“In times of uncertainty one thing remains certain – we are in this together, and we will come out stronger”, reminds us Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific at Marriott International.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry has been devastating. For Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, the loss in business is said to be worse than during 9/11 and the Great Recession combined.
In response, Marriott properties around the world have rolled out contingency plans ranging from restaurant closures to putting thousands of employees on a furlough.
Despite the hardships, the industry is stepping up to do its part in combating the Covid-19 crisis. On April 8, Marriott Bonvoy launched the “Rooms for Responders” program to provide up to $10 million worth of hotel stays at no cost to frontline health care workers in some of the hardest hit cities in the U.S.
In Asia Pacific, Marriott associates have volunteered over 40,000 hours to serve their communities. Contributions include food donation, making of protective personal gear for front line medical staff, and securing shelter for medics and journalists. On April 8, the company launched the “Light for Hope” initiative in Asia Pacific to spread positivity amidst the challenging times the world is currently facing.
Throughout the month of April, over 270 Marriott hotels across the region will be lighting up hotel rooms to form a smiley face on the building’s facade to send a positive message, offering a ray of hope to the communities. The symbol was chosen to project a happy demeanour radiating positivity, with hopes that it brings a smile to the faces of everyone who sees it.
“We are all awaiting the time when we can travel again, but until then we are following the guidance from local authorities and are dedicated to continue our support for the communities our hotels are at. Through the various downturns faced over the many years, Marriott International has always stood tall by relying on the humanity of its associates. No matter where people may be, the light at Marriott International will always be on,” was the message from Marriott’s Craig S. Smith.
In Vietnam, participating properties include JW Marriott Hanoi, Sheraton Saigon, Le Meridien Saigon, Renaissance Saigon and Sheraton Nha Trang.
Leaders in Hospitality
In March, when the devastating effects of the pandemic on the travel industry became apparent, Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson gave what was described as “a master class in leadership”.
In an emotional video address to the company’s employees, he announced that tens of thousands of corporate employees would be furloughed and that he would not take a salary for the rest of the year, as well as explaining the measures Marriott is taking to ensure the hotels can reopen post-corona.
He ends his 6-minute address on a note of hope — a message Marriott is broadcasting far and wide in these trying times.
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