Marriott International CEO makes statement on COVID-19

Marriott International CEO makes statement on COVID-19
Arne Sorenson
Published: 22 March 2020 - 6 a.m.
By: Josh Corder

Marriott International CEO and president Arne Sorenson has released a video statement on how the group is handling the COVID-19 situation and the impact of it on Marriott.

Amid massive hits to demand and occupancy rates, Sorenson revealed Marriott has suspended all non-essential travel for its employees as a way of lowering costs. Marriott has also paused all new hires with the exception of critical positions, has halted all 2020 initiatives and reduced branding and advertising campaigns.

Both Sorenson and chairman Bill Marriott will forego their salary for the rest of the year, while other executives will take a 50% cut in pay. Across the US, a temporary leave will be enforced for the next 60 to 90 days, while across the globe the working week will be lowered.

Open hotels will have staff reduced, F&B venues closed and floors of hotels closed depending on occupancy.

In terms of business, Sorenson said coronavirus is “like nothing we’ve ever seen before”, he went as far to say that the economic impact of COVID-19 is worse for Marriott than 9/11 and the 2009 financial crisis combined. Hotel revenue globally has dropped by 25% for Marriott in the most recent quarter and in China, business dropped by 90%. “Business is already running 75% below normal levels internationally,” said Sorenson.

Many hotels in Marriott’s portfolio are facing the risk of not being able to reopen after the crisis, or are sustaining substantial loses by opting to remain operational.

The CEO, now in his 8th year in the role, said that the coronavirus is the most difficult moment he has ever faced. He explained: “There is simply nothing worse than telling highly-valued associates that their roles are being impacted by events completely outside their control.”

He ended the video sending a message of solidarity and support to all those dealing with the impacts of coronavirus.

You can watch the full video below:

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