Marriott has said that the pace of its group bookings is down 57% in 2021 from the end of 2019, after a COVID-19-pandemic-driven collapse in travel pushed the hotel chain to both a Q4 2020 loss and its first full-year loss in more than a decade.
Hotel occupancy rates have recovered from the pandemic lows hit last year, but the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 has cast a shadow on the recovery of the hospitality industry.
Analysts expect a wider rollout of COVID-19 vaccines later this year to first aid a rebound in leisure travel, leaving business travel-reliant hotel chains such as Marriott struggling for longer.
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Marriott said that the pace of bookings for its group business, which makes up approximately 20% of its annual room nights, has improved for the second half of 2021 to being down by between 25% and 30%.
"On the group front, [cancellations] have slowed for the second half of 2021, and they are at normal levels for 2022," Marriott group president, consumer operations Stephanie Linnartz said.
Marriott's results come days after the death of its chief executive officer, Arne Sorenson. The company is expected to announce a new CEO in the next two weeks.
Marriott's fourth-quarter revenue plunged by 60% to $2.17 billion, missing analysts' estimates of $2.40 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
The company's quarterly net loss was $164 million, compared with a profit of $279 million a year earlier.
Annual Net Loss
The company posted an annual net loss of $267 million, which was its first annual net loss since 2009.
Stock in Marriott, which owns the St. Regis and the Ritz-Carlton hotel chains, has fallen by approximately 9% in the past 12 months.