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Marriott International’s CEO, Arne Sorenson, addressed associates in a video to give a rundown of how the current COVID-19 pandemic has affected business, and outlined steps the hotel company is taking in response.

“COVID-19 is having a more severe impact on our business than 9/11 and the financial crisis combined,” Sorenson says in the video. The worst quarter Marriott had seen in those earlier crises caused a 25% decline in hotel revenues on average across the globe.

“In this case, which began in Greater China in January, we quickly saw a 90% decline in our business in China,” he says. “In the two months since, we have seen COVID-19 extend to the rest of the world. In most markets, our business is already running 75% below normal levels.”

The principal challenge faced is obvious, he says: Restrictions on travel, gatherings, and required social distancing is having an immediate impact on hotel demand. “As a result, we have hotels around the world that can’t operate without incurring substantial economic losses and risking permanently their ability to reopen when this gets behind us.”

Sorenson says that the pandemic has forced the hotel company to put contingency plans in place, including pausing non-essential business travel, suspending new hires, stopping all hotel initiatives for 2020, and halting brand marketing and advertising. Additionally, Sorenson will not take salary, while the executive team cuts its pay by 50%.

On the property level, while plans vary by market, open hotels will close food and beverage outlets, reduce staff, and close floors of hotels.

To learn more, view Sorenson’s message below.


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