Earlier holidays slow US arm of Intercontinental

Kasmira Jefford
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INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) said yesterday that its key American business suffered a slowdown in trading in September, blaming the earlier timing of certain holidays.

The company, which issued an update for the US and Americas region to coincide with its hotel owners’ conference, reported a 3.5 per cent rise in US revenue per available room (revpar) in the three months to 30 September, missing analyst expectations.

IHG said that revpar in September grew by just 1.6 per cent in the US compared with 4.1 per cent in August and 4.6 per cent in July after certain holidays such as Jewish festivals Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fell earlier this year.

Holiday Inn, IHG’s budget hotel chain was the worst affected, with revpar down 0.9 per cent in September compared with growth of 3.2 per cent in July and 3.1 per cent in August.

“These hotels are above average size and have higher exposure to corporate meetings and conventions,” Nomura analyst Tim Barrett said.

All of IHG’s six brands reported slowing growth last month, with its upmarket InterContinental hotel brand reporting revpar growth of 3.7 per cent compared with 6.2 per cent for the third quarter overall.

The company, which will report its full third quarter results next week, said: “Current trading trends give us confidence for the rest of the year and our strategy for high quality growth positions us well for continuing success into the future.”