The global downturn has yet to halt the ascendancy of the world’s largest hotelier InterContinental, which has reported a 29% rise in first-half operating profit.
The UK group, which operates InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels, posted a robust first-half operating profit of US$284m.The company also confirmed it has already hit goal set in June 2005 of opening 60,000 new rooms by the end of 2008, which is six months ahead of schedule.
Intercontinental also confirmed it is continuing its aggressive expansion, signing contracts for 356 new hotels in the first half, taking its pipeline for future hotel openings to 1,788. The size of its hotel portfolio rose 6% year-on-year to 4,046.
Intercontinental chief executive Andy Cosslett said investment in the hotel group’s brands, which include Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, meant it was well placed to cope with a slowdown in the global hotel industry.
He said: “Market conditions have become more challenging. However, the long-term trends for the travel industry remain positive.”
Revenue per available room (Revpar) - rose 4% in the first six months of the year but slowed to 3.4% in July.
But Mr Cosslett warned of tougher times ahead, particularly in the group core US market. “Generally, RevPAR growth slowed through the second quarter, and market conditions have become more challenging, particularly in the US,” he added.