Marriott International Inc., the world’s largest hotel company with nearly 1.4 million rooms world-wide, said it is starting to furlough what it expects will be tens of thousands of employees as it ramps up hotel closings across the globe.
Hotels that are empty don’t need so many people at the front desk or servicing rooms. Restaurants that aren’t allowed to serve guests except on a to-go basis don’t need as many servers, even if they had guests.
Many hotels will also be closing. The Wall Street Journal reports occupancy at U.S. properties has “plummeted to 20% or lower, and many hotels are in single digits.”
“As travel restrictions and social distancing efforts around the world become more widespread, we are experiencing significant drops in demand at properties globally with an uncertain duration,” Marriott said in a statement. “We are adjusting global operations accordingly, which has meant either reduction in hours or a temporary leave for many of our associates at our properties.”
Marriott, which had about 174,000 employees globally at the end of 2019, said the furloughs will affect all types of workers. They won’t be paid their salaries during their time away from the company, but they will receive health care benefits.
The news of massive furloughs comes as executives from the largest hotel chains in the county plan to meet with the US administration at the White House to discuss the possibility of a government intervention to save the industry from this unprecedented crisis.
The virus is having a serious impact on everyone’s lives and will continue to do so. Although, there have not been any terminations or furloughs at the corporate level, I suspect that’s likely to change. This is only the beginning and I expect similar moves from other chains.
What do you make of this entire situation? Will everyone be saved?