COVID-19 impact roundup: How Marriott International has responded
Hotels large and small are feeling the impact of COVID-19.
But despite the tremendous drops in occupancy and revenue as well as temporary hotel closures around the world, international hotel groups like Marriott International are stepping up to support healthcare workers and local communities.
We find out how Marriott has been impacted and what the hotel giant is doing to help.
COVID-19 impact on Marriott
After a solid start to 2020, the COVID-19 crisis hit Marriott hard. RevPAR (revenue per available room) fell by 24.7% in the Asia Pacific region through February. In Greater China, RevPAR dropped by 52.1%.
Demand has dropped significantly due to fear of travel and global travel restrictions. In North America and Europe, for example, occupancy levels have plunged below 25% when they were at 70% at the same time last year.
However, there is reason for optimism. In Greater China, workers are returning to their jobs and of the 90 Marriott hotels which were temporarily closed, over 60 have reopened.
Arne M. Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, said in a recent media release, “The travel industry is being impacted in unprecedented ways by COVID-19. As the virus and efforts to contain it have spread around the world, demand at our hotels has dropped significantly. We are working tirelessly to take care of our associates, our guests, our owners and our other key stakeholders.”
Mitigation measures taken by Marriott International
Marriott has announced a hiring freeze, a suspension of all non-essential business travel for staff as well as significant cuts to senior executive salaries. Temporary leaves and shortened workweeks for staff around the world and reduced investing and marketing spend will also contribute to cutting general and administrative costs.
To cover ongoing costs, the company has used $2.5 billion of its $4.5 billion revolving credit facility. As the situation progresses, measures to preserve liquidity are adapted regularly.
“The situation is changing by the day and there is still tremendous uncertainty, but we feel it is important to share an update on some of what we have seen to date and describe key measures we are executing to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. While we cannot predict today how long this crisis will last, we know that it will get behind us. And when it does abate, lodging demand will rebound. We are confident that our company has the expertise and the resources to weather this crisis,” Mr Sorenson elaborated.
Welcoming healthcare workers and first responders
Together with its credit card partners, the American College for Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association, Marriott has committed to providing $10 million worth of hotel stays to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 in the USA. This Rooms for Responders Initiative will provide free rooms in heavily impacted areas including New York City, New Orleans, Detroit and several more.
For frontline healthcare workers in other areas of the USA as well as in Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, the company is offering strongly discounted rates. These will be available at over 2,500 hotels and can be accessed via the Community Caregiver Program.
Supporting local communities
Marriott’s hotels around the world have gotten creative when it comes to supporting local communities.
For example, hotels closing their doors have donated unused produce and food products to charities and initiatives supporting those in need.
Other properties have donated cleaning products, masks, gloves, antimicrobial wipes and sanitizers to medical workers.