Marriott CEO Remains Optimistic About the Future of Travel Thanks to Recent Increase in Openings, Bookings
The hotel chain has seen booking rates steadily improving since it's lowest point this year in April.
Editor's note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19, and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
While the effects of COVID-19 on the travel industry have been dire, the president and CEO of Marriott International says there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
“Over the last few months, we have moved quickly and decisively to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our business," Arne M. Sorenson, said in a statement this week regarding the hotel chain's second-quarter earnings. “While the full recovery from COVID-19 will clearly take time, the current trends we are seeing reinforce our view that when people feel safe traveling, demand returns quickly."
Sorenson added that the hotel chain is making a clear post-COVID recovery, particularly in China, which, "continues to lead the recovery" he said, as all Marriott hotels in the region are open. Specifically, occupancy levels in China hotels are currently almost 60 percent, just a 10 percent decrease from last year. In February, the numbers were only in the single digits.
“The improvement we have seen in Greater China exemplifies the resilience of travel demand once there is a view that the virus is under control and travel restrictions have eased,” Sorenson said.
Marriott reached its lowest point in April with revenue per room down 90 percent and worldwide occupancy rates at a low of only 11 percent the week of April 11. Rates have steadily improved every week since then, and on August 1, Marriott reported a global occupancy rate of 34 percent.
Ninety-one percent of its hotels around the world are now open, compared to only the 74 percent that was open in April.
In April, Marriott introduced its Global Cleanliness Council, an initiative to increase health safety for both guests and employees. With the new cleaning program in place, guests will notice a difference with new check-in and food protocol and increased, higher-tech cleanings in rooms and public spaces. The hotel chain also made it mandatory for all guests to wear face coverings when in public spaces.
Marriott also just rolled out new health-focused planning procedures for hosting meetings at its hotels in hopes of bringing back its business clients.