Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

Hyatt to lay off 1,300 staff and restructure roles amid coronavirus pandemic

The company swung to a net loss of $103m in the first quarter of 2020, as weak travel demand pressured revenue

The Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C., US. The hotel chain is laying off staff and restructuring roles to deal with weak travel demand. Bloomberg  
The Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C., US. The hotel chain is laying off staff and restructuring roles to deal with weak travel demand. Bloomberg  

Hyatt Hotels Corporation will lay off 1,300 employees and restructure roles as it tries to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak that has hammered demand across the world.

“Due to the historic drop in travel demand and the expected slow pace of recovery, Hyatt has made the extremely difficult decision to implement layoffs and restructure roles across its global corporate functions, beginning June 1, 2020,” the company said on its website.

Hyatt, with headquarters in Chicago, operates more than 900 hotels in 65 countries, including the Middle East.

“Covid-19 has thrown our industry into unknown territory,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive of Hyatt. “While parting ways with our colleagues is excruciating, we must be sensitive to commercial realities so we can continue to fulfil our purpose of care over the long term – through this pandemic and for what lies beyond.”

The coronavirus outbreak, which had infected more than four million worldwide and killed over 287,000 people as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, has disrupted hotel operations worldwide as business and leisure travel came to a halt during March and April.

Hyatt reported a net loss of $103 million (Dh378m), in the first quarter of 2020, compared to a net income of $63m, during the same period last year as revenue per available room (RevPar) declined 28 per cent amid the coronavirus crisis. The largest hotel group in the US has also closed some of its properties and furloughed staff to cut costs.

Hyatt's move came as hoteliers around the world take tough measures to ride out the temporary fall in travel demand.

French hospitality group Accor said last month it was closing more than 3,000 of the group's 5,000 hotels and is making more than 200,000 staff temporarily redundant during the outbreak. The company is also cancelling its €280m (Dh1.1 billion) dividend payout against 2019 earnings, it said in April.

The World Travel & Tourism Council in March said up to 75 million jobs were at risk in travel and tourism sector because of travel restrictions and other measures put in place to stop the spread of the pandemic. It also forecast a $2.1 trillion hit to global gross domestic product in terms of lost tourism revenue in 2020.

But policymakers have pledged concrete action to help the industry recover.

Last month, tourism ministers of the world’s 20 largest industrialised nations said they will support the tourism sector by undertaking capacity building programmes to revive the industry.

Updated: May 12, 2020 02:42 PM

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