Marriott International reopened all its hotels in China while it sees a recovery in demand in the United States, Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson said. The company had closed majority of its hotels in China and across the world following the spread of coronavirus and related lockdowns.
The hotel chain, with around 350 outlets across China, said its occupancy rate in the country is now at 40 percent, compared to around 7 percent to 8 percent in late January and early February during the peak of virus cases there.
Sorenson, while talking at 2020 Goldman Sachs Travel and Leisure Conference, said, “It’s not just leisure travel growing, but it is business travel. Chinese are flying again.”
In the U.S. as well, demand for hotel rooms is recovering, at around 20 percent occupancy. In April, the occupancy rate was 12 percent in North America, while 16 percent of its hotels were closed temporarily.
Sorenson said he continues to see an improvement in demand, but warned that occupancy might not recover to pre-coronavirus levels for several years. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Marriott’s global occupancy rate was 71 percent.
Marriott, which owns about 30 brands including Ritz-Carlton, St Regis and Sheraton, last week had said that covid-19’s financial impact on the firm is more severe than 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis combined. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, Marriott saw worldwide RevPAR falling about 90 percent in April. Currently, roughly a quarter of Marriott’s worldwide hotels are closed.
The company recently extended furloughs for employees and reduced working weeks until early October.
The travel and hotel industry was one of the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Rival Hilton on May 8 said that all of its hotels in the Chinese Mainland have reopened, that were closed during the Covid-19 outbreak. The company has 255 hotels across the region.
Shanghai Disney Resort in early March had reopened Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, implementing enhanced health and safety measures.
Shanghai Disneyland, which was the first Disney theme park to shut down in late January as the virus initiated and spread across China, reopened its gates on May 11, with controlled capacity.
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