May 4, 2018 / 7:23 AM / a year ago

Hotelier IHG room revenue rises on strong demand in China

General view of the Intercontinental hotel in Marseille, France, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

(Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG.L) on Friday posted a better-than-expected rise in first-quarter global room revenue on strong demand in China, and said it was confident in the outlook for the year ahead.

Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry measure, rose 3.5 percent in the three months to March 31, above Morgan Stanley’s estimate of 2.5 percent. This compares with a 2.7 percent growth reported a year earlier.

Strong corporate demand and higher occupancies owing to the Chinese New Year lifted RevPAR growth in its Greater China region to 11 percent in the quarter, with 10 percent growth in mainland China.

In the United States, the largest market for the company in terms of room numbers, RevPAR was up 2.2 percent, which compared with a rise of 1.9 percent a year ago.

The group is expanding its luxury offering and focusing on business customers to help it weather rising competition from online rental marketplaces.

IHG signed an agreement on Thursday to rebrand and operate a portfolio of 13 upmarket hotels in Britain.

The hotelier, which runs over 5,000 hotels under brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental, said the weakening of the U.S. dollar against many major currencies increased group RevPAR to 6.5 percent in the quarter.

Continental Europe RevPAR was up 6 percent in the first quarter, helped by “continued recovery in terror impacted markets”, the company said.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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