Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen Says Most of the World Has Seen the Bottom
Marriott sees early signs of travel demand coming back to properties in China and North America. But its plans to mount an aggressive marketing campaign to take as much of the early recovery market share as possible recognizes it will be tough competition on the rebound.
A quarter of Marriott's hotels around the world are temporarily closed due to depleted occupancy and limited revenue per room in the coronavirus era not justifying continued operations. The hotel giant's worldwide revenue per room was down 90 percent in April. But the recovery already underway in China is expected to continue in other parts of the world, most likely arriving in Europe last.
"China does appear to be recovering and holding. I know there is lots of debate on if there's a resurgence of the virus in China," Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said Monday on a first quarter earnings call. "By and large, what we hear there is reassuring."
Coronavirus first impacted Marriott's China portfolio in January before ramping up elsewhere in March. Occupancy rates in China have gone from single-digit lows in February to just over 30 percent currently, Sorenson said. Marriott properties in Chinese resort markets saw close to 70 percent occupancy rates over the recent Labor Day holiday, the first major holiday in China since coronavirus-related travel restrictions have been lifted. A strong domestic traveler base should continue to fuel the recovery at Chinese properties, Sorenson said.