The pandemic has hammered the hotel industry right from the start. Marriott International, for example, furloughed “tens of thousands” of workers back in March as it shuttered properties around the world.
Now, Marriott is permanently laying off 850 workers at its Marquis hotel in Manhattan’s once-crowded Times Square, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Marriott recently told the workers that they will be laid off on March 12. That’s almost a year after the Marquis furloughed more than 1,200 Marquis employees as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread. Those who get to stay on are either working now or are expected to return to work soon, a Marriott spokeswoman told the Journal.
“These are actions we never thought would become necessary at our location,” the hotel’s general manager wrote in a Dec. 9 letter to laid-off workers reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “The unprecedented severity of the COVID-19 crisis, however, has forced the location to make these difficult decisions.”
Last month, Marriott said in a third-quarter report that its revenue per available room fell 65.9 percent globally, 65.4 percent in North America and 67.4 percent beyond North America, compared to the same period the previous year.
President and CEO Arne M. Sorenson said in a call with analysts that the hotel chain’s global occupancy reached a bit over 37 percent, marking an improvement of 25 percentage points from April’s 12 percent. He noted that the recovery from the pandemic’s economic crisis varies greatly by area.
“The recovery in greater China, especially in mainland China, has been the strongest. Results have improved meaningfully since February, demonstrating the resiliency of travel when the virus is perceived to be firmly under control,” Sorenson noted.
According to the Journal, New York City’s hotel industry has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic when compared to the rest of the country, as the sector depends heavily on corporate clients and tourists.