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Hilton, MGM join Marriott in furloughing tens of thousands of employees without pay

Marriott International Inc., the world’s largest hotel company, and other international hotel brands have begun furloughs and layoffs that will hit tens of thousands of employees as it faces hotels closing across the globe, according to reports.

The international brand currently has 1.4 million rooms worldwide, but the economic impact brought on by coronavirus has led to the brand shutting down its managed properties in several locations, according to a Marriott spokesperson.

The employees at these properties won’t be paid while on furlough but the bulk will continue to receive health-care benefits that are ultimately paid by the hotel owner, the spokesperson added.

The closings have swept through the company’s 30 brands, including Aloft, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Gaylord Hotels. The company is furloughing staff at still-open hotels. In a statement Tuesday, the company said customers could cancel their stays at no charge through April 30. 

"As travel restrictions and social distancing efforts around the world become more widespread, we are experiencing significant drops in demand at properties globally with an uncertain duration," the chain said in a statement. "We are adjusting global operations accordingly which has meant either reduction in hours or a temporary leave for many of our associates at our properties."

Hilton Hotels and Resort properties also reported the same circumstances as Marriott, operating with roughly 20 percent of their staff, according to conference news website Smart Meetings. This layoff came as a result of the property’s occupancy dropping from 100 percent to 8 percent over four days.

Hilton, which has been around since 1919, previously more than 580 hotels and resorts across the country with more than 215,000 rooms.

Bill Hornbuckle, president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts International, reportedly said in a letter to employees on Monday said all day clubs and night clubs will cease operations, as well as 150 food and beverage outlets, with more closing in coming days, according to the publication. The brand closed all 13 of its properties on the Las Vegas strip; as well as its properties in Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts and Maryland. “We will continue to pay our Flexible Time Off (FTO) eligible employees on furlough for two weeks and our hourly employees can use all available Paid Time Off (PTO) in their bank,” Hornbuckle said in the letter. “We’ve also made the decision to maintain existing employees’ benefits, for individuals who are on our health plans and impacted by the layoffs or furloughs through June 30th.”

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