Cost cutting helps Marriott return to profitability

Marriott International has put the worst of the Covid pandemic behind it after showing a return to profitability in the latest quarter.

After posting a US$234 million loss for the second quarter, the global hotel giant delivered a third-quarter profit of US$100 million. While a much better result it still pales in comparison to the same period last year when it booked a profit of US$387 million.

Group bookings for 2021 as of the end of the third quarter were down 30 per cent compared with the same period last year.

“While Covid-19 is still significantly impacting our business, our results for the third quarter showed continued improvement in demand trends around the world,” said Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson.

Part of the boost in the third quarter was underpinned by Marriott slashing its costs by more than half to US$2 billion.

Travel demand also picked up from the lows of March and April as parts of the world unwound Covid restrictions particularly in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

However, rising infections rates in the US and across Europe are one again impacting hotel occupancy rates.

“While the recovery is going to take longer than anyone would like, we see encouraging signs demand can be resilient,” Sorenson said. “I am confident we are well-positioned for now and the future.”

Hotel rivals Hilton posted a third-quarter loss of US$79 million while Hyatt recorded a quarterly loss of US$161 million.