IHG Hotels and Resorts has revealed in its half-year results that it will open a luxury leisure brand “in the coming weeks”.

The group states that the brand will increase “opportunities of conversions and further strengthen our position in Luxury and Lifestyle”, which already includes brands such as Six Senses, Regent, Kimpton, Intercontinental and Hotel Indigo. The group’s upscale and luxury segments currently represent 31 per cent of the group’s rooms and 41 per cent of its pipeline.

The group expects that the new collection will attract over 100 hotels within ten years, and will offer a different price point to its upscaled conversion brand Voco.

Commenting on the new brand, CEO Keith Barr said:

“The addition of a collection brand will provide high quality independent hotels access to the many benefits of IHG’s system, whilst retaining a property’s distinctive identity. There are currently around 1.5 million independently run rooms in the market segments we are targeting, and we expect the collection to attract more than 100 hotels within 10 years.”

Meanwhile, the group’s results in the six months to June 30 reported significant improvement in demand, with an increased revpar (revenue per available room) of 20 per cent on last year, and a decline of 43 per cent on 2019.

The recovery was felt most greatly in Greater China with a second quarter revpar down 16 per cent in comparison to 2019. Elsewhere, the Americas saw a drop of 26 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic levels, but the “EMEAA remained the most challenged” with a revpar down 65 per cent ­– the UK was down 60 per cent, but improved slightly to 51 per cent in June.

The group reported a 16 per cent increase in revenue to US$565 million compared with the first half of 2020. It achieved an operating profit of US$188 million, which was up 262 per cent compared to 2020 (US$52 million) but down 54 per cent compared to 2019.

During the first half of the year, the group opened 132 hotels, bringing IHG’s global estate to 5,994 hotels. The group also signed 203 hotels in the same period, with a global pipeline now of 1,805 hotels.

The group also shut 102 hotels during this period, 56 of which were under the Holiday Inn and Crown Plaza brands.

Keith Barr added:

“Trading improved significantly during the first half of 2021, with travel demand returning strongly as vaccines roll out, restrictions ease, and economic activity rebuilds. It has been great to see our teams welcome more and more guests back into our hotels, with domestic leisure bookings leading the way, particularly in the US and China.

“Essential business travel was a key element of our resilience throughout the pandemic, and we are now seeing more group activity and corporate bookings start to come back. These trends and the momentum in the business have continued in recent weeks, including in EMEAA where a lifting of travel restrictions in some markets is also now driving improvements in demand. With occupancy and rate continuing to improve, nearly 50% of our hotels achieved RevPAR above 2019 levels in July.”

In February the company had reported losses of US$153 million, describing 2020 as “the most challenging year in our history”.