Greater China, which also encompasses Hong Kong, also performed strongly, with RevPAR up 4.1pc, compared to 2.4pc a year ago. Mr Barr said this justified the company’s decision to invest in the region, which has seen roughly 100 hotels added in the past four and a half years to hit 300.
The strength of Europe and China helped group sales rise just over 2pc to $857m (£658.6m) but efficiency savings – such as bringing some of its digital marketing functions in-house – meant pre-tax profits rose 9pc to $326m.
Mr Barr added that the company was on track to launch a new mid-scale brand in the US in September, which he said would provide a new option in an underserved part of the market. The new chain will be around 10-15pc cheaper per room than Holiday Inn Express.
He said the company would consider taking the brand to other territories if it could be quickly rolled out in a given market.