“Despite some predictions, business travel is alive and well, according to Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, CFO and group head of strategy for IHG Hotels & Resorts, speaking on a fourth quarter earnings call.

Executives reported that fourth-quarter business travel revenue was driven by the Americas region, where rates again surpassed pre-pandemic levels and occupancy recovered to within 98% of 2019 levels, They said they were confident about corporate travel this year, saying there is no indication that demand or pricing power is slowing.

According to IHG, overall fourth-quarter demand was strong—particularly in the business transient sector, but also in group as travel restrictions continued to lift across the world.

Keith Barr, CEO, said that in 2022, the company saw demand return strongly in most markets, pushing group RevPAR (revenue per available room] back close to 2019 levels.

The company had “record rates” for full-year 2022 in the Americas with comparable RevPAR up 29% over 2021 and up 3.3% over 2019 levels following headwinds from the omicron barriers in the first quarter.

RevPAR, according to executives, exceeded 2019 levels from April onwards, demonstrating sequential improvements in performance each quarter through the year,

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IHG signed 467 hotels in 2022 and opened 269, which led to net system growth of over 4%. An additional 1,800 hotels in the company’s pipeline represents future growth of over 30% of today’s system size, Barr said.
Edgecliffe-Johnson said that, looking at future growth, IHG signed 32,000 rooms, taking the America's pipeline beyond 100,000 rooms.

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