IHG Hotels & Resorts reported a "significant uptick" in RevPAR progress for March, buoyed primarily by strong recovery trends in markets like the U.S. and China.
During the company's first-quarter earnings call on Friday, Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, IHG's CFO and group head of strategy, told investors that March group RevPAR was down 46.6% on the same month in 2019, versus a group RevPAR decline of approximately 53% for both January and February.
Related: IHG unveils 10-year sustainability plan
In the U.S., first-quarter RevPAR was down 40.4% on 2019, which Edgecliffe-Johnson said represented an outperformance of the industry in that market as a whole.
"This outperformance continues to be driven by our weighting and market-leading position in the midscale segment, our distribution predominantly in nonurban locations and our skew toward transient business and leisure demand, as opposed to large group business," said Edgecliffe-Johnson.
IHG's midscale portfolio includes flags like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Avid.
Edgecliffe-Johnson added that "a heightened level of demand" in the U.S. is expected to continue through the summer, particularly in leisure-heavy destinations like the Florida Panhandle and Texas, among other markets.
"Current [U.S.] business on the books shows sequential improvement in each of the next few months," he said. "And the volume of rooms on the books for the rest of the year is ahead of where we were at this point in 2019. I think it will be a very busy summer."
Conversely, IHG remained particularly challenged in Europe, where strict travel restrictions have hampered recovery progress. In the U.K., first-quarter RevPAR fell 75% on 2019, while continental Europe saw RevPAR decline 87% over the same period, due in part to a large proportion of closed hotels.
For the full first quarter, IHG saw total group RevPAR fall 50.6% on the same period in 2019, while systemwide occupancy hovered at 40%.