Worldwide furloughs are happening at Marriott International in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting collapse of travel and tourism, according to reports on Tuesday (March 17).
Marriott – the world’s largest hotel with approximately 1.4 million rooms – said it is starting to furlough “tens of thousands” of workers as it continues to shutter properties around the world. The company employs about 130,000 people across its managed properties.
A Marriott spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that its hotels started closing last week and furloughs soon followed. Furloughed employees won’t get paid, but health insurance will still be in effect.
The Marriott currently employs around 130,000 people in the U.S. alone. There were staff reductions across all non-corporate departments, from general managers to housekeepers. Corporate-level layoffs are “under discussion.”
Occupancy across the hotel industry – including Marriott and its 30-plus brands and 7,300 properties – has spiraled downward to 20 percent or lower, with many properties in the single digits.
Marriott is not alone. Hotels in the U.S. are losing an estimated $1.4 billion every week due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to hotel executives who are planning to present the numbers to the White House this week.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson and MGM Resorts International CEO James Murren have said they will go after government support because of the travel-related issues resulting from the pandemic, Bloomberg said.
The industry executive group – including Walt Disney and Hilton – plans to tell the government that the current climate is costing hotels in excess of $200 million a day.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association said the industry will have no choice but to drop one million jobs in the coming weeks.
Travel limits imposed by President Donald Trump due to COVID-19 are affecting the entire travel ecosystem – and, by extension, the payments ecosystem. Last week, Trump banned travel for 30 days from 26 European nations (excluding the U.K.).