The world’s largest hotel company is slated to significantly streamline its headcount next month at its global headquarters in Maryland.
Marriott plans to lay off 673 employees on October 23, according to a Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed earlier this month with the Maryland Department of Labor. The permanent job cuts impact roughly 17 percent of employees at the Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters, where Marriott employs about 4,000 people.
Marriott confirmed the pending layoffs Monday morning to Skift but declined to elaborate which departments would be impacted by the decision.
However, the company is also expecting to welcome back in late September a “significant number” of employees currently on furlough, Marriott spokesperson Connie Kim said.
Marriott furloughed tens of thousands of employees in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s catastrophic impact on travel demand. The company’s CEO, Arne Sorenson, has repeatedly described the global health crisis as having a worse impact on the company than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and 2008 financial crisis combined.
But Sorenson has also maintained he does not think the impact of the crisis would leave lasting damage to the hotel industry or the kind of group business travel it relies on.
“Having been through three crises [the Gulf War, the Sept. 11 attacks, and the 2008 financial crisis] … In every one of those, we have heard people say we will not go back to travel the way we did before,” Sorenson said last month at a Cvent webinar. “I take that with a grain of salt. Not that there won’t be a change, but people yearn to be together.”
Marriott’s job cuts are the latest in a wave of layoffs, as the hotel industry settles into what many expect to be years of travel uncertainty.
Hyatt laid off 1,300 employees in May. Hilton eliminated 2,100 corporate roles — or about 22 percent of its corporate workforce — in June. Accor’s corporate belt-tightening includes laying off 1,000 employees and a potential sale of its Parisian headquarters.
MGM Resorts announced in late August plans to lay off 18,000 staffers across its gaming resorts, but those roles weren’t limited to corporate staff.
While Sorenson indicated revenue at Marriott’s China portfolio could return to pre-pandemic performance levels as early as next year, U.S. hotels aren’t expected to fully recover to 2019 revenue levels until 2024, according to hotel data provider STR.
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