Marriott International is reporting its occupancy levels have topped the 20 percent mark globally, with properties in Greater China posting gains of 40 percent. Speaking at a Goldman Sachs Travel and Leisure Conference, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson noted that over the last six weeks, hotels in the US are adding “a point and a half or so of incremental occupancy every week.”
According to Sorenson, the hotels that are doing the best are those with drive-to business, including business travel.
Sorenson’s comments reflect a hospitality market that may be improving sooner than industry experts had originally anticipated. During Marriott’s first quarter conference call with Wall Street analysts, Sorenson had been cautiously optimistic, but at the time, the numbers were only beginning to turn around.
The latest occupancy data represents notable improvement over a month ago.
Another positive indicator Sorenson pointed to during the Goldman Sachs call was the construction pipeline of new hotels, which is moving forward largely as planned despite the pandemic. That means development partners are still looking forward to the long-term trends that have been driving hotel demand, he explained.
As part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis, Marriott has created a Global Cleanliness Council to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates alike.
Sorenson said the company will incur new costs for these initiatives, but the efforts will also produce savings. For example, electrostatic sprayers used to sanitize surfaces will be an expense, but accelerated adoption of digital check-in technology will result in cost savings.