InterContinental Hotels Group saw a 50% growth in mobile bookings in 2014 to more than $900 million.
The global hotels giant reported $4 billion of digital revenues last year with 71% of room revenue delivered by direct and indirect channels.
The company launched mobile check-in and check out at more than 500 hotels and established a strategic deal with Amadeus to develop “innovative and efficient technology solutions.”
IHG reported a 6.1% increase in revenue per available room (revpar) for the 12 months, led by 7.4% growth in the Americas region – its largest trading area.
“Trading was particularly strong in the UK, up 8.9%, with low double digit growth in the provinces and high single digit growth in London,” the company said.
Most of IHG’s UK managed hotels are to transfer to franchise contracts, allowing it to accelerate growth in what is described as a “priority market.” Twenty-one hotels transferred in 2014, and the balance will transfer in 2015.
However, the overall operating profit fell by 3% year-on-year to $651 million due to owned hotel disposals on revenue down by 2% to $1,858 million. Underlying profits rose by 10% to £648 million.
The company has more than 4,800 hotels in almost 100 countries, plus 1,200 properties in its development pipeline. It acquired Kimpton Hotels’ 62 properties last month.
Chief executive, Richard Solomans said: “2014 was an excellent year for IHG as we delivered against our long-term winning strategy for high quality growth.
“We achieved strong revpar performance of 6.1%, and our best net system size growth since 2009 of 3.4%, increasing our operating profit on an underlying basis by 10%.
“We remain committed to reducing the capital intensity of the business and maintaining an efficient balance sheet with disposal proceeds received in the year of almost $400 million and shareholder returns, including ordinary dividends, of over $1 billion. We are proposing an increase in the total dividend for the year of 10%.
“We expanded our brand portfolio and strengthened our position in boutique hotels, the fastest growing segment in the industry over the last five years, with the acquisition of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. The first properties for our innovative, consumer focused, EVEN Hotels and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts brands are now open.
“Significant growth milestones were achieved across our established brands as we continue to strengthen our scale positions in the most important global markets.
“Looking into 2015, we face many macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties, but are confident that our strategy for high quality growth coupled with the momentum in the business positions us well for continued strong performance.”