.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel