“I am worried we are cutting so deeply”: Marriott CEO

Hotel chain is furloughing tens of thousands of workers as hotel industry faces cratering occupancy and room rates

Mariott CEO Arnie Sorenson (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Marriott CEO Arnie Sorenson (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Marriott moved quickly earlier this week to furlough tens of thousands of workers as the coronavirus pandemic cripples the hotel industry. Now, the company’s chief executive is concerned the move may hurt the hotel chain when the time comes to ramp back up.
“I am worried we are cutting so deeply that the rebuilding process will be more challenging than we anticipated and maybe, to some extent, that we might regret having moved as aggressively as we’ve moved,” CEO Arne Sorenson said on a conference call Thursday morning with analysts and investors.

Marriott, which is the world’s largest hotel company with some 1.4 million rooms across the globe, started shutting down hotels last week. Sorenson said the company has hundreds of hotels that are either closing or in talks to close.

The move came as occupancy and room rates across the country and around the world crate because of the spreading virus and mounting government restrictions on travel and activity.

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Marriott is putting in place cost-cutting measures, such as suspending brand-standard audits in order to reduce expenses for property owners and delaying some renovations.

Executives from Marriott and other hotel companies are in talks with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. seeking to secure a $150 billion bailout for the industry.

Contact Rich Bockmann at rb@therealdeal.com or 908-415-5229.

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