Marriott International forced to furlough employees as hotel rooms stay empty

Hyatt, Hilton say they are feeling the impacts as well

WASHINGTON – Marriott International announced the hotelier has been forced to furlough tens of thousands of employees as a result of the impacts with coronavirus.

“In the U.S. in the last couple of days anyway when you look at the decline in reservations and in cancellations the total is negative. We’re losing business every day,” Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International said at a roundtable with President Donald Trump.

At that roundtable discussion, Tuesday afternoon hoteliers including Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott say they are running at an average of 10-15% occupancy around the world.

"The bulk of our hotels in the major cities are closing as we speak," said Christopher Nassetta, CEO of Hilton.

News 6 spoke with a tourism expert, retired UCF Professor Dr. Duncan Dickson who said he wouldn't be surprised if those other big hotel chains follow suit.

"I don't see how they cannot follow suit," Dr. Dickson said. "Again, when you have no revenuer coming in how do you continue to pay people?"

He adds being the largest destination in the nation with 75 million visitors each year, Central Florida will absolutely feel the effects of the furloughs.

“Anywhere you have strong tourism-based it’s going to impact,” he said.

Neither Marriott International or VisitOrlando responded to inquiries about the effects the closures could have on our area.

However, News 6 spoke to a Marriott Employee who said right now he is receiving two weeks’ worth of disaster pay at $14 an hour but hasn’t been told anything at the local level about any possible layoffs.

“That’s what’s kind of worrying me,” the employee said.

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