InterContinental boosted by demands

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Stronger demand from holidaymakers has boosted Holiday Inn firm InterContinental Hotels as it battles against challenging trading conditions.

The company, which also operates hotels under the Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites brands, said trading in July benefited from improved leisure demand, although it admitted it still lacked visibility on future booking trends.

Revenues per available room fell 14.4 per cent last month, which was better than the first half fall of 16.2 per cent reported in half-year results.

Operating profits declined 38 per cent to £107.8 million in the six months to June 30, while total revenues slid 25 per cent to £437.1 million.

Chief executive Andrew Cosslett said cost reductions and the company's scale were helping the London-listed company to weather the storm caused by the slump in global travel, particularly among business guests.

He added: "Trading was very challenging throughout the first half of the year and we expect the remainder of 2009 to be tough."

Revenues per available room in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) declined 16.4 per cent, but InterContinental described the UK as one of its most resilient markets after a decline of 10.7 per cent.

Profits for the EMEA division fell 35 per cent to £34.9 million.

nterContinental is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms, with 4,300 properties and almost 630,000 guest rooms.

It has nearly 1,600 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create 140,000 jobs worldwide.